Monthly Archives: May 2016

My CGS Story

This past year I had the opportunity to be part of the Center for Global Studies team. During this year I had the privilege to attend events related to sustainability, ethical leadership and global studies. I even attended events on topics I didn’t even know I was going to find interesting, like most of the CGS Brownbag Series, where I was able to listen to research from graduate students and renowned scholars.

The CGS did not only give me the opportunity to be part of a great team that works to support global research in the university, and to be on the audience for all the interesting events that they sponsor, but it also gave me the opportunity to make my own events.

During my first semester I was able to organize a talk for International Education Week about Venezuela’s current political situation. This gave me the opportunity to educate Penn State students on what is currently going on in my country, which despite being a relevant topic does not receive enough coverage from the American media.

This semester I had the opportunity to present as a Brownbag speaker on my research. My research was focused on expatriates and what can U.S. multinational companies do to get the most of the people they send to perform such international assignments. Not only was I able to share my research, which is something I am very passionate about, but also I was also able to practice my public speaking and even received feedback from the audience regarding some extra topics I could cover on my final research paper.

An opportunity that also took me to places I wouldn’t have gone otherwise was World Stories Alive. I was in charge or organizing the whole series, find the speakers, do the publicity and manage the interns so that they could help me put the whole series together. In this process I met people from all over the world (Kazakhstan, Japan, China, Rumania, etc.) Not only did I meet these people but also I was also able to listen their languages, learn typical music and poems from those countries.

Finally I learned people management skills. This was the first opportunity I have ever had when I am not the youngest in the workplace, or the intern. This time I had interns to manage. At the beginning it was hard, because I wanted to be their friend but at the same time you have to draw the line and make sure you are giving the precise tasks and remind them if they are not meeting deadlines. I was lucky to have great and collaborative interns both semesters, but it was still challenging to learn how to be a supervisor.

Overall I am infinitely grateful for this opportunity, I met wonderful people, learned about infinite topics related to sustainability and ethical leadership; and culturally and professionally, this experience definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me grow and enhanced my professional skills, preparing me to enter the workforce.

We Learn From Our Mistakes

I wanted to end my Graduate Assistantship with zero records of big mistakes, unfortunately this was not the case…

Part of my tasks as a Graduate Assistant is to video tape all of our events and post them on our YouTube channel. It is recommended to download the videos from the camera to your computer and post them on YouTube as fast as possible. However, being on the final weeks of the semester and of my time here at Penn State as a graduate student I had too many things on my plate and I did export the videos to my computer but I didn’t edit the videos right to post them on YouTube.

Long story short, I lost all the files from my computer (including the videos) and I had already deleted them from the video camera. After visiting all the data recovery stores of downtown State College, I was informed there was no guarantee I was going to recover the videos.

I was very nervous and stressed to tell my supervisor the bad news. I am usually a perfectionist and strongly dislike when I mess up, however there was nothing else I could do this time to fix the problem but to come up front and be honest about what happened.

Fortunately, my supervisor was kind and very understanding. She was not pleased to hear the news, but told me to take it as a learning lesson.

Two weeks later, we went for lunch with the whole CGS team including Sophia McClennen, the Director of the Center. I was still pretty embarrassed for my past mistake, but it was very comforting to listen from all the mistakes each of the team members did during their careers at the CGS.

Even though I did not end my term as a Graduate Assistant with a clean mistake record as I wanted, I did end it with a life lesson. Sometimes you mess up, and it is not ideal, and when these things happen the most important thing is to be candid about it and learn from your mistakes.