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RCL #5

As I began to look through multiple different organizations, fishing for fallacies and logical discrepancies, there was one that significantly stood out to me: Girl Scouts. To be clear, I’m not necessarily against the Girl Scouts organization exactly; in fact I very much support their overall goal to empower young girls into becoming strong and independent women. However, I haven’t always agreed with the way in which they convey this message, and in reading their organization’s statement, I was less than compelled.

In less than four hundred words, they managed to mention the same few benefits multiple times, and only rephrased slightly each time.  In such a brief statement to begin with, there was little elaboration or support in justifying their benefits. Instead, they simply stated that girls within the program could learn new skills, take on leadership roles, and explore their potential. In fact, these two almost completely identical sentences:

“Girl Scouts is a place where she’ll practice different skills, explore her potential, take on leadership positions”


“…where girls can try new things, develop a range of skills, take on leadership roles,”

were separated only by an ineffective infographic as a buffer. Clearly, the organization has little information to back up their benefits, otherwise they would have more solid and diverse justifications.

Similarly, they inputted information that had the purpose of being factual scientific data as evidence, however there was absolutely no credibility ensured.  One quote says “research shows that girls learn best in an all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment.” but there are no results or references presented. For all we know, this could’ve been one small study that proved only what they wanted to hear. And in that case, they’d have a sweeping generalization on their hands. Otherwise, it is simply an appeal to ignorance; unless people actually looked into research studies to prove them right or wrong, most people are simply going to blindly follow what it says.

To round off their repetitious and poor spiel on why someone should support their Girl Scout troops, they’re simply over exaggerating the effectiveness of the program in saying  “Girl Scouts works. It’s the best leadership experience for girls in the world for one very good reason: because it’s girl-led!” Not only is it wrong to say that theirs is the best program in the world, they never even presented any information to back this up. The entire time they are relying on pathos and the empowering affect their words have, rather than providing any real logical evidence. The logic they DO provide is riddled with inconsistencies and fallacies.

RCL #4- Persuasion Essay Draft/ Outline

Intro: Within our Nation, the overall structure and content within some aspects of our education system is lacking, one of those being sexual education programs. Sex Ed, whether it be taught in middle or high schools, often contains many flaws or topics that are merely forgotten. Though many programs have begun to move away from abstinence-only education, LGBTQ inclusive sex education is still very rare; in fact, there are even some states that require same-sex behavior to be taught in sex ed, but only in a negative manner. These non encompassing and invalidating programs prove to be very deleterious to LGBTQ youth for a wide variety of reasons. LGBTQ youth have severely high rates of mental illness and significantly higher rates of attempted and completed suicide than heteronormative youth. In terms of physical and sexual health, lesbian and bisexual women are at a much greater risk of contracting STI’s and having teen pregnancies than their heterosexual counterparts. Gay youth and adolescence on the other hand have accounted for a majority of new HIV contractions. These very preventable disparities can be connected to the improper sex education in schools or the lack thereof. Integrating sex education not only promotes a healthier lifestyle for LGBTQ youth, but it also enhances a more tolerant and knowledgeable environment where students can feel safe in their schools, and comfortable to reach out for support. Where this is not present, many problems can occur. Bullying and prejudice amongst LGBTQ teens is significanlty higher than that of heterosexual and cisgender youth, simple inclusivity within the education has proven to create tolerance. Additionally, when students do not feel comfortable seeking sex education from a teacher or a trusted adult (or if it’s simply not allowed) they often turn to the internet. Although the internet can provide positive and factual information, it can also be a very dangerous place for LGBTQ youth. All of these issues are preventable, at least to some extent, and this can be done by integrative and inclusive sex ed programs in schools nationwide.


Thesis: Sex ed in the United States must be not only comprehensive, but also LGBTQ inclusive in order to elimate a wide variety of diparities between LGBTQ and heterosexual cisgender youth including health (mental, physical, and sexual), bullying, and prejudice.  


Audience: [1] Potential policy-makers; state education departments that regulate, control, and make the requirements and standards for education. Because sex ed is often left up to the school district to decide, it can create inconsistent and various programs. If states mandate clear policies and regulations to the programs, it eliminates a lot of problems.      [2] Parents of LGBTQ youth, allies, and LGBTQ identified youth themselves who would likely rally around this idea and promote and enhance these presented ideas.


Current Standings of Sex Ed Across the Nation


Health Disparities


  • Mental Health


      • Depression, anxiety levels of LGBTQ youth
      • Suicide rates for LGB youth is about 5x that of heterosexual youth, and trans teens are double that


  • Sexual Health


    • Bisexual and Lesbian women are at much greater risk for STI’s and teen pregnancy than heterosexual counterparts
    • Gay men are at a much greater risk for HIV infection than heterosexual counterparts


Bullying and Prejudice

  • LGBTQ youth experience severely more bullying in schools than heterosexual cisgender youth
  • Even teachers partake in bullying on occasion
  • How tolerance is related to increased education


Turning To the Internet


  • Negatives


      • (Fosters), turning to older LGBTQ people for experience, could result in dangerous situations
      • Information online may not be accurate or informative enough, or overdramatized (porn)


  • Positives


    • Information online may be factual and helpful from reputable sources
    • Online Sex ed programs


Where We Could/ Should Be

  • Gender and Sexual Orientation included in sex ed
  • Teaching acceptance, tolerance, and consent from a young age (Canada)
  • Funding for inclusive programs


Deliberation Reflection

I attended two other deliberations after my group had our own: “Me 2, You 2, We All Want 2 Reduce Sexual Assault” and “Happy Hour Valley: Thinking about Drinking.” I enjoyed attending both deliberations, and I was glad to be a part of some very important conversations on campus. I think the students in each group did a very fine job.


The first deliberation I attended was  “Me 2, You 2, We All Want 2 Reduce Sexual Assault” which was a discussion on the best potential ways to reduce sexual assault, especially pertaining to our campus. Their three approaches were education, consequences, and what to do on our campus. We had a very good discussion on education and especially pertaining to teaching consent at a young age. It was generally agreed upon that teaching even simple consent at a young age could be very proactive and beneficial. In terms of consequences, the group was generally torn. Some people suggest that perpetrators of sexual assault deserve severe punishment and jail, including a permanent registration of being a sex offender. Others said that a permanent label of being a sex offender may be too harsh. Generally, we did agree upon the fact that different cases should be treated differently dependent on the severity of the harm done to the victim. Then we talked about resources on campus, or in schools in general, and that faculty and teachers need to be informed about how to effectively help survivors of sexual assault. We talked about how CAPS is a good resource, but some people may feel uncomfortable with it or not aware of its effectiveness, and that maybe, they should do more to advertise their services for students to be aware of.


The second deliberation I attended was “Happy Hour Valley: Thinking about Drinking.” This deliberation was centered around the drinking culture on our campus and what changes might need to be made to make a more pleasurable environment. They focused on drinking education and safety, consequences, and the negative effects that drinking can have on our community. There was a lot of discussion centered around the idea that (underage) drinking cannot possibly be monitored completely, because it would simply be impossible. Therefore, the focus on consequences and policing drunks should be on those who are causing severe distress or harm to themselves or others. We also agreed upon the fact that the education currently setup to prevent dangerous drinking is generally ineffective and should be made more enjoyable and informative in order to increase its effectiveness. I really likes how this group structured their deliberation as opposed to the other. This group had a very large attendance, so in order to combat this, they split up the large group into three smaller groups to go over each approach. Then, after the three approaches, we summarized our smaller discussions as a whole. I found this to be more effective than the other group, who also had a large attendance, that had the discussion as a whole group, in a small space. Overall, I enjoyed the experience of attending deliberations and having this community style discussion on important topics concerning our campus and the greater State College area.

This I Believe: The Power in Language

The Power in Language


During the winter of freshman year, my French class had the opportunity to travel to the charming city of Quebec. We were free to roam around town all we’d like, except we had one rule: we could only speak in French. However, when we were on the spot, simple words such as “please” seemed to slip our minds. Although most people appreciated our attempts to speak French, they would nonetheless laugh, be disenchanted or sometimes even irritated, and would just resort to speaking English.

Just as we decided to give up and attempt to spare our dignity, two very amicable teenage girls standing in front of us in line on top of the snow-capped mountain of the ski-slope whipped their heads around when they heard us talking. With beautiful french accents they emphatically asked us where we were from. We told them where and that we were there in Quebec on a trip with our French class. That information somehow made them filled with even more joy, evident by their beaming smiles, as they walked closer to us and immediately started speaking to us in French, rapidly asking all sorts of questions. My friends and I probably looked like deers in headlights. Our blank stares made it clear that we were oblivious to what they were saying, and the girls just laughed, much like everyone else had.

Except, their laughs were different. They weren’t snickering at our ignorance, but instead delightedly chuckling at the opportunity they had at hand. They told us they wanted to practice their English, and clearly, we needed to practice our French. We hopped out of line, sat down on the icy snowbank, and decided to have a bilingual conversation; they were only going to speak to us in English, and we we’re only going to speak to them in French, respectfully helping each other out along the way.  We talked to each other in depth about what our lives were like. We spoke about things like our hometowns, friends, school and what we did for fun. We were sitting there, in the below freezing snow, for about forty-five minutes just talking to each other, and laughing, just as any other group of teenagers would do. Though I couldn’t tell you their names, and although we did not keep in touch, I’ll never forget the time we shared. It was the most fun we’d had on the whole trip, and getting to know these girls and learn about each other’s lives was an eye-opening experience. Though we learned many similarities about our cultures, learning about everything new and different was so intriguing. Our French skills we’re definitely not as efficient as their English skills, but with both our patience and eagerness, we made the best of it.

The embarrassing language barrier that we had been encountering on our trip up until this moment seemed to fade, almost to nonexistence. Instead, it became a bridge that connected our two cultures. The impact of this seemingly insignificant encounter left me with such a greater appreciation for the ability to have an education in a foreign language. I believe that harboring the knowledge of at least one language other than your primary one, is the key that opens the door to the one of the beautiful wonders of our world that is diversity.

Anyone can travel abroad, or in my case even just five hours across the border, and simply view another culture from the outside. However, until you attempt to actually immerse yourself in the culture, and put in effort to communicate with the people native to the area, you’ll never get the best experience you can truly have. Of course there’s a lot in this world that many people will never have the opportunity to see and appreciate, but exploring other cultures can be a lot easier than it looks. Consider the perspective of the Quebec girls: you could be just fifteen minutes from your home, but when you possess even a basic understanding of another language, you could amazingly be someone else’s foreign experience, and inevitably creating one of your own.


History of a Public Controversy Contract

“Me Too” Movement

Malisa Yin, Emma Davies, Liz Druschel, Kristin Sickau, Nora Tietjens, Eva Ragonese


For our history of a public controversy movement project, we are going to investigate the controversial “me too” movement that has sparked conversation across social media these last few months. In our video, we will highlight the different opinions on this subject and controversy and how influential it is to our society.


Below is our group contract of our assigned roles for the project.


Editors- Kristin Sickau

  • This role will fulfill our final edits on the research of our project as well as digital editing of the video


Filming- Nora Tietjens and Malisa Yin

  • This role will function as the main camera person and director of the video portion


Research- Liz Druschel, Emma Davies, and Eva Ragonese

  • This role will focus on gathering sufficient information to fulfill the video portion of the assignment and research the controversy behind this movement


Through the project, we will follow our assigned roles and collaborate to create our final project.