This just in! I will be pursuing a Master’s of Science in Data Science at American University this Fall of 2022!
I want to express my gratitude to my parents who have supported me through my academics and personal life. Additionally, I am thankful for my time at the University of Oklahoma, especially for the professors in the economics and international relations departments. Finally, thank you OU’s Global Engagement Fellowship. It’s been an honor to take part in this program.
To attend American University and take this next step feels momentous. I look forward to documenting my journey in Washington D.C.
Photo by Jorge Alcala on Unsplash
Held at the Jim Thrope Multicultural Event Center on December 3rd, I was able to attend the IAS x CAC’s International Trivia Night for a night filled with trivia with a global focus. It was a great way to have fun and stay engaged on campus!
I was glad to be a part of such an inclusive and welcoming international organization. I will graduate this December but will remember Model UN fondly. I first joined the club because I wanted to practice diplomacy and learn negotiation skills. This ended up being a great way to do that as well as have opportunities to not only speak in front of others as a conference moderator but also engage with others in discussion during the weekly meetings.
On November 18th, I was able to join in to listen to different speakers recite Chinese poetry through this Zoom event. A non-western view of poetry is much needed, as though I do not understand Chinese, I thoroughly enjoyed the poem recitations. I learned that Chinese poetry is often more brief and compact, instead of being of a lengthier nature that I’ve come to associate poetry with.
According to the Economist article on the South Korean Women vs the Patriarchy, the average South Korean woman makes two-thirds the wage of the average man. Even though statistical discrimination is illegal (via the Equal Employment Act in 2018), a bank group of male executives at Kookmin bank manipulated recruitment scores in lowering women’s scores, while raising men’s scores. Ideally, they would secure more men hires. Because this is illegal, they were taken to court, but the bank was fined only $4,500. The hiring directors claimed that they were making a rational, statistical decision because of women’s higher chance of career disruption and their perception that the employment of men would benefit the firm in the long run. This is clearly an example of taste discrimination. Even when the productivity of a woman is fully revealed, the majority of firms like this banking company still discriminate.
Though South Korean women face all three types of discrimination (employer, employee, customer), in this case, employer discrimination is the clearest. They clearly exhibit discrimination, because their treatment of female vs male workers has nothing to do with productivity in the hiring process. The only difference is their gender that makes these executives manipulate productivity so that they can hire men instead. The cost of having female workers is only Wf, but the firm feels like they are paying Wf+d, so instead, they hire men where Wm < Wf + d. At the basic level Wm* = Wf* + d showcases this wage gap. This cannot be easily solved by competition because of the pervasiveness of social and cultural norms that South Korean women should stay home and that they should (statistical discrimination) leave the workforce once married or when they have children. We can also consider how South Korean women also face employee discrimination. Because of the same socio-cultural norms, many men don’t like working with women. So men feel like they are paid Wm-d. For customer discrimination, this is likely very present in fields like this banking example. Because customers feel like they are paying p+d, they will seek other companies with men or other workers that are men at the bank to feel like they are getting their money’s worth. All of which work against the South Korean woman with the employer’s discrimination being the most prominent (and able to be observed) in the hiring process, employee’s discrimination creating an unwelcoming environment, and customer’s discrimination further hurting women’s performance– all of which work to worsen these different types of taste discrimination.
One of the books I read in my IAS 4013 Capstone on Global Environment and Disease Crises was Fevered: Why a Hotter Planet Will Hurt Our Health by Linda Marsa. It focused on how the impending climate crisis is not just an environmental issue, but also a grave health issue that concerns us all.
Below are some key takeaways from Fevered: Why a Hotter Planet Will Hurt Our Health
- Climate change will impact and already has negatively impacted our health, with extreme weather and higher temperatures as high contributors. This means an increase in tropical diseases, allergies, asthma, heat strokes, cancer, lung disease, insect-related diseases, and more. Though many like to think of the climate crisis as something in the future… the climate crisis is now. And it is already impacting us. It just so happens that some of us are privileged enough not to feel its effects as people without resources, protections, political and economic clout, or shelter from these harsher environments.
- Look to Hurricane Katrina and the dust bowl as examples of the intensity of weather events that will become our new normal. The frequency and magnitude of these natural disasters are only going to increase, leaving less and less time for recovery efforts across the world.
- The re-emergence of diseases has begun, and will only continue as our climate warms. For instance, dengue fever made a comeback in Texas and fungus-borne diseases showed up in Arizona. These risks merit our attention and diligence to invest in trash removal, better sanitation services, and ensuring that our people have access to clean drinking water.
So, where do we go from here? What issue do we focus on first? On an individual level, it is worthwhile to read books like these to educate ourselves about the climate crisis and understand its level of urgency. From there, we the people can drive change by forcing our local leaders to prioritize climate change, which will compound and move forward efforts on the international scale.
In an effort to stay informed about the global world, you might come to the same realization as me: there is insufficient coverage of African countries. And in relation to current events, our school systems are doing us a disservice in not sufficiently covering African history in school. It is saddening to admit that I didn’t learn that the first evidence of humans was found in Africa. The continent has a rich history that needs to be taught and shared, especially pre-colonialism. I make this distinction because of most of the sub-Saharan African history that I was taught (as well as other regions like MENA) was always focused on viewing them through a frame of colonialism or post-colonialism. It wasn’t until some college classes that I was able to move beyond these pre-constructed lenses and allow myself to seek out the narratives that aren’t heavily disseminated.
But for my African Economics class, we were tasked with focusing in on a more specific topic. So to narrow my scope I decided that I wanted to take a look into the distribution of wealth in Angola as an informal case study of what could explain the high levels of inequality that exist today. I found that colonialism played a major role in underdeveloping the country due to the highly extractive institutions and systems put into place during colonialism, unequal trade dynamics that favored the colonizers, and the resource curse. All of which has persisted into today. I’ve attached my paper for more details.
Curious about how space can impact societal outcomes? This is where exploring how spatial segregation can promote and even further social segregation steps in. I explored this notion in looking at fortified enclaves (places that are restricted to the public) in Luanda which is the capital city of a notoriously, highly unequal country of Angola. I wondered about how the restriction of spaces to the majority of Luandans would help compound inequality in society. I have my paper attached for details, the point I would like to drive home is to pay attention to consider how your local spaces may be used to separate those of different social strata and how space can be weaponized to further promote exclusivity, and thereby high levels of inequality that heavily disadvantage the majority of society.
In attending this zoom event, I wanted to take in as much as possible because it is different to see US-China relations being covered in a news setting vs. the academic talks we get to see on campus. Obviously, with the pandemic, relations have continued to be fraught. However, I was glad that the talk focused on some of the areas of concern that both countries would like to see improved like trade. But, despite being an economics major, I was more interested in how the talk didn’t shy away from all the human rights abuses China has been involved in. All that to say, that we could definitely bring up many human rights abuses for the US too. I think that the future of the US-China relations will remain highly competitive and that any trust that existed before the pandemic has greatly diminished due to the handling of the pandemic on both ends, especially in relation to each other.
I really enjoyed attending the International Festival this year! I missed these kinds of international events that I would fill up my schedule with freshman and sophomore year. These are events I will always remember in getting to learn about other cultures, speak with others in connecting through our diverse backgrounds, and of course sharing food.