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We are nearing the end of the school year and it is that time of the year for student presentations! Presentations are frequently a class requirement as we use them to assess the knowledge and skills of our students as well as to showcase the talents of our students! :}
On June 1st I was supposed to be in two places at once to see presentations from two groups of students - one was the Albers Undergraduate Leadership Program in Pigott 202 and the other was the International Development Internship Program (IDIP) TED-like presentation in Student Center 130. What to do? I split the difference!
I went to the undergraduate leadership program presentations first. The students are charged with identifying an issue on campus and coming up with a solution. The four projects that were identified were finding more opportunities for community service, improved communication about Albers club opportunities, unspent money on the campus meal plan, and dorm safety. It listed to the presentations on the first two issues.
The first group presented its project, Simple Service. It was a lunchtime event in the Student Center encouraging students to pursue service activities, and the students were pleased with the response they received. Over 120 students stopped by to engage in the four activities, which included answering questions to fund rice donations, participating a food and clothing drive, signing up to work with one of three service-focused service clubs (ENACTUS, Just Serve, and Rotoract), or writing a letter to a soldier serving overseas. The students did a fine job explaining the project and what they learned in the process. Their learnings included some things that deans learn, such as lots of people don't respond to an email message! :}
The second group did a project around improving communication from Albers student organizations. They noted that in the beginning of the academic year, the school did a good job of getting information out about clubs, but for many students that is not a good time to absorb that information. How do they get this information later in the school year when they can act on it? The group first set about making suggestions for improving the Albers School website so that information about our clubs is more accessible and up to date. I am happy to say we were smart enough to immediately make those changes! :}
Second, the club wanted to establish a bulletin board in the PACCAR Atrium to provide a convenient and efficient spot for Albers club information. That is still a work in progress as they still need to identify the write space for this. Stay tuned! I have no doubt this group will finish this off!
After witnessing these two great presentations, I made the assumption that the remaining two would be equally good, and headed for the Student Center to check on the IDIP TED talks. There were 14 talks scheduled beginning at 6:00 PM. By the time I arrived they were at talk number three. I listened to that one, as well as the next three, two of them by Albers students Sofiya Kostareva and Juliet Le.
Sofiya's talk was about her experience in Thailand, where she worked for an NGO protecting elephants. She contrasted the opportunities she had as a college student in the US with the much more limited opportunities her friends in Thailand had, concluding that she was living a dream that someone else had, meaning that someone else was living the dream she had, so we should all pursue our dreams. During her presentation I could not help but think that the opportunities today's students have far exceed those in my generation. There was no IDIP when I was an undergrad (and of course, there is no IDIP on any other campus that we are aware of!)! IDIP is a great opportunity for SU students!
Juliet's presentation was based on her visit to Vietnam where she worked at a health research NGO. She talked about the importance of meeting new people and gave examples of three women she met in Vietnam. Each was an important part of her IDIP experience, and she encouraged everyone to reach out to the seven billion strangers that are out there.
The four IDIP presentations were all well done and all very different. In any event, they were a great showcase for our talented SU students. Welcome to Presentation Season!
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For students like Sofiya desiring to have a working or studying experience in Thailand it will be really worth checking the Thai Schools Directory (www.sataban.com) which offers an access to all the scholarships for international students (this year's scholarships are mostly closed though, but will reopen in February/March 2016) as well as job vacancies in Thai Universities and schools.
This is a very good tool to have a look and check the ambiance prior to base a presentation on a future visit to Thailand...