This autumn quarter, UW students are engaging with global issues through courses in a wide variety of fields.
One course, Information Assurance and Cyber Security, is a tri-campus, multi-disciplinary effort involving UW Bothell’s Computing and Software Systems Program, the Information School and UW Tacoma’s Institute of Technology. The Criminalization of Immigration course at UW Tacoma digs into global issues from a social science perspective. The School of Environmental and Marine Affairs will take students out of the classroom for a new field course that studies the challenges of governing coastal and marine areas in the 21st century.
Carlos Escutia is just one of many undocumented students entering UW and other universities this autumn with the support of the Dream Act. KPLU tells the story of Carlos’ passionate pursuit of a UW education.
For the first time, golf fans will watch a Husky athlete compete at the Open Championship in Holyoke, England. Representing UW at this week’s tournament is Cheng-Tsung Pan, a senior communications major from Taiwan.
College of Arts & Sciences Dean’s Medalist Jueqian Fang showed promise in the sciences during high school in China. However, she came to UW ready to explore new pathways. Drawn to the arts, Jueqian went on to double major, earning degrees in photomedia in the School of Art + Art History + Design and cinema studies in the Department of Comparative Literature.
While at UW Jueqian has displayed her artwork at exhibitions on campus as well as in a juried art show in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. She was selected as a Dean’s Medalist on the basis of academic performance and faculty recommendations.
English literature major Shangé Purnell was chosen for the honor of carrying the Arts & Sciences college banner at this weekend’s graduation. Study abroad played an important part her Husky Experience and helped develop her exciting future goals.
Shangé plans to earn a doctorate in English literature and teach at the college level. Through this work, she wants to help increase diversity in published literary works. She says, “the highbrow elite have set what is highbrow literature – Shakespeare and other mostly white European authors. We’re starting to get more diversity, but it’s still very narrow, it’s still a Eurocentric perspective. I realize that being a U.S. citizen I have been conditioned to have a Eurocentric view, but I’d like to give view to the people of color in this world.”
Beyond serving as an officer in the Black Student Union and as a member of the Students for Diversity Coalition, Shangé also sought new perspectives and leadership experience through international learning. Her experiences studying abroad in the United Kingdom and Ghana with UW faculty-led programs were important in developing her goals and provided new insight into diversity issues. Particularly while in Ghana, where she tutored school-aged children, Shangé tried to see world through fresh eyes. “We tried to look at it from not just a Western perspective,” she says.
Scholarships from UW Global Opportunities supported Shangé’s study abroad experiences. She received the GO! Scholarship for her trip to the United Kingdom, and the Fritz Scholarship for the next summer’s program in Ghana.
Presenting at last week’s Global Honors Spring Colloquium, Noelle Gichohi started by thanking her mentors and supporters. “I stood in front of the audience and said, ‘I grew up in a village in Kenya, and it took a village to get me here’”. Her ‘colloquium village’ included UW Tacoma professors and librarians, a Highline Community College professor, fellow students and family.
For Noelle and 12 other graduating seniors in UW Tacoma’s Global Honors program, the colloquium was a chance to share and reflect on their capstone research projects. They will now apply their learning as community leaders heading toward jobs and graduate school.
The students presented before audiences of 40 to 60 faculty, staff, community members and fellow students. Diverse in terms of discipline and geography, their projects exemplify UW Tacoma’s emphasis on student-led, use-inspired research.
Inspired by her work with State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Williams during a Legislative Internship, Kristie Weisert’s thesis examines sex trafficking in the U.S. and India. Human trafficking is a pressing issue locally and internationally, and Kristie pointed out Washington state’s efforts to address the problem through new legislation.
Brandon Napenias Oreiro’s research project explores the development of Filipino American identity in the context of a globalized culture. A leader in UW Tacoma’s Filipino American Student Association, Brandon paired his research findings with examples of the group’s efforts to create a sense of identity and community on campus and in the region.
Noelle Gichohi’s research project was inspired by her study abroad to Italy. “We were studying preschools, and I saw that [Italian schools] had kitchens right next to the classrooms and served the kids three-course meals on real plates. It was totally different from the U.S., where my kids went to preschool, and Kenya, where I grew up.”
She began thinking about how place influences the food children are served at school, and how parents’ perceive the healthfulness of school meals. For her thesis, Noelle surveyed Kenyan and U.S. parents about their children’s school meals, and their perceptions of the meals.
“Carrying out a research project and presenting at the colloquium “was enriching for me personally and as a scholar,” Noelle reflects. The experience gave her new confidence about her ideas and ability to communicate. “I won’t be afraid to stand up and give my opinion in the workplace,” she says, “I’ll think, ‘I’ve done Global Honors, I can do anything.’”
During his remarks at the colloquium, UW Tacoma Chancellor Kenyon Chan underscored the local relevance of the students’ research and the urgency of the issues addressed. Echoing Noelle Gichohi’s recognition of her village, Chancellor Chan also emphasized the students’ important roles as leaders – locally and globally.
This Friday, undergraduate researchers, faculty mentors and community members will converge in Mary Gates Hall for the 17th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. Over 1,000 undergraduates will present their research work at the event, and many of their projects address pressing global issues.
Here are four exciting examples of globally-relevant undergraduate research projects:
Through the unique medium of students’ letters to Things, Ideas and People (TIPS), the book “offers a simple method to help travelers- students and tourists alike- reflect on how moving from one culture to another sparks questions about identity, society and the meaning of travel itself.”
Professor Taranath’s unique approach to teaching abroad integrates on-campus classroom learning with international immersion. Students participate in quarter-long seminars on campus before and after the study abroad to allow time for in-depth preparation for and reflection on the experience. TIPS to Study Abroad is the culmination of the group’s experience and learning.
Community members are welcome at the book launch party at 7pm on Monday, May 12. The event will be held at University Temple.