just an eager freshman

I am currently majoring in biology and minoring in Spanish in hopes to become a bilingual Physician’s Assistant. My goal is to become apart of an organization similar to Doctors Without Borders and travel abroad on medical missions.

This desire developed when I went on my first mission trip to Haiti during Spring Break of my sophomore year in High School. When I arrived in Titanyen, Haiti I was shocked by the poverty and living conditions. The medical clinic was cramped, understaffed and lacked adequate supplies and the majority of the children were shoeless. I was witnessing first-hand what I had only ever briefly read in articles or seen occasional pictures of in commercials and newspapers. Immediately, I desired to help in any way I could. I had the opportunity to wash the older women’s feet and paint their nails and toes, play soccer with the children, paint houses, and hold the young orphans in my arms. I was touched by the love and joy I saw on the faces of each person I met. They were genuinely excited to meet and spend time with me.

Due to the language barrier, I sought other ways to make them laugh and showed them, to the best that I could, Jesus’s love through my actions. However, I could not help but wonder what it would have been like if I had more to offer them. More than anything, I wish I could have met the medical needs of the people I met who were suffering. I am excited to pursue a medical career and hopefully have the opportunity to return to Haiti and travel to other areas around the world and assist in clinics.

Becoming more globally engaged allows me to better understand the world and how to communicate appropriately with the people I meet. I am only six weeks into the course Understanding the Global Community and have already learned an extensive amount of information. Through the course,  I have realized that one should never believe a “single story” about another country and the importance in understanding other cultures and their traditions. I am excited to continue setting goals, learning about other parts of the world, and pursuing study abroad opportunities and mission trips.


Media Convergence Shaped by Consumer Use of Social Media

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism stated in 2011 that “If searching for news was the most important development of the last decade, sharing news may be among the most important of the next.” Time has only proven that this is very true. With the rise of social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, linkedin, etc. the news has been more about quick and easy sharing than in depth news reports. What society wants is something that is attention grabbing and fast.
The thing about media convergence is that our attention span is getting shorter. Instead of sitting down to watch an entire 6 oclock news program, we can only handle scrolling through twitter and occasionally clicking the 140 character tweeted link that peaks our interest more than the others. News companies must figure out how to downsize their news into something that isn’t too long for our short attention span.
You can tell what news story is being paid attention to by what hash tags are trending. For instance, the use #BlackLivesMatter shows news companies that the public is paying attention and cares about racial issues. If they want their news to be viewed, they should cater to the popular trends.
Media Convergence also has an affect on the employees of news companies. Reporters nowadays must have a social media presence alongside their on camera presence. In the early 2000’s, news reporters had to appear on screen and that was the majority of their job, however, today they must be able to write articles, create tweets, post on Facebook, share photos on Instagram, and maintain their news personality at all times.
Another news employee whose role is changing with Media Convergence is the cameraman. With the rise of the iPhone, news can be captured with one single click and share. The cameraman must now capture film that is shocking, or that is hard for anybody else to capture. Everybody is taking pictures and videos; the cameraman has to take it one step further in order to maintain the upper hand on video.
Ultimately, it is my firm belief that Media Convergence is a by-product of the consumers, not the other way around. The more demand consumers place on social media, the more work big news names have to put in to appeal to those demands. Although the media still controls what we hear and our perspectives on it, with the age of social media, it’s so easy to simply share something that news companies really have to fight to be what consumers are looking for.

Media Convergence and its Effect on the Consumer

How do you get your news? Do you go outside every morning with a cup of coffee and sit on the porch while reading the newspaper? That’s how my parents use to do it! Now everything can be accessed at the click of a button! Now my parents, my sister, my friends, and even I get our news all the same way, on our phone. Its amazing what ten years of growing technology can do to us. Anyway, this blog is about media convergence and its effect on the consumer. Do you think you have been effected by technology? I believe that media convergence has had an effects on the consumer. According to JMC 1013 Student packet page six, “to today’s media-consuming public, smaller is better.” Consumers seem to be separating themselves by race, religion, language and ethnicity. Mass media companies are now realizing that they need to appeal to a more narrow audience and to grow these audiences. With this strategy they can appeal to a more diverse audience in the process. In JMC 1013 Student Packet is states, “There are bloggers who create their own content….publishing news, commentary opinions and other material on their own individualized websites.” With all this new technology why couldn’t you just make your own blog? Most only double or triple their readers, so is being on your own worth it? In journalism you can either have money or impact. When it comes to growing your audience, its one or the other. By just having your own blog you could easily post your opinions on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and tumbler and have thousands maybe millions of views, but what makes it credible? Should we just believe what you say cause there are a lot of views?  What does it take to make readers keep coming back to you as a source? Although we think we can just do things on our own, we still need the famous names of news. FOX, CNN, NBC are all great and we trust them. We need media to provide the world with news, entertainment, sports, and advertisement. Money drives the engine of news and entertainment. As you can tell mass media is changing and in a very big way. News has become easier to access, but another change is the faces that the news is coming from. The news is shifting and changing in a diverse way as well. Media convergence is a huge topic that has effected how we obtain news and how easily it can be changed or wrong.




Reflection #5

Hello again! Here are the questions for Reflection #5:

After spending some time looking closely at different study abroad possibilities, what do you want to do and why? Has your mind changed since you applied for this program? How and why (or why not)?

After researching all of the study abroad possibilities that OU offers, I have decided that I would like to go on the Journey Program to Peru! One reason I want to do the Journey program is that I have never been abroad without my family. The Journey Programs are very structured, and many younger students go on these trips. For my first study abroad experience, I want to have other OU students and professors close by so I’m not completely by myself in a foreign country! When I applied to be a Global Engagement Fellow, I had no idea where I wanted to study abroad, so my mind has not changed since I’ve applied for this program.
Another reason I would like to study abroad in Peru is that there will be a local service project with an early childhood center. I really like this idea because establishing relationships with people from Peru is very important to me. This will help me better understand the culture and language. I also love little kids, so it is a perfect match.
One of the things that really grabbed my attention about Peru is that they will be going to Machu Picchu. I have always dreamed of getting to hike Machu Picchu! All throughout my Spanish classes in middle school and high school, I remember seeing pictures of Machu Picchu in the textbooks. One of my teachers from high school even went to Machu Picchu and showed us pictures; she said if we ever get the chance to go, we must go! I am a very outdoorsy person, so going to Peru is right up my alley! Since I enjoy the outdoors so much, staying in Amazon Rainforest for a few days also sounds so much fun! I can only imagine the wildlife that I will get to see there! Peru is definitely the place I would like to study abroad to, but studying abroad anywhere would make me happy!


My OU Cousin

Today I met my OU Cousin. Her name is Hawi, and she is AWESOME.

I was really nervous about meeting my cousin, because even though I’m someone who is genuinely interested in other cultures, I am often worried about making whoever I’m talking to feel super different, or since I don’t know what that particular person may be sensitive about, I don’t want to ask questions in a way that could be inadvertently offensive.

But Hawi was very nice. She is a sophomore living in Traditions, and she is originally from Ethiopia. We bonded over a mutual love of Ethiopian food, and a mutual grudge over the fact that neither of us can find an Ethiopian food place near campus, let a lone a decent one. We talked about television, and about all the different places you can go in America and how they’re all so different, and about how she has way more siblings than I do. We both love Washington D.C.

My favorite thing about my cousin so far is how relaxed she is. My fears about seeming too interested in what makes us different when I’m really just curious about different cultures were immediately put to rest. She asked me the same questions I wanted to ask her, and I didn’t feel weird about it. When she asked where I was from and I said Dallas she acted exactly like I did when she told me she was from Ethiopia: she immediately wanted to know more about it. My fears were put to rest for a little while after that.

But later when we were talking about food and she mentioned she doesn’t eat pork, I felt awkward again. Because Hawi is Muslim, and even though I don’t have a fear or prejudice toward Muslims at all, I didn’t know if she had experienced that since she’s been America. Especially post-9/11 America, where the wrong people blame an entire culture for what took  place in New York. I wanted to talk about it because Islamic culture is interesting to me, but I didn’t want her to think I was prying in a way that was “judgmental,” especially is she had experienced that sort of prejudice.

After floundering on my question, and doing a fair amount of embarrassing stuttering, she just stopped me and kindly asked (even though I think she might have been slightly exasperated) “What do you want to know?” I told her I didn’t know how to ask in a way that seemed correct, and she told me to just ask, because she knew by now that I was doing my absolute best not to come off wrong.

My cousin really is very nice. I can’t wait to hang out with her again.


Reflection for 9/24/2015

tanzania tanzania_ss5 tanzania-map tanzania-zanzibar-beach

As one of the assignments for the Becoming Globally Engaged class, students are expected to respond to reflection prompts on a weekly basis. Here is the prompt and my response for the week of Sep 24, 2015.

After spending some time looking closely at different study abroad possibilities, what do you want to do and why? Has your mind changed since you applied for this program? How and why (or why not)?

After attending the Study Abroad 101 session and looking at descriptions of each opportunity, I’m very interested in the Journey to Africa- Tanzania program because of the great opportunities it has for nature and conservation exploration mixed with international studies. The courses they offer seem very interesting as well as applicable to my major, right now being international studies with a minor in biology. It would give me an opportunity to earn credits for my major in an extremely interesting and beautiful environment.

I’m also attracted to the fact that it is a Journey Program, so there are no language requirements. I haven’t begun taking a language course at OU, nor have I decided what language I want to study! So the chance to study abroad and get a taste for foreign experience while not struggling to function is extremely appealing. I feel like this program will be a good time to become accustomed to the traveling process and being over seas before I dare to do something as bold as a whole semester or year.

Since I’ve applied for the Global Engagement Program, my mind has definitely changed in terms of where I was thinking about going. When applying, I hadn’t exactly had Africa in mind when thinking about a place to travel. I was mostly bent on Eastern Europe and the middle eastern countries, and yet exposure to new opportunities and hearing exactly what OU has to offer has changed my mind, and now I’m ecstatic to have the chance to essentially study both my major and minor at the same time!

I would also like to mention that the education on the many scholarship chances for studying abroad has definitely made the whole process a lot less daunting, and that has opened my mind to new places of travel.

Reflection for 9/17/2015

As one of the assignments for the Becoming Globally Engaged class, students are expected to respond to reflection prompts on a weekly basis. Here is the prompt and my response for the week of Sep 17, 2015.

How did you react to the perspectives on the United States that you encountered this week? What stood out the most to you? Why? How will that influence your thoughts or actions in the future – either here or abroad?

For the most part I found the perspectives on the United States to be interesting,  especially the viewpoint, “where are all the people?”. Compared to many other countries, the  United States is very car­based, mostly due to oil company’s control over congress and lobbying  efforts when major cities were being developed about 100 years ago. This is something that as an  American I dread; it’s bad for the environment and our nation’s health.

However, something that I am actually quite proud of as an American is our nation’s  pride, and that is why it shocked and, I might admit, slightly angered me as many of the panelists  exposed criticism for our nation’s pride and patriotism, even going so far as to say it is harmful  and that Americans shouldn’t be as patriotic. Our patriotism and sense of nationhood is one of  the few braggable things about the United States; it’s what brings us together close and strong  when disasters hit or when there are national tragedies such as terrorist attacks. Although the  stereotypical image of a redneck shooting a shotgun, yelling “‘Merica!”, might be an  international joke when discussing Americans, it is only because our strong sense of patriotism  that during things such as the Moore tornado, the entire nation provides aid and support. I feel as  though those providing criticism might lack a true understanding of the patriotism they see  overly expressed on July 4th, however there is a great deal of difference between nationalism and  patriotism.

Moving on from this panel, though, in looking at how it will influence my actions in the  future, I will think a lot harder about my opinions when exploring the global community. There  will be traditions and customs that I will encounter that may scare me and anger me as an  American, and yet it may simply be my misunderstanding or simply the fact that I didn’t grow up  with those things that is causing my discomfort. The opinions expressed in the panel have  definitely made me think harder into what it means to see things from both sides, and going  forward I feel as though my experiences abroad will be more engaging and meaningful as I’ll  better be able to get past elements of culture shock.

The global community is a vastly different place across the board, despite the growth and  spread of popular western culture, and as a global engagement fellow representing the United  States it will be my duty to be more open minded.

The Peace Corps

Several years ago, I stumbled across the idea of joining the Peace Corps after obtaining my undergraduate degree. I knew that I could get some kind of financial relief from the cost of a Master’s degree if I worked for the Peace Corps, all while traveling to a remote region of the world and assisting a community towards a better quality of life. However, I never did much research into the organization beyond the initial visit to their website which is why I thought it a good idea to attend the Peace Corps Career Workshop on September 21st.

The workshop speaker had nothing but wonderful things to say about his experience in Moldova working for the Peace Corps’s Economic Development sector. The vivid pictures of beaming children, breathtaking natural landscape, and a foreign culture’s personal tapestry beckoned me towards a new, unforgettable international adventure with the Peace Corps. However, two little words were – and continue – holding me back from completely committing myself to the program: two years.

The length of service the Peace Corps requires is two years. Of course, they allot their volunteers with vacations days (which our speaker encouraged us to use for exploring outside of our stationed region), but I remain hesitant. I cannot imagine being away from my family, away from my way of life for such an unimaginably long time. It is not as if I get offered a job on the opposite coast of the country from my home and move away; at least then, I will be able to see my family during holidays and keep up with friends via social media. Compared to continents separating us, several thousand miles seems like a grain of sand on the beach.

Right now at the age of 18, two years seems like a time period that will unfurl into the ambiguous future without end. I have only been away from my family for a month so far, but over the course of the next four years before I need to make up my mind, I will probably grow accustomed to being on my own, and maybe even welcome an adventure such as this.


A Dinner with Journalists

Last year I learned about the President’s Associates dinners and attended an informal discussion with Mr. Robert Gates. This year I was eager to finally attend one of the actual dinners. Last week, that opportunity came. A friend of mine and I went together to the dinner, ready to hear from two giants of journalism, Bob Schieffer and Jim Lehrer. Although journalism is not among my fields of interest or study, the insight of these two men was phenomenal. Both of them had worked for many years reporting from Washington, and so their thoughts on the current political environment were particularly interesting.

They explained how, in their opinion, many of the problems in Washington stem from the “industrialization” of politics. The political sphere has become an industry dominated by professional players. It’s not about getting stuff done, it’s about getting in. This has increasingly led to the polarization of parties. The moderates are disappearing from politics. And it’s the moderates who are most important in Washington. Without compromising on little things, the government shuts down, literally. I agree with them wholeheartedly. Politics shouldn’t be like picking teams in schoolyard sports. “I want pro-choice so you have to be pro-life” or “I’m fiscally conservative, so you can’t be!” That’s not how party politics should be. If it is, maybe we shouldn’t have party politics. I don’t know why no one in the world of politics seems able to say “I agree with you” to anyone of another party. I feel like on most things we should agree. We all want our country to function, right? Surely none of us really want to eternally spiral deeper into debt. Instead of starting all our debates and decisions from a position of opposition, we need to start by identifying our common goals and interests. We can only make progress if we start from common ground.

America can’t lead the world if it can’t lead itself. We will lose any and all respect we have in the international community if we can’t get ourselves together. And because of the money, that’s not going to happen from the top down. It has to come from the bottom up. If we, the voters and the future politicians of America, don’t step up, nothing will change. And if nothing changes, there won’t be anything left to lead. We are the future of America. We need to be knowledgeable and willing to take the hard steps to make politics about governing again instead of about getting elected and making money. The longer we wait to make a change, the harder it will be to change the system. This is our country too. Let’s focus on bringing people into office who are willing to work with one another rather than unilaterally push their own agendas through. I don’t care how good those agendas seem—we’re better off with a team player. And it’s up to us, the people, to make that happen.


P.S. If that started to sound rant-y I apologize. I strive to avoid political rants in anything I post online. (Partially because I’m not informed enough to be worth listening to.) However, I wanted to discuss the dinner, and that was the part that most resonated with me.