Imagine having to constantly defer to people who mis-identify you, just to make it through your day. Now imagine doing it day, after day, after day.
In the years to follow the first Thanksgiving, the holiday was only sporadically recognized. The early presidents proclaimed days of Thanksgiving, but the federal government stopped recognizing the holiday in the early nineteenth-century. It was only in amidst the national disunity of the Civil War that Lincoln re-established the holiday as a means to reaffirm a sense of national unity. In this context, the story of the original Thanksgiving garnered new meaning, representing an ideal of people sharing a land together in spite of their differences.
From this experience I developed an interest in issues such as state policy capture, in which policy decisions are directed away from the public interest towards a specific interest and can undermine democratic values and trust in government. My summer experience has served to empower me achieve my goals of one day conducting research, writing, and lobbying for policy which protects civil liberties and mainstreams human rights with a regional focus of the Middle East and North Africa. I intend continue my education to assist in similar endeavors and high-level policy research and analysis at a broader level.
Due to the funding provided by the Social Science Scholars, and in particular my donor Marshall Cohn, I had some of the best experiences to last me a lifetime. I traveled to the former capitol Ayutthaya, went snorkeling in some of the clearest oceans I've ever seen, and even joined a football league (soccer in the U.S.). I’ve tried dishes I can’t pronounce and sang karaoke to Japan’s greatest hits. I’ve laughed with some really funny and kind people, and I’ve cried with those same people. Words can’t put into context the journey and fulfillment this opportunity has offered. I’m truly humbled to have had this experience and I believe it has changed me as a person.
Change will only come when we decide to take the first step. As social innovators, we must be bold enough to believe in the future we hope to create yet be humble enough to understand that most change happens slowly and, as such, we must remain steadfast. Complex social issues defy simple, straightforward solutions; they demand a deep understanding, our best ideas, a willingness to collaborate, and a long-term commitment. The Bali Immersion experience added an entirely unique and comprehensive layer to my undergraduate education, and I cannot imagine my time at Florida State without it.
Those who study aging have known for decades that the effects of population aging are most visible in the growing proportion of the population requiring everyday care and assistance, usually by family members. If we aspire to be a society that values families, we need to do a better job supporting the needs of caregivers, particularly those who are the most vulnerable.
One of the most satisfying parts of the assignment was that I challenged the students to write both a government and a defense memo that were so balanced in their arguments that I could not tell which side they personally favored. Virtually all of the students succeeded in doing so.
Engagement in visual-centric blogging introduces students to a popular form of public sociology that develops the sociological imagination. As Lisa Wade and Gwen Sharp, founders of Sociological Images, note, sharing compelling images and social scientific analysis in blog form is an effective way to engage a non-scholar audience in developing understandings of social science principles.
The most interesting classes I teach involve building interdisciplinary studies and multicultural urbanism. Maybe because both courses ask students to recognize and respect diverse perspectives and different ways of knowing the world. In multicultural urbanism, I ask students to step outside of their social worlds long enough to learn how other social and racial/ethnic groups have been …