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Round Two! Gearing Up For My Second Semester As A CGS Intern


With the start of the new year came the beginning of my second semester as a CGS intern! After a positive experience last semester, I chose to return to the Center for the duration of the school year. Now that I know what I’m doing and have become a master at answering emails in less than 24 hours (usually…), I’m hoping to spend this semester doing CGS tasks as efficiently as possible, and to hopefully get more exposure to global environmental topics, since that, after all, is my major area of interest.

Even though we’re only a short while into the 2015 spring semester, CGS already has their hands full. We’ve kicked off this semester’s brown bag lectures, have helped out with various comparative literature luncheons, and even hosted a few graduate student presentations. Unfortunately, unlike last semester when I was living the good life with a very open class schedule, this semester has me toiling away in classes at all hours of the day (Seriously, 9am-9pm on some days…) so I don’t have the opportunity to attend many of the lunch hour events that I would like to. My weekdays definitely lack the hearty dose of CGS that they had last semester.

However, all hope is not lost! CGS does have programs exclusive to the spring semester that occur out of the traditional nine-to-five time spectrum. Among these events is the World Stories Alive series. CGS, in partnership with the Schlow Center Region Library and Global Connections, runs World Stories Alive almost every Saturday morning at 11am at the Schlow Library. During these events, short children’s stories and nursery rhymes are told in different world languages, including French, Arabic, Chinese, Turkish, Romanian, and Spanish to name a few. After the stories and songs are over, the kids and their families get to make a craft connected to the story or the culture of whichever language is being focused on during that week. For parents, it’s a great way to start building a global perspective in their kids early, or to practice a language that may be connected to their heritage but rarely or never spoken at home. For kids, it’s a fun way to spend a Saturday morning, singing and making crafts to take home. For us interns, it’s a great way to get our fix of cute little kids making crafts and singing songs. Any way you frame it, World Stories Alive is a great series of programs.

As this semester progresses, I’ll hopefully be helping out with many more CGS events, in addition to assisting with the publications and paperwork that come out of the Center. First on my list to tackle is assisting with the possible formation of a lesson plan for a film that will be screened as part of the College Town Film Festival. This film, “Broken Landscape: Confronting India’s Water-Energy Choke Point“, is a great bridge between the global focus of CGS and my environmental interests. With any luck, us interns will produce a worth-while lesson plan for middle and high school students exploring the topics of coal extraction and the local environmental, economic, and health effects in one region of India.

With that in mind, I better get to work! Stay tuned for updates from myself and the rest of the semester’s CGS interns, and check out a complete list of CGS events here.


An IEW Event Reflection



(L to R) Dr. Audrey Maretzki, Chanda Burrage, Khanjan Mehta, and me!

International Education Week has come and gone, and with it, the interns’ events at CGS. Each intern, myself included, was given the challenge of planning and hosting our own global events during IEW, and, in my completely unbiased opinion, all of the interns’ events were phenomenal.

Like I began to mention in my last CGS Blog, my event was a film screening featuring the short documentary, “A Thousand Suns,” provided by the Global Oneness Project, and a panel discussion comprised of professors and an ABD PhD candidate from Penn State. These individuals included Dr. Aubrey Maretzki, Professor Khanjan Mehta, and Mrs. Chanda Burrage.

The film proved to very interesting (I recommend you take a look—> Here) but the real success of my event, in my opinion, was the conversation that followed. The interests of the panel members varied enough to provide for a broad, yet deep conversation about topics like international development, global sustainability, preserving culture, and the importance of the environment in traditional cultures, particularly in African regions. Since it was my first experience with a panel discussion of any kind, I had almost all of the questions scripted, and directed toward individuals, rather than the panel at large. I think that if I were to do an event like this again, I would probably write more questions directed at the whole group in order to get varying opinions on the same questions to increase perspectives. Overall, though, I think that the combination of the film and the conversation was very thought provoking and went very well.

One of the greatest challenges that I had planning my event only became evident right before the event itself started. I assumed that 2:00 p.m. on a Wednesday would be an open enough time for students in general that I would at least half-fill a room. Apparently, I was wrong, as my attendance fell short of my expectation. I chose to publicize my event via social media and email rather than in print, which, in hindsight, may have been an overconfident move. However, I think the small attendance actually contributed to a more intimate discussion with the panel, and I am still very pleased with how the event went.

One of the biggest things that I got from the event was the networking. First and foremost, I realized how easy it is to contact people at Penn State, regardless of their position, and how willing they are to help with student endeavors. I am very grateful to each of my panelists for being so willing to help with my event. More specifically, I also made a connection that may benefit me down the line in my academic career. Dr. Maretzki is a director of the Interinstitutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge at Penn State, and since cultural preservation in the face of development is something that I am very interested in, she is someone who I could potentially work or collaborate with in the future, which is very exciting.

Overall, I am very happy with how my event went. I am also very happy it’s over, as it was A LOT of work. It was a great experience figuring out how to plan, organize, and host an event totally from scratch, and I’m sure that next time I have to host something of this nature it will be much less intimidating. Finally, shout-out to Ben and Megan for their great events as well! Go interns!

An Event in the Making!


One of the stipulations of being a CGS intern is that at some point in the semester, you must plan and host a globally relevant event of some sort. The magnitude and open-endedness of this task make it both hugely daunting, and fairly exciting at the same time. This event is a chance to showcase what each intern is specifically interested in and present whatever that may be in the framework of a global context. In my case, my area of interest relates to sustainability, and my event will reflect that in some way.

Obviously, the hardest thing about planning any event is actually brainstorming what the event will even be. At this point, I’m fairly sure that my event is going to be a film screening followed by either a round table discussion or panel discussion about the film and its main themes. I prefer film screenings to lectures because they are always different based on the content of the film, and can be conducive to just as much learning as a lecture, but with more visual stimulation to keep people engaged. The panel or round table discussion following the screening will serve as a good way to discuss the topics presented in the film, and hear what others have to say as well. If the panel discussion does happen instead of the round table discussion, there will be expert opinion presented by Penn State professors and/or faculty.

One of the challenges of hosting a film screening is obtaining the rights to a film. With this in mind, I set out to find a film that would fit the bill of my event, and would have fairly accessible rights. A few days into my search, I came across the website, Global Oneness Project, which seemed to answer all of my prayers. Global Oneness Project is an online conglomeration of films and resources that are readily accessible for any class, event, or gathering of 10 or more people. The G.O.P explains their reasoning behind the availability of their films by saying, “Through film screenings, we hope to stimulate dialogue, support community engagement, and inspire action.” Most of the films explore fields like health, ecology, social justice, tolerance, etc. all around the world. This website seems like an absolutely perfect one to get my film from for my event.

As of now, the film that I will be choosing is “A Thousand Suns,” a 30-minute documentary that tells the story of the Gamo Highlands in the African Rift Valley. The film explores the ideologies of the people in this region, and examines their relationship with the earth, and how it has affected the land around them. Ideally, any discussion that will happen after the screening will focus on how globalization is affecting global ideology and man’s relationship to nature, as well as the impacts that globalization is having on the lives of traditional people. With any luck, I plan on having guest professors from the African studies department and possibly the international agriculture department join and direct the conversation.

Clearly, this event is still in the works. However, I am very, very excited about it already, and plan on making it one worthwhile. With that in mind, keep an ear out about my event! It will most likely be taking place in late November/early December, and all are welcome! It is sure to be an interesting and thought-provoking evening.


One Intern’s Hopes and Expectations


I am so excited to be an intern at the Center for Global Studies this fall. This being my first internship, I don’t have anything to compare it to, and I’m not really sure what to expect. However, if the rest of the semester continues in the same way that the past few weeks have gone, it’ll be a great experience.

What initially attracted me to this internship was the opportunity to work in a teaching capacity with K-8 students at the Young Scholars of Central PA charter school. This fall, I will be running two after school clubs for first and second graders: a Nature Club and an International Food and Culture Club. In both of these clubs, I plan on applying my own knowledge, expertise, and international experiences to build lesson plans that hopefully help the kids begin to develop a global perspective.

My past experience working with kids this age is minimal, so I think this will be a great learning and growing experience for me. I think the greatest challenge that I will face over the coming weeks will be disciplining the kids. First and second graders can be wild, and while part of me will undoubtedly want to let them run loose, I will have to channel my inner elementary school teacher/disciplinarian and maintain control over the classroom in order to make it a productive learning environment.

In addition to my work at YSCP, this internship will hopefully give me a chance to cultivate professional skills that I haven’t really been exposed to up until now. The events and opportunities for networking in particular will be some of my first chances to practice interacting with faculty and professionals, both in my field of interest and outside.  Additionally, I expect to get a lot of practice doing office work, producing documents and posters, and meeting deadlines that are assigned to me.

Although I do not anticipate going into a career in international affairs specifically, I am interested in international, sustainable development. In order to be an effective force for positive change in this field, I need to have a very broad, global perspective and vast understanding of international issues. While I consider myself to be somewhat well informed in terms of global affairs and perspectives, there is obviously always room for great improvement. I plan on taking advantage of the lectures and events that CGS holds as a way to improve my own understanding of the world, and maybe even broaden my own global perspective.

Overall, I am ecstatic to be working at the Center for Global studies as an intern. If all goes as planned, this will be the first internship that primes me for work in other internships or jobs directly related to my area of study.  With any luck, by the end of this experience I will be able ready and able to step into the professional world without an ounce of hesitation.