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  • More Than Coursework: Graduate Students Who Lead and Serve - Mariangela Mihai
    Trees Atlanta www treesatlanta org and Georgia Conservancy www georgiaconservancy org Together with my colleague Fikrejesus Amahazion the other graduate assistant for the program we organized and conducted personalized visits with EASL s thirty some NGO partners and the respective students placed with them One of the remarkable features of the EASL Summer Internship Program is that each student intern logs her experiences in as much detail as possible It is through these intern journals that group supervisors have an opportunity to offer timely and relevant advice tailored for each student 5 You are now in your second year in the PhD program in anthropology at Cornell University with a concentration in Southeast Asian studies How do your studies in this area connect with your service and ethics two important aspects of your life At Cornell my research focuses on the Chin community living in Mizoram India The Chin are the least known and one of the most underserved group of resettled political refugees They are one of numerous ethnic minorities that have been systematically persecuted by the Burmese government during its five decades of military rule and have been resettled to the U S in significant numbers over the past 3 to 5 years After fleeing from Burma to India they are denied refugee status and are relegated to illegal immigrant status In Mizoram the Chin continue to be marginalized and denied the opportunity to an education Furthermore because India is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention the only place Chin individuals can acquire refugee status is New Delhi a trip so assiduous and financially taxing that many never make it Thus as the Chin inhabit Mizoram illegally they often face persecution by both Mizo locals and authorities for example the recent case of the forty Chin houses torched down in Mizoram this past May http www khonumthung org p 1435 and the recurrent forced deportations of thousands of Chin Thus my research focuses on the precarious spaces the Chin community occupies in Mizoram and the overarching human rights issues that come with that 6 You were president of the Ethics and Arts Society at Emory which is a part of the Ethics and the Arts Initiative which in turn like EASL is a program in the Center for Ethics at Emory Describe the Ethics and Arts Initiative and its many components such as the Free Speech Café and the music program for refugees The Ethics the Arts Initiative at Emory University is a program that encourages ethical discourse and debate through and about the arts by partnering with signature arts organizations to demonstrate the way art challenges our perspectives Through its collaboration with local theaters the Ethics the Arts Initiative offers public pre views of upcoming shows and a space for the community to interact with the play writers cast and directors in conversations meant to draw out of the respective showcased plays new ethically informed meanings Similarly Ethics at the Movies invites audiences and film directors to conversations revolving around art social change and ethics Finally the Ethics the Arts Society another component of the Ethics the Arts Initiative is a multidisciplinary student art organization established to create a platform for artistic identity and expression on the Emory University campus Its mission is to foster an increased awareness of the role of ethics in the arts to connect students with local organizations in the arts The Ethics the Arts Society also organizes the Ethics and the Arts Cafe and the Free Speech Cafe Building on my work with the Burmese refugee community in Atlanta the Ethics and Arts Society in collaboration with Wonderroot Atlanta www wonderroot org organized one of the Ethics and the Arts Cafes as a fundraiser to benefit the youth music program ran by Voicesinthetreetops and the Clarkston Community Center Recognizing that refugee youth from Burma in the Clarkston community due to their marginal economic position have limited access to artistic expression we followed this initial effort with another arts showcase and fundraiser event Spirit Sounds A Collaboration of Inter Faithful Musicians For Spirit Sounds my colleague Ariel Wolpe at the time a senior in the Emory Department of Religion and I combined our common interest in art for social change We used Ariel s honors thesis project to create a platform for inter disciplinary and organizational collaboration Spirit Sounds became a 12 track CD and fundraising Interfaith Concert of original inter religious music from Atlanta Here is a link to the animated video of the song poem piece Ariel and I wrote for Spirit Sounds http youtu be b5FImxqdlRc A link to all Spirit Sounds tracks is at https soundcloud com ariel root wolpe 7 How did serving as president of the Ethics and Arts Society as well as your other activities in the Center for Ethics influence your outlook career plans academic interest life s path Little did I know when Carlton Mackey the chair of the Ethics the Arts Initiative and assistant director of EASL handed me the newborn Ethics and Arts Society that my life was about to head into a new unexpected direction The only advice he offered was Do as much or as little as you want with it It is up to you From that moment on the Emory Center for Ethics its director Paul Wolpe and the staff my mentors Edward Queen and Carlton Mackey have been not only outstandingly supportive but also a constant source of inspiration They have inspired and are still inspiring me to be a better scholar artist and human My participation in the EASL program and the opportunities the followed helped me focus my research interests Allover the Emory Center for Ethics and its programs made it possible for me to envision an integrated life in which I can be an engaged scholar artist and activist 8 At Cornell you started a student group The A C T Collective Arts Community Transformation What led you to found such a group

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  • More Than Coursework: Graduate Students Who Lead and Serve - James Arinaitwe
    dedicated to helping low income families individuals and community college students build economic security Single Stop offers a unique one stop program that combines free public benefits screening and application assistance tax preparation legal assistance and financial counseling At Single Stop we believe and have seen evidence that access to these resources promote health help individuals overcome barriers to attending school help families keep their homes during times of financial collapse and offer a path to economic stability I came to Single Stop USA through a fellowship called the Global Health Corps GHC GHC pairs young intelligent and passionate fellows with organizations that require new thinking and innovative solutions These young leaders are provided with the tools to remain connected even after the fellowship year so as to deepen their ability to enact change through heightened skills and strong partnerships with in their communities and their countries Currently GHC has fellows in Uganda Rwanda Burundi United States and Zambia and continues to grow and expand to other countries as well At Single Stop I work as a program assistant helping implement and strengthen our programs such as the World Trade Center Health Program which partners with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH and The Centers for Disease Control CDC to enroll responders and survivors of 9 11 attacks in health and monitoring In addition I work in the field with one of our community based organizations CBO helping enroll clients in Medicaid Supplemental Food and Nutritional Program SNAP and referring them to housing financial legal and immigration counseling all services which are rendered free to all Single Stop clients At White House after Alternative Break Corps DC project 7 As president of FSU s African Student Association what were the major goals that you hoped to accomplish Were you successful When I ran to become the president of the African Student Association ASA at FSU I had three goals in mind 1 To break the stereotypes about Africa by challenging educating and motivating the FSU and Tallahassee Community about Africa and empowering them to challenge the media s narratives that portrayed the continent vastly different from the Africa that gave me the foundation to become the man that I am today The Africa that I knew as a continent not a country as it so infamously often called has 54 countries and each with unique cultures beliefs history and political and economic structures that vary from country to country and community to community 2 To challenge Africans in the Diaspora to give back to their home countries either through their monetary support of programs on the ground or direct involvement And this is why my team and I initiated One Here One There to help support the education of children from marginalized economic backgrounds 3 To ensure the sustainability of the ASA on campus and making the sure the organization s name became an FSU household name We did this by making sure that the Student Government Organization recognized the ASA and gave us a platform to both air our needs and concerns as African students but also had access to fund some of our service projects to the campus and the larger Tallahassee Community I do believe that we were successful as a team because we accomplished those goals but the sustainability of the organization does depend on the student leadership each year 8 Why did you choose to do your graduate work at SIT Graduate Institute I chose to attend SIT because I felt that as an aspiring African leader I needed training in international sustainable development and economics The Institute also had a focus on social policy and management skills that I thought were vital for one with interests in understanding as well as working in developing countries with hopes of helping marginalized groups attain social mobility It was through SIT that I developed a deeper understanding of how socioeconomic factors such as health income education access to justice and information and the rule of law had a huge impact on the future success or lack thereof of individuals and communities AIDS march at the University of Florida 9 Many people have influenced your life in positive ways Talk about some of the people who have been positive forces in your life Yes many people have invested their time and resources in giving me the opportunity to realize my dreams My parents especially my mother valued education and she made sure to introduce me to the English language however foreign it was to me at an early age My grandmother sacrificed every comfort to ensure that even with my parents passing I was still cared for and made sure I completed primary school The First Lady of Uganda Hon Janet Museveni and her secretary Penina Kyembabazi ensured that I finished high school and on time My American parents Dr Russell and Dr Cheri Rainey and their great extended family took me in as their own child and without their support I would not have been able to achieve what I did both at FSU and beyond And last but not least my professors and friends without whom my journey thus far would have been more daunting I am indebted to each and everyone including those that I have not mentioned here 10 How can international experiences such as those promoted by the Center for Global Engagement CGE increase student engagement in community outreach and social justice on campus and beyond By continuing to support more student organizations such as the Global Peace Exchange Beyond Boarders The African Student Association and the InternatioNOLE in engaging their students members around social issues both domestically and globally the CGE will continue to be an engine for social justice and a champion for cultural understanding and tolerance which in turn brings about peaceful resolutions to social conflicts By having clear channels of communication between the center student groups and their service projects there will be more shared learning

    Original URL path: https://characterclearinghouse.fsu.edu/index.php/readings/from-students/more-than-coursework/987-arinaitwe (2015-06-03)
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  • More Than Coursework: Graduate Students Who Lead and Serve - Pradiip Alvarez
    father passed away in March of 2010 I have started looking at life from a different outlook It made me realize about the fragility of life It made me notice the incredible amount of things that we care about and waste our time doing that have no real significance in our life It made me appreciate every single second of my life and focus much more about today than tomorrow It made me love fully my family and friends and constantly remind them how much they mean to me It made me smile every day knowing that it could be my last day It made me avoid fights and arguments because if something were to happen to the person I had an argument with that would be a terrible last conversation Passion is a very strong word for me More than intelligence or creativity I think passion is the single most important quality of a successful person For this reason I constantly try to follow my passions and see where they will lead me Having said that I am mostly passionate about the universe and the laws that govern its intricate mechanisms about humanity and the complex social relationships that go with it about life its simplicity and fragility about the world and its political economic and social structure and about people and our infinite power to do positive and sustainable change to put our minds and hearts together and make this world a little bit better every day 4 Please tell our readers about FSU s program InternatioNole Why do you think it is worth the time and effort needed to help make it successful As president of InternatioNole what advice do you have for other students who aspire to be student organization leaders The mission of InternatioNole is to bring international and U S students together through educational cultural and social activities Some of the events we have done in the past year have been a BBQ at the FSU Rez where we did kayaking canoeing rock climbing and played beach volleyball More than 80 students from over 20 countries came to this event which was our very first of the year It was a great opportunity to get to know each other and establish the beginning of a long lasting friendship One of my favorite events was a General Body Meeting where we invited three international athletes to speak about their experience It was great to have a chance to listen to Olympians and national champions that study at our own university It was very inspiring to learn how they were able to overcome difficulties and reach the point where they are now We also had a variety show of music dance magic and comedy featuring a dozen student associations from all around campus ranging from the Vietnamese Student Association to the FSU Belly dancers and a magician from Kuwait As far as educational events we hosted our very first InternatioNole Leadership Workshop that counted with the

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  • More Than Coursework: Graduate Students Who Lead and Serve - Parth Vakil
    Please briefly summarize your presentation at FSU s InternatioNole Leadership Workshop entitled Finding Your Own Leader Why did you choose this topic In summary my talk at ILW 2013 was about giving an early heads up to university students about what they need to think about do while they are on their university journey especially undergraduates based on what I have learnt during my experience so far and what had helped me It was a talk that urged students to be more proactive to be more involved and to also seize opportunities in the limited time they have in their undergrad journey It was also a talk that was aimed at creating awareness of the resources on campus the various opportunities extracurricular exchange program internships and scholarships etc and do s networking getting recommendation letters job grad school applications that a student should look at to have a better university experience and resume and life plan Finding Your Own Leader was about students seeing themselves as the leader in their own life and figuring out what they need to do in life for themselves I chose this topic because I know so many students and my own friends who end up hating their majors or who do not build their resume through experiences before graduation and or lack essential leadership and interpersonal team skills that are necessary for any career I was glad to have had friends and mentors who helped me in my journey and I want to do the same this talk was a great opportunity to do so Also as a teaching assistant I hope to see my students do well and in general I hope to see everyone I know do well in school and go as far as me if not further I also had seen some struggles and hope that my advanced notice to students would help them not to face certain struggles I faced as an undergrad student 4 Please briefly summarize your presentation at Florida International Leadership 2013 entitled Keep It Simple Students How to Manage Your Responsibilities Why did you choose this topic This presentation topic selected for FILC 2013 was that of my co presenter from Tallahassee Community College TCC who had content that was closely relevant to my own idea as presented in ILW previously mentioned I was invited to co present on the topic which I was happy to do so This talk was an interactive session with some games that taught students about responsibilities students juggle in school and what the consequences of not being able to do so are This talk also encouraged students to be involved in extracurricular activities in a balanced way and provided some helpful tips for good time management practices in school 5 What are the challenges that you have encountered as a volunteer at medical camps and donation camps How did you address these challenges I was a volunteer at medical camps and donation camps in rural Kenya as an 8 to 16 year old kid with the Lions Club International of which my parents were members Some of challenges I have seen were mostly psychological or because of me over analyzing These challenges included me being quite young compared to other members at the camp as well as being an Indian somewhat not a local Kenyan African person who felt like I was seen as an outsider by the local people I guess the only way I could address these challenges were by being respectful and take advantage of my Swahili communication ability to interact with the villagers The major challenge I faced was keeping myself in check despite being so close to people who were ill and more so being able to see eye injections being given to patients at one of the eye camps which I can still picture The only way to do so was to keep faith in the doctors and the fact that they were trying to help these villagers Lastly it is always draining to see a world where innocent people are suffering and are less privileged that others for basic necessities like basic medicine the only thing I could look towards is that at least I contributed to making a difference and help in any way I could at that time 6 What are some of the causes that you are most passionate about How are your experiences in global engagement related to these causes I am particularly passionate about the environment health and education Coming from a country that has most of the African wildlife on the planet lions cheetahs elephants rhinos and more I am quite disappointed with the poaching of animals as well as the destruction of habitats around the world that affects our planet as a whole I therefore try and promote awareness about these issues through my GAP presentations and promote recycling and reduced resource usage in my personal life Human health and education are indeed other two critical causes that I care about a lot because of my observations in differences between various places I have lived in India Kenya Canada and the USA now I care about education and human health because they are so vital in the fight to alleviate other problems we face as a society Global engagement in different countries illustrated differences in education and health systems and how that affects life in general I have seen that variation in high school education significantly affects student performance in university level not only in the academic sense but in terms of their social skills and involvement as well as their aspirations and passions in life In places like India and Kenya children know what they want to do because of the difficulties they have encountered but do not always have the educational resources whereas so many students in Canada and America have all the resources they need but do not know what they really want to do for the rest of their life In my web of influence I put great efforts to teach my first year chemistry students and also motivate them to excel in their university career I also joined the TEDxFSU team to help educate the FSU community and spoke at two workshops ILW and FILC to get students to make the best of all they have here at university In the past I also participated in the Model United Nations program and have been a volunteer for various health related activities My academic career is also dedicated to improved healthcare solutions 7 You speak a number of different languages how has multi language competency influenced your view of the world I think that being able to speak several languages not only improves my knowledge of the world and appreciate its vastness and diversity but also makes me feel part of more of the world I am able to communicate with and makes me more human It also helps me acknowledge differences between people and better understand issues like accents that many people make fun of and also helps me understand those cultures more because languages sometimes describe emotions and feelings that another language cannot really express through translation especially songs 8 Tell us all about your TEDxFSU involvement http learningforlife fsu edu tedxfsu How was this a learning experience for you I joined the student run TEDxFSU Spring 2013 last fall as a volunteer to help organize the conference in March 2013 I was thrilled to be selected for this event as it is something highly relevant to engineers especially at least during my undergrad days and to be associated with an event that is non profit driven and aimed at spreading awareness through educating the FSU community Like I mentioned earlier as a teaching assistant I could not have been happier to help a cause aimed at informing FSU students about TEDxFSU and what it aims to do Our theme this year was Being Aware of Being and my involvement a learning experience as well included promotion of the event to recruit speakers for the theme and attendees to apply for the conference I also helped with the selection of the speakers and working as a team to generate ideas and improvise them during our 10 days of TED event in February to spread information about TEDxFSU on campus that included activities asking students what they were aware of what they wanted to do before they die and to also view some TED videos related to the theme at Dirac Library and the CGE I learnt a great deal through TEDxFSU including collaborating with a large team brainstorming ideas and making decisions I also learnt a lot about marketing our conference through social networks and personal networks during the 10 days of TED and developing salesmanship skills during the same time The conference speakers themselves provided a plethora of knowledge and taught me things that I had never thought of and showed me that there is so much good in this world that people are doing I was indeed quite honored to have this opportunity to serve under the TED banner 9 How can international experiences such as those promoted by the Center for Global Engagement CGE increase student engagement in community outreach and social justice on campus and beyond Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer I completely agree with the above quote and believe that international experience is indeed essential for increasing student engagement in community outreach and social justice locally and globally Through the exchange programs Beyond Borders program and special academic programs at CGE I think that FSU students have great opportunities to see the world and are quite fortunate to have such a supportive program setup by the CGE I know of students who thought they were going on a fun trip and have come back so touched that they have decided to come back to help communities where they first visited or have at least stepped up to present their experience and or start join student organizations trying to help a cause or raise awareness on campus There are also students I know who have decided to switch careers because of their experience and they have delved into teaching English or joined NGOs to help serve under served communities to the best extent they can I also feel many students of different countries of origin who now live in Florida develop a greater sense of pride and appreciation of the culture of their country of origin once they have visited their native country through exchange programs It is such programs that help students continue to pursue degrees in international affairs international law and advocacy as well as public health and social work for community development The CGE not only provides opportunities for international experiences but also helps students share that experience in the FSU community through programs such as the GAP English Conversation Club Coffee Hour International Bazaar and the International Education Week as well as support of the many student clubs representing different cultures 10 Some students may be unsure about what paths they want to take and the kinds of lives they want to lead How has your interest in international affairs and global engagement influenced who you are as a human being as well as your worldview and view of yourself I was lucky to have been able to live around the planet with choice in some cases and without choice in other cases with all the pros and cons associated I m still glad it all happened Regardless I think that my childhood exposure to geography and history through books like 500 Fantastic Facts by Anne McKie and another called The Great Book of Questions and Answers did indeed intrigue me with what exists in the world outside my home and what things that people are interested in The books were the first to get me interested in international affairs I know for sure that dinosaurs Egyptian pyramids American and Russian spacecrafts James Bond and boats in Venice all interested me and I felt like I should be an archeologist explorer astronaut and even James Bond in real life As an adult now I feel that my interest in global affairs and experience in various countries indeed have had subtle impacts on my behavior outlooks and philosophy For example because of the very fact that many people around the world do not get food every day I never waste food at home or at restaurants also because of my parents partially and encourage my friends to do the same When living in Kenya and India I ve seen electricity and water shortages and high prices at times forcing us to switch off any extra lights and use water carefully Despite living in Canada and USA where there are no water electricity problems I still do not waste resources because there is no need for it Living in Canada and USA has exposed me to a culture where many people are polite and either hold the door open elevator or are willing to help someone if he she is lost I feel that I have ingrained the same habits and I am more than happy to help someone out I felt that through my global experiences and knowledge I want to make a difference that s bigger than myself and hence I went into an engineering science field and I now focused on human health improvements At the same time meeting so many people has never always been all positive and all I could learn from them was not to be like them I have also learnt that there are great educational disparities around the world and education indeed is a big game changer to make this world a more cohesive and better place for everyone I could go on and on but to be more precise and concise being globally engaged and interested in global affairs has made me a better person one who is more proactive confident gratuitous altruistic accommodating and happy Through global engagement I have learnt that there are amazing and nice people who make a difference and have taught me many things that have only inspired me and improved my own personality I have also learnt that the world is an enormous complex place that is not that easy to improve all at once and hence I try my best to make the greatest impact I can even if it comes in small acts like teaching students and doing research Global experience has also shown me that I love various cuisines which is a big thing for a person who loves food 11 Some critics think that students should stick to work that relates only to their academic education In other words it is the not the business of higher education to teach students to be good citizens virtuous people or caring souls but rather knowledgeable and skillful in their fields How would you respond to these comments I do not agree with the critics about students sticking only to things related to their academic education This is simply because one has to work with people in any career anything that one does in life whether it s buying groceries or talking to a patient or a client and working with people requires one to learn to know how to do so interpersonal skills in order to survive advance and do well Secondly with a globalized society where one will interact with personnel from around the world students need to know how to respect other cultures and traditions that put different emphasis on interpersonal relationships and communication In order to be globally accepted students need to be good citizens virtuous people or caring souls traits that apply universally to all types of societies and careers that have people involved which is all of them I have seen people who might be outstanding in terms of book knowledge or skill in their field but their lack of having a greater cause or being close minded about need for soft skills people skills has indeed not got them quite far 12 Have you taken any ethics courses relating to science How important do you think ethical decision making is in your field Yes I have indeed In my undergraduate studies I took a very interesting Science and Values course History and Philosophy of Science departmental course that looked at how human values influence d science and vice versa More recently as part of being a graduate student who may work on a National Science Foundation funded project I was required to complete an ethics course related to graduate research practice I know that ethical decision making in my field is indeed quite important especially if we are talking about innovation that is intended to be used in humans 13 Who has influenced you most in your life Straight off the first two people are my mum and dad I am what I am because of them mainly They have ensured that I stay on the right track in terms of candy excess toys cheating etc without having to really scold me or maybe I was just a good kid Another influence they have had is not influencing me on what I want to do in life by suggesting careers not even jokingly they always told their friends that I ll become whatever I want to be and not a doctor because they are doctors My parents also worked hard to make sure I could get books I like and encouraged reading along with getting me into tennis computer and language Gujarati classes in elementary school Another important thing my dad did was to not tell me the meaning of words that I came across in books and the newspaper forcing me to get to the dictionary Dragging me to the bank and grocery plus vegetable market shopping with them now I realize has

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  • More Than Coursework: Graduate Students Who Lead and Serve - J. Margolis
    group it was difficult to obtain a clean estimate of its overall impact However there were a number of positive and negative features of its implementation that one could identify Upon visiting schools in São Paulo early in my stay I became more interested in the working conditions of teachers which differed dramatically from those in New York Teachers routinely worked in multiple schools with a much higher student load and a substantially higher fraction of hours spent in front of students At the end of my stay I presented my results at the Braudel Institute and the São Paulo State Department of Education which can be seen here if you understand Portuguese http braudel org br eventos seminarios 2010 0519 apresentacao jesse margolis pdf 3 You also have had work experience in Santiago Chile Describe your work in Chile I moved to Chile after three years of management consulting in Boston I wanted to do similarly challenging and exciting work but with more of a social mission That s exactly what I found After a few months of learning Spanish and doing volunteer research at a local university I was hired by the city of Puente Alto on the southern edge of Santiago to do a consulting project with the school system The 30 school system was operating well over budget and I was to benchmark the schools against each other and identify areas for potential cost savings The study was similar to those I had done as a business consultant in Boston but gave me my first contact with education After the four month study was completed several findings were implemented For example the school with the highest maintenance costs per student cut them in half by ending their contract with a cleaning company and hiring the same staff members as direct employees I then began work on a project to develop an incentive prograsm for school principals 4 How has your international experience informed your worldview and other life experiences I had always wanted to live internationally and I thoroughly enjoyed it One of the most interesting features was seeing the U S from the outside through reading foreign newspapers and talking with locals In Chile for example the U S is generally seen in a favorable light and I was warmly received by most people in the country This changed however for a couple of months in March 2003 after the U S invaded Iraq Nearly everyone in Chile was opposed to the war and once they heard where I was from they would take the opportunity to loudly share their opinion with me 5 How can international experience be valuable for young people in general I think it s hugely valuable to see one s own country from the outside since it gives a perspective that can t be seen from within the United States And with internet news one can still maintain the perspective somewhat even after moving back to the U S Moreover

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  • More Than Coursework: Graduate Students Who Lead and Serve - Stephanie Varnon-Hughes
    education play In public schools in St Louis and in the Bronx all of my classrooms were incredibly religiously diverse If for example Tiffany has a question about why some of her classmates wear headscarves it is neglectful of me as a classroom teacher to ignore that opportunity to talk about individual faith practices different religious traditions and social and political issues in the world Additionally there is too much bullying and conflict because of religious different teachers and students need language and methods to talk about religious difference and get information about religion that are factual respectful rigorous and inspiring Also all of us and all young people have interior lives When I taught English Language Arts and Performing Arts I noticed that these interior lives came alive when certain issues came up in the classroom issues of a character s death a painful or inspiring experience or history or overcoming great conflict I believe our different religious traditions including secular humanism which is why I use the term interior lives give us examples and ways to talk about these complicated and yet deeply compelling issues A good inter religious or multi religious course or method or framework would both give accurate respectful and inspiring information much needed in our increasingly diverse classrooms and communities as well as provide spaces and opportunities for inner reflection and learning from one another 5 How do you convince those who argue that religious education for public school and high education students should be only a private matter The issue of bullying and violence in schools and our neighborhoods makes it impossible for us to ignore issues of religious difference I am not interested in teaching my religion or a religion but I do think students teachers and families will benefit from having a means to learn and talk about religious difference and a way to negotiate potential challenges arising from difference 6 You are a playwright as well as one of the founding editors in chief of the Journal of Inter Religious Dialogue What events led you to both these roles and how has your involvement in journal writing and publishing and authoring plays influenced your interfaith studies activism and career focus Webster has a wonderful creative writing program I was incredibly blessed to have access to teachers who are both accomplished writers and great teachers I initially took playwriting because I was intrigued by the restriction of the format That is in playwriting one has only dialogue to convey the action setting conflict and movement of characters Using only dialogue to create and share entire worlds gave me practice thinking about motives fears and ambitions of people including what is said and unsaid Similarly seeing plays is often a numinous experience seated together in the dark for a tiny brief period of time we together see a world brought to life In watching live theater I have experienced great hope as well as emotional brutality I have been puzzled devastated nourished and inspired I m interested in my fellow human brothers and sisters and in all the ways we journey in this world Playwriting and theater give me one way to experience this I love writing and editing and I have sought always to find and hear unexpected voices Founding The Journal of Inter Religious Dialogue gave me the opportunity to work on a wide scale to find and amplify voices to start to help foster a new academic discipline and to model how we can listen to and learn from one another When I returned to teaching in the Bronx while editing the JIRD I came to an understanding that dialogue work was also needed in public school classrooms I am thrilled to be at Claremont Lincoln where I can continue my studies and pursue this work 7 The interfaith spirituality and New Atheist movements are gaining momentum on college campuses today How do you see your activism addressing students religious and spiritual needs including both theistic and non theistic perspectives I think my term interior lives points to a growing consideration among young people regarding their own growth and development We founded State of Formation specifically including those with double belongings as well as secular humanists atheists and agnostics because we understand that all of us are to some degree in formation Those on college campuses are in a unique kind of hothouse That is they have the impetus and luxury of space and community to encounter new ideas ponder them and explore their own natures It s important to be intentional about this to recognize factors that foster reflection and growth and to provide methods and programs that nurture students needs and inquiry From my work with State of Formation scholars I am learning that emerging leaders are indeed equipped to tackle the challenges of our time and the reflection they spend on their own spiritual lives is time and energy well spent 8 Do you think that persons who are much better at thinking writing and research and who primarily devote their time to publishing writing and speaking instead of organizing events and groups can be regarded as social activists Or does one type of work help to inform and enrich the other Should students prepare to do both as future activists I think people who are interested in others interested in building relationship and understanding and in including many possible voices in social endeavors these are the gifts of potential activists And every endeavor benefits from multiple talents and perspectives in my organization we are gifted to have some staff members who are excellent writers some who think hugely creative ideas some who are magnificent at outreach and bringing collaborations together and some who prefer to do research and help build the organization from within I don t think we d have had the success we ve experienced if it weren t for the variety of skills within our staff In short yes If you desire

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  • More Than Coursework: Graduate Students Who Lead and Serve - Daniel Tuzzeo
    practice although it certainly can be if one so desires Plenty of Christians Jews Muslims Hindus atheists and agnostics pagans and so on can and do practice Chan meditation without any religious or ideological conflict The most elementary goal of Chan meditation is to cultivate concentration and awareness with relaxation at its foundation This can be a spiritual exercise aiming for enlightenment or as simple as wanting to be more efficient and present in daily life Simply put a person who is both focused and aware can accomplish more faster and more effectively than a person who is scattered or overly focused to the point of losing sight of the larger picture So I think it s pretty clear that college students and people of all ages can benefit from the practice of relaxing and focusing the mind on the task at hand whatever it may be Homework and research are accomplished faster because you ve trained yourself not to be distracted by the external environment or wandering thoughts that arise in your mind Similarly even emotional instability and things like depression and OCD can be remedied by this same practice as you learn to treat these conditions as wandering thoughts not worth your attention You can be calm in difficult situations and not let stress overwhelm you actually taste and enjoy the food you eat and really listen to a person you re talking with So there are many this worldly benefits from Chan practice all of which are well suited for college students among other groups of people 3 The interfaith spirituality and New Atheist movements are gaining momentum on college campuses today Do you think colleges should address students religious and spiritual needs including both theistic and non theistic perspectives Why or why not I think that colleges and universities should offer equal resources for these kinds of organizations Of course it s going to come down to supply and demand but if there is an interested community on campus and a qualified teacher I hope that more programs space and resources for meditation practice will open up on college campuses 4 Does Dharma Drum Mountain have a service learning component similar to service learning programs in the US If so how is it similar and different to US programs This is one of the most interesting aspects of DDM s pedagogy view of education and its Buddhist College s pedagogy I see their curriculum as a blend of traditional Chinese education philosophy the Japanese model of sectarian Buddhist higher education and western style liberal education Instead of specific service projects like we have in the West DDM focuses on promoting self transformation through Chan practice framed in terms of environmental protection believing that because the self is interconnected to all of humanity the purification of the mind s environment will naturally extend to all other aspects of society such as family and work environments the natural environment and ultimately humanity as a whole Of course the

    Original URL path: https://characterclearinghouse.fsu.edu/index.php/readings/from-students/more-than-coursework/861-coursework-tuzzeo (2015-06-03)
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  • More Than Coursework: Graduate Students Who Lead and Serve - Mei-Yen Ireland
    community outcomes Fellow Students 3 The title of your master s thesis is Haikus in the Subway Understanding Student Meaning Making of an Alternative Spring Break Trip A What is the significance of your title to your research One of the participants in my research Zeya wrote an amazing poem in her reflection journal titled Haikus in the Subway In her poem Zeya illuminated the people we met sights we saw and the conflicting feelings she had as we went from one part of the city to another Her poem eloquently captured the dissonance students experienced during the trip The idea of haikus being written on the walls of the subway is a jarring image and reflects well the conflict and beauty students encountered B Briefly summarize your thesis topic For my master s thesis I conducted a constructivist case study investigating undergraduate students experiences on an Alternative Spring Break service learning trip and the meaning they made of their experience I was particularly curious to explore what students learned about themselves and others through their experiences and also how their social identities influenced their experiences Participants spoke about their disorientation in moving outside the bubble of campus life They built connections with their peers and community members which allowed them to personalize their learning about social issues Some participants confronted thinking about race for the first time Others were challenged by the realization that racial identity influenced differences in viewpoints Finally participants struggled to reintegrate into their communities upon returning from the trip and grappled with how to convey their experiences to others 4 What have you found as the most challenging part of your job as coordinator for Leadership Community Service Learning at the University of Maryland During my time as Coordinator for Leadership Community Service Learning I struggled greatly with the question is any type of service learning better than no service learning at all With an increasing push towards defining success through quantitative numbers number of student participants number of community partners number of trees planted number of books read etc there is a danger that educators will compromise quality for quantity If we are okay with any type of service learning then we will risk losing some of the most important outcomes of service learning building sustainable relationships with community partners that result in meaningful outcomes for the community and student learning Many student groups I met with wanted to coordinate peanut butter and jelly sandwich service projects When I asked if they had contacted any local organizations to see if they wanted the sandwiches many of the students said no but they were sure the organizations would accept anything they gave them I often asked myself as I tried to work with students to find a community identified project that met their criteria should I just let them do what they want because at least their intentions are good But we should not let ourselves or our students off the hook by thinking that

    Original URL path: https://characterclearinghouse.fsu.edu/index.php/readings/from-students/more-than-coursework/743-coursework-ireland (2015-06-03)
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