Archive for November, 2010

A new message from Stephanie Harman (BS01) on her educational trip to the Galapagos Islands…

Hola de Quito!!!

I am finally in a place where internet works!!!  There are lots of new blogs to look at, including some really cool snorkeling video!  I can’t wait to get back and share all of the cool things I have learned on this life changing trip!  Tomorrow I head to Bellavista cloud forest to see orchids, hummingbirds and butterflies!!  Sooooooo much to tell.


Check out her vlog here.

What are Global GOLD stories? Raw, adventurous, and timely. They are related to the ways our alumni make an impact related to global social, cultural, political and environmental causes and concerns. The views presented are representative of the author only and not the Office for Alumni Relations. Share your Global GOLD story, contact Dan Mathis at dmathis@emich.edu.

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Emily Vincent, 26, recently graduated from law school cum laude this past May from Case Western Reverse University School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio.  Emily completed her undergrad in April 2007 from EMU with a Bachelor of Science in political science and written communication with a concentration in professional writing.  During her studies at EMU, Emily shined academically by graduating with double honors from the Honors College.

On Nov. 8 she was sworn in as an attorney after passing the Ohio Bar Exam this past July. Emily spent months preparing for the exam that consisted of essays and multiple choice questions.  She will begin her new job as an attorney in late November with a law firm in Dayton, Ohio.

Eastern gave Emily the right tools and higher education she needed to make the next step in her academic career.

“The topics and cases discussed by professors in the Political Science Department were some of the same that I would review in law school, said Emily.  “And, the concepts I learned in my Professional Writing classes allowed me to transition easily into the formatted writing of the legal world.”

Emily wouldn’t say law school is just a three year breeze.  The school work and challenges she has faced were the toughest yet, both personally and academically.  She would suggest to those students wanting to pursue a law degree, that you must know what you’re getting into and be sure it is what you want.  Also, never be discouraged if you get a rejection letter.

“The legal market is very scary right now, said Emily.  “It can be frustrating, but just keep applying and trying to make connections in your profession.”

As a student, getting involved in student organizations and having internships on your plate will only help you in the long run.  Emily says it shows that you are a well-rounded individual.  It shows motivation, dedication, you are able to multi-task and manage your time while receiving an education.

Going into interviews Emily’s advice is to always prepare beforehand, relax and be yourself during the interview, ask questions and write a thank you note afterwards.

“A driven attitude, respect and professionalism towards others and those in his/her field is what will make you stand out,” said Emily.

“Whenever I’m asked by someone how I liked going to school at Eastern, my first automatic response to them is that “I loved it.” No other way to say it, it’s true.”

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New perspectives for GOLD…

Written by: Dan Mathis (GOLD guy in the Office for Alumni Relations)

Big weekend for the Alumni Association. On Saturday, we have the Alumni Association Board meeting, the first ever GOLD Council meeting, and our event at the Toledo Zoo. I personally have to express my excitement for the GOLD Council meeting. This first “meeting of the minds” features some incredible graduates from throughout the 2000’s.

It’s just the beginning. For the first time, recent graduates will plan ways to outreach to other graduates. The framework is continuous improvement – yes, not unlike the University’s accreditation process – and is incredibly dorky. But, it forces the group to continuously think about how they will make an impact – and measure their impact.

I will share photos and ideas from this Saturday – both the GOLD Council meeting and Toledo Zoo. Look out for them next week!




Random points for the evening:

The Alumni Association is free. Many people are aware that they are automatically a member of the EMU Alumni Association. But, did you know that you need to request your membership packet?

The EMU Foundation has a really interesting, new website with profiles of current students and information about some of your favorite professors. I personally enjoy the “ticker” which tracks the gifts to the Invest.Inspire Campaign. Give a gift… try it out… and watch the quest for $50 million to support scholarships and other efforts increase.

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This is the fourth entry to the Global GOLD series written by Jon Maravelias (BS10). Jon is the Office Manager for a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) called NaDeet based in Namibia, Africa.  In this post, Jon shares another adventure – this time involving the hunt of an oryx in the desert! Read the vivid account below.

The story below is a graphic account of Jon’s experience. The viewpoints expressed are those of the author alone and not the Office for Alumni Relations.

Everything has its price in the desert–a phrase that repeated over and over in my mind as we sped through the dunes at 120km/hr. My roommate, Daniel and I gripped the gate of the bakkie with tension and gave out whooping war cries. We had the taste of blood in our mouths, and like a Viking ship approaching the Americas, we punched through the desert looking for the oryx to slaughter.

About ten minutes before this I was just finally lying down after a severe delirium laden week at the Centre, dealing with forty 14-year-olds and then paying a visit to the back-alley doctor who removed my nail. I was at a graceful stumble before I fell into bed and sank my head into the pillow with a smile. I was going to sleep the weekend away until I heard a desperate knock at my door. Andreas barged in – “So you said you wanted to go on a hunt, right? Well we got a call, so be ready in 5 minutes because we’re going to take out an oryx.” I learned later that this call had come from a nearby farmer just outside of the nature reserve. Once a year, he will make a kill and donate the meat to our Centre, but this time he actually wanted us to do the dirty work.

When we arrived at the farm, it wasn’t hard to find the oryx since there was a “gaggle” (a “group”; a “gang”?) of huge vultures sitting in a circle, seemingly discussing or even placing bets on how long that guy stumbling around by himself is going to last in this desert. It was truly a sick display of character in an animal and I felt a certain familiar disgust with these creatures–maybe because my subconscious was flicking through all of the human beings that acted the same way, possibly even myself more often than not. Anyway, the vultures showed us our man and indeed, he wasn’t hard to spot. He was alone and he looked worried. When he tried to run from the car, he would stumble every few meters and had to unavoidably sit down. I determined later from his informal autopsy that he had been in a fight with another oryx and its horn had pierced through his upper thigh, shattering the bone.

So we drove to the farmer’s house, which was like a small kingdom in the desert dawned with solar panels, windmills, and expensive vehicles. The farmer himself was an older man in his early sixties, tall, gangly, serious, and he only spoke Afrikaans. He seemed like any American middle class worker, possibly a mechanic, but out here he could be a monarch–for a price. Two other guys came with us too, they were Nama workers and they wore the typical teal jumpsuits. They didn’t know any English either and my tongue clicks (this is part of their language) are still very embarrassing, so it made for a very awkward ride. As I watched them sharpening their knives, licking their lips and waiting for the blood to spill, I couldn’t help but think of a scene where two people are trapped in a cabin together after an avalanche. After a few days, they start to become wildly paranoid and wonder when they are planning to kill you. This weird energy was made worse when I noticed that one of the men rested his blade on the nub of his missing pointer finger.

How in the world did I get to this point!? Three years ago I wondered if I’d ever walk again; two years ago I wondered if I’d ever finish school, and if so, with a degree in what; one year ago, I began working on my honors thesis in Anthropology after I travelled to Switzerland, Italy, and Greece on a study abroad tour through Eastern. And now, somehow, I’m in the middle of a desert–the desert to be exact because you’ll rarely find any more ancient archeological and geological discoveries that are so well-preserved by this freak of an ecosystem, which is why sustainable development is such a big deal here. If indeed climate change is true, then the insane biodiversity in places like the Namib Desert will be lost.

What? Right. So, we pick up the wrecking crew and drive out into the farm after this beast. I was trying to convince Andreas to let me take the wheel so that we could really impress these fools with a one-shot drive-by, but he was quiet. This was a serious matter for him–killing another animal. It was to be done respectfully, honestly, and with a small amount of guilt.

The first shot cracked from the rifle and the bullet pierced the oryx’s neck. Blood spilled, but it was the wrong spot and he started running frantically now. We had to get back in the car and go get him. Andreas was very disappointed in himself, I could tell. This was supposed to be as routine as depositing a check, but now it felt like culling. We drove up next to the stumbling oryx until he tripped and fell. He didn’t bother after that point, so Andreas quickly got out of the car and put a bullet in his head.

We all observed the animal for awhile. I touched his belly, still warm; his nose, still wet; and his horns, still just as fierce. We lifted him into the truck and I had to stand in his blood. The slaughtering was a strange balance between human precision and bestial hunger. I’ll admit that I didn’t do much except sweep the blood into the drain and observe its various organs, occasionally unraveling the large intestine to see if he had any signs of bowel distress. “Looks healthy,” I muttered, only to get strange shifty glances from the farmer who couldn’t quite piece together what the hell I was doing. I wasn’t about to tell him my intentions, either.

There was a big celebration when we arrived back seven hours later. All of the Nama women gathered together in the kitchen to cut the meat while I weighed it all in 2kg packs. By the time we finished, it was about 10pm and our solar powered freezer was working overtime to keep this meat cool. Over the next two nights, we celebrated with a braii (translation: BBQ), Namibian music, and plenty of dry wine.

What are Global GOLD stories? Raw, adventurous, and timely. They are related to the ways our alumni (and students connected to the Alumni Association) make an impact related to global social, cultural, political and environmental causes and concerns. The views presented are representative of the author only and not the Office for Alumni Relations.

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Stephanie Harman (BS01) offers a Global GOLD entry discussing her upcoming trip to the Galapagos Islands. Stephanie received her degree in the “Elementary Science Group.”

What are Global GOLD stories? Raw, adventurous, and timely. They are related to the ways our alumni make an impact related to global social, cultural, political and environmental causes and concerns. The views presented are representative of the author only and not the Office for Alumni Relations.

Stephanie Harman (BS01) travels to the Galapagos Islands to learn and share her knowledge with middle school students.

Hi! My name is Stephanie Harman and I am a graduate of Eastern  Michigan University (2001).  I teach 7th and 8th grade science at Maumee Valley Country Day School. Established in 1884, Maumee Valley Country Day School, located in Toledo, Ohio, is an independent school serving over 450 students from preschool through Grade 12.  Maumee Valley’s mission is to enable students to become enlightened, compassionate and contributing citizens of our global community, while preparing graduates for their best opportunities in higher education.  I have been teaching Middle School science at Maumee Valley since 2007.

This summer I was selected for the Toyota International Teacher Program to the Galapagos Islands, which travels November 20th thru December 4th.  It is a huge honor to be chosen as one of only 24 teachers selected in the entire United States.  I have built my teaching career around inquiry-based science education and feel that this opportunity combines my passion for hands-on learning with my dedication to conservation, sustainability and environmental issues. Furthermore, I am always encouraging my students to dream big, be adventurous and do great things.  So, this is an opportunity for me to further my scientific education through a field experience as well as to reach a personal goal by being able to practice what I preach, act as a role model and inspire the next generation of environmental activists.

As a science educator and inhabitant of the Great Lakes Region, the Galapagos Islands are of huge interest to me.  These two regions draw many parallels in terms of their environmental issues due to the introduction of invasive species.  For that reason, I have posed many questions related to this fragile environment:  How much longer do the endemic species of the Galapagos have before becoming extinct? What role do invasive species play in the Galapagos’ ecosystem?  What is my personal responsibility in the decline of the Galapagos ecosystem? How can what I learn in the Galapagos relate to areas within my own country such as the Great Lakes Region? The Toyota International Teachers Program to the Galapagos Islands is the perfect chance for me to grow as an educator and a scientist by allowing me to answer some of these questions through investigation.

My teaching goals for this travel experience are: to connect my students to those in The Galapagos, to explore a common issue facing both of our regions and to create a lasting impression on the “global tourists” my students become.

I would love for you to follow my adventure through this blog. I will be posting vblogs for the two-week trip to be able to interact with my students. Sharing my experience with you will hopefully inspire future educators at Eastern Michigan University.

Share your Global GOLD story, contact Dan Mathis at dmathis@emich.edu.

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Today I wanted to talk about my internship experience thus far!

Before this internship, I didn’t know much about the Alumni Association, GOLD or SOAR.  I didn’t even know where the Alumni Office was located.

In case some of you don’t know, we’re the black cube on Huron Street across from McDonald’s where I eat almost everyday! LOL

Interning with the Alumni Relations office has been an AMAZING experience and I’m so sad to be leaving soon.  I have seriously learned so much about myself and my capabilities.  Everyone in this office has contributed in some way.

I want to personally thank DAN for guiding me through this whole journey.  Without him this experience wouldn’t have been possible.  His words of encouragement and his upbeat personailty to drive me to reach my fullest potential is what I appreciate most about him.  {I’m getting a little teary eyed :(}

Interning at the office and with SOAR has given me the opportunity to experience real-life professional situations.  I had the opportunity to take an idea of mine and expand it to something HUGE!  I am talking about the Career Development Workshop I’ve been planning for months!  We all will finally see it come to life on Tuesday, Nov. 30 in the Student Center.

For those who may not know, the Alumni Association is completely FREE!  Many things in life aren’t free so I suggest MANY of you take complete advantage of this opportunity.  So much goes on with the Alumni Assocation, GOLD Council, GOLD and SOAR.  Everyone can contribute and be apart of something that is so life changing.

Let’s all continue to show pride for our University.  If you’re an alum of Eastern, sign up TODAY!

Contact Dan Mathis at dmathis@emich.edu

Yours Truly,

Katrell Elina–the NEWBIE!

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