Hello! Welcome to my ePortfolio, where you can find out about my academic vision, my professional experiences, and the moments that have shaped and influenced my learning. I hope that this site proves to be a though-provoking page as you read about the notable marks in my learning and my critical reflections on the experience of acquired and using knowledge in class and beyond.
In the spring of my senior year in high school, I was given the opportunity to sing at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City with my advanced choir group, Select Treble. My choir and I were able to sing with so many other choirs from different schools around the country (and even Canada!). Even if we didn’t know each other, song was able to unify us in a matter of days as we performed for each other and with each other. Not only was I able to witness the unity that music can bring, but my friends and I were able to go to the Broadway production of Anastasia, visit the Lincoln center, the 9/11 memorial, and the One World Observatory tower. All in all, I loved being able to visit New York, a city teeming with life and energy. Most of all, I loved being able to sing with my friends about meaningful, unifying topics.
For the past six years, I have attended a summer camp in Virginia. This week at camp was often one of the highlights of my year. I’ve made some of my closest friends at this camp where we play sports between teams, participate in group-building activities, sing hymns at campfire, and hold impactful devotions. This is a Christian-centered camp and my faith is always strengthened by the examples of the counselors and my friends around me. For a whole week we are able to laugh together, talk together, and share some of the most meaningful discussions about our faith in God and in the bigger and eternal sense of the word life. The lessons I have learned here have really been able to uphold me through difficult situations as I remember that I have life-long friends who are always there for me and a God who loves so perfectly and who is bigger than any struggle I may face on earth.
In the summer of 2019, my family and I took a trip to Guadeloupe, an island in the French Caribbean. I had actually studied this island in my International Baccalaureate French class in high school because Guadeloupe is actually part of France! It was amazing to experience the amazing culture that I had read about and watched videos on. The people of Guadeloupe are from Latin American, Indian, African, and European descent. This mix of culture was evident in the island’s lively colors, music, and food. The primary languages of the island are French and Creole (which is a combination of language from the aforementioned cultural groups). Not only is the island beautiful (I was able to witness the most beautiful sunset at the Grand Anse beach), but so is the people’s vitality and expression of life. I am of mixed descent, which has always been a unique thing in the United States. Yet, in Guadeloupe, that is the normal. Mixed ancestry is celebrated as the beautiful union of different cultures; it is a normal thing to talk about and used as a way to get to know others, as evidenced by a local artisan asking my sisters and I about our mixed descent (which is African and Italian). So, I would love to return to Guadeloupe–and their oh-so-amazing plantain chips!
I received my International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma after having successfully completed the rigorous and globally-versed IB program in high school. The IB program allows students to take classes with college-level material and has a heavy focus on writing and critical thinking. I was able to learn different subjects through an international perspective. For example, in my senior year of high school, I took a course called IB Topics and studied topics of history from Mexico, India, South Africa, Germany, the Soviet Union, and the United States. The IB program also requires the Extended Essay, a 4000-word paper on a student’s topic of choice. I decided to write about the history of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Writing this paper gave me prior experience for college as I had already been able to dive into writing an in-depth and lengthy essay.
Dr. Christianna Leahy, head of the Political Science department at McDaniel, gave me the opportunity to be the assistant for her Introduction to Political Science course during the spring of my first year. This position entailed hosting review sessions for students on days leading up to the course exam, one-on-one tutoring, and answering any questions which students had about the course. I was able to work with a group of students in understanding difficult concepts and individually help students achieve their goals for the course. I learned so much about how to effectively explain concepts and how to encourage students by helping them identify the tools they can use to study for content-heavy material.
As a first year, I was able to participate with McDaniel’s Model United Nations team. I represented the Human Rights Council and was thus in charge of understanding the human rights topics which would be discussed with other Member states at the upcoming conference in New York. Even though the conference was cancelled due to prevention measures for the spread of COVID-19, I learned so much about the struggles which Afghanistan faces on the human rights front and the ways that international organizations approach these issues. The topics for this year were: The Right of Privacy in the Digital Age, Combating Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, and Business and Human Rights. I developed multiple presentations throughout the first portion of Model UN and wrote a position paper that outlined issues like the lack of web security on the Afghan web, ethnically-inclined violence, and the plight of women, the disabled, and children in the labor sector. Below I have linked both my position paper and the Powerpoint for my presentation on the topics set before the Human Rights Council for 2020.
When I was a junior in high school I competed in an oratory event where participants were asked to describe their roots of optimism. I won first place with my speech about how the love I have experienced through my family and my faith is the root of any hope I have for the present and future. My speech took place in front of a panel of judges, as well as an audience. I spoke my four-minute speech from memory and confronted any fears I had about speaking to a live audience. I moved on to the second round of the competition with an even larger audience and another panel of judges. I feel that my speech was able to spread positivity and hope; it helped me discover the origin of any optimism I have within me and helped me learn how to talk to an audience in an engaging and captivating way. My speech is linked here:
My Introduction to Political Science course allowed me to launch into an intensive analysis of the recent state and federal lawsuits that have been filed against major pharmaceutical companies such as Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson in rapport to these companies being the primary drivers of America’s opioid epidemic. My exploration of the topic opened my eyes to the manipulative ways which opioid manufacturers infiltrated clinics and official health organizations with deceptive marketing about opioids. Physicians were prompted to singularly focus on a patient’s pain and to use opioids like OxyContin to alleviate all signs of pain, but the staggering truth about the rate of addiction of these drugs was completely lied about. Today, these pharmaceutical companies are being charged billions for their deceptive practices and are finally being forced to be accountable to the American public. This paper is significant to me not only because of its extremely meaningful and eye-opening topic, but also because of the depth of research I partook in to be able to create a factual and meaningful exposure of the culprits responsible for the opioid crisis. You can find my paper below: