Monthly Archives: August 2013

Mentoring young debaters

An update from Anthony, a senior majoring in political science and communication studies: Throughout my time at SMU, I have been very involved in the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance (DUDA). DUDA is a nonprofit organization that sets up debate programs at schools in lower-income areas in Dallas ISD. The organization gives debate coaches the tools they need to run a successful debate program, while also giving college debate students an opportunity to help coach the students of these schools. DUDA is needed because many schools have well-established and well-funded programs that many lower-income schools cannot compete with. The organization hosts tournaments between the DUDA schools so the students will be able to compete with other students at their level. Once [...]

2013-09-05T18:54:40+00:00 August 13th, 2013|Service House at SMU|

Working to end human trafficking

An update from Jessica, who graduated with a degree in human rights in May: During spring 2013, I completed the vast majority of my service hours at Mosaic Family Services. It’s a domestic violence and human trafficking shelter for women and children. I came to volunteer at the shelter through Dr. Halperin’s Human Rights class, where it is required that we do 20 hours of community service. I chose to volunteer at Mosaic because I am interested in working in women and children’s issues, in particular human trafficking with an emphasis on child sex trafficking. I came to learn about these issues my freshman year of high school when I read a book about the horrors of child sex trafficking. [...]

2013-09-05T18:56:49+00:00 August 13th, 2013|Service House at SMU|

Communicating across cultures

An update from Lisa, a junior studying elementary education: During spring 2013 I spent a lot of time in SMU's English as a Second Language class communicating with students whose first language is not English. I volunteered in two classes. One class was for learning pronunciation and one was for practicing communication skills. I met students from China, North Korea, Thailand, and Ukraine. In the pronunciation class, I learned about the phonetic alphabet. This alphabet enables the teacher to show the students how to pronounce certain English words without knowing their native language. Because I am a native English speaker, I had taken for granted how easy pronunciation of the English language was for me. After watching the students who had not [...]

2013-09-05T19:06:09+00:00 August 13th, 2013|Service House at SMU|

Growing a community

An update from Camille, a senior majoring in dance performance: It’s amazing how community service really does grow a community of both the people serving together and those who are being served. The more I serve alongside my fellow SMUSHies, the more I get to know them, respect them, and appreciate their ambitions. I found that people really do enjoy serving others when they take the initiative to take care of others' needs even at their own inconvenience. Through living with others who cheerfully serve other people, the positive energy and kind hearts of my fellow SMUSHies make me want to be a better person, serve, and grow in community with them more. This is the best way to bond [...]

2013-09-05T19:06:33+00:00 August 13th, 2013|Service House at SMU|

Advice for high schoolers

An update from Jennifer, who earned a degree in electrical engineering in May: 2012-13 was a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs. I have met some of the most amazing and inspiring people while living in the Service House as well as outside the house through my volunteer work. My schedule as a senior electrical engineer was kind of crazy, but I somehow managed to make time for what was important to me, service. I really enjoyed volunteering at Woodrow Wilson High School. I wish that more engineers had lived in the house so that we could go as a group to tutor STEM projects once a week after school. The kids literally idolize college students and are just full [...]

2013-09-05T19:09:52+00:00 August 13th, 2013|Service House at SMU|

To be heard and understood

An update from Essette, who earned a degree in human rights in May: Living in the Service House has helped reinforce my commitment to community service because I’m constantly surrounded by people who have a drive to help others. When you are with people who desire to impact the world, it inspires your own dreams of making a difference, even in the smallest of ways. I’ve loved hearing about all of my housemates’ experiences; their passion for service is both moving and admirable. During the spring 2013 semester, I spent a lot of time volunteering at a Dallas nursing home. While I initially assumed that this would not be the most exciting of services, after the first day I knew [...]

2013-09-05T19:15:27+00:00 August 13th, 2013|Service House at SMU|

Biking in Berlin

At the Brandenburg Gate On the first day of summer school I was sitting in my classroom in Oxford, half a world away from home in St. Louis, Missouri. Before getting into our material on European diplomacy, my professor made a point to recommend visiting Berlin. Heeding his advice, a few friends and I would embark on an adventure there a few weeks later. Aside from historical implications of Germany, such as Bismarck's unification and the more sinister era under the Nazi regime, I knew little about Germany, and even less about Berlin. The major reference in my mind was when Indiana Jones says to his father, "We have half the German army on our tail and you want me [...]

2013-08-09T21:31:26+00:00 August 9th, 2013|Monica in Oxford|

Challenges, but an incredible journey

This last week in India has proved to be by far the hardest week I can remember having in a long time, if not ever. This can probably be attributed to a few things. For starters, all of the Leave UR Mark interns traveled to Ooty, Tamil Nadu, for my last weekend trip. It is an absolutely gorgeous area in the mountains with tea plantations and the highest peak in southern India. However, on Sunday, despite choosing a restaurant that appeared nice, everyone came down with food poisoning. On the 6-hour bus ride back to Bangalore, I was the first to fall, shortly followed by 7 other interns. One girl had it worse than the rest of us, and we [...]

2013-08-06T18:21:16+00:00 August 6th, 2013|Elizabeth in India|

Exploring Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca As I sat at the lunch table in the tiny adobe home of an indigenous family on the Island of Amantaní on Lake Titicaca, I had an internal conversation with myself as to whether I should eat the purple potatoes sitting on the plate in front of me. Digestive issues are common for foreigners in Peru. and these potatoes still seemed to have dirt on them. Although the house where I would spend one night was technically a “certified hostel” for tourists visiting the lake, the thought of possibly digesting parasites or other bacteria that would make me sick was a difficult thought to face. I also took into consideration that this would be the only [...]

2013-08-05T19:56:35+00:00 August 5th, 2013|Danielle in Peru|

Behind the scenes at the National Museum of American History

Curator Katherine Ott explains pieces from the National Museum of American History collections. Photo by Diana Bossa, Smithsonian Latino Center. This month I’m getting a true behind-the-scenes experience at the National Museum of American History (NMAH). In the last month of the Latino Museum Studies Program, I am getting acquainted with work in Latino Studies by working in a Smithsonian museum. The NMAH is part of a large institution (The Smithsonian Institution), is a very large museum with many divisions, and is currently undergoing a major renovation. I have been going to staff meetings, learning about (and looking through!) collections and archives, and working with my practicum leader to get some understanding of how this large and complex museum works. [...]

2013-08-05T19:44:16+00:00 August 5th, 2013|Jessica in Washington, D.C.|
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