Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Coming to UMSL: A Story of an International UMSL Ambassador

By Prachi Talwar

Being a thousand miles away from home, a place which shaped my soul inside out has been the most challenging part of my journey at University of Missouri–St. Louis (UMSL). This is best understood by my fellow international students. My journey from India to the United States as a student has been a rollercoaster ride that has made me into a more adventurous and responsible person.

Being an international student brings new challenges every day. From language to culture, everything requires my utmost attention. I still remember my first day of college, where I had to find my way around campus as well as having to attend orientation. Like most international students I socialized with students with whom I share the same origins. But as time passed I was able to befriend a group of students who were a mix of locals and other international students from other countries.

Since starting school here I have been participating in school organizations and leadership programs. UMSL Ambassadors is one of them. It has provided me with an opportunity to meet many student leaders with rich backgrounds and ambitions. However, the Ambassadors program helps people meet with more than just students. It opens the door to networking with professors, the chancellor and others in the campus community.

Through my experience with the program and UMSL, my approach towards life has come to be more diversified and unique. The monthly meetings and the icebreakers that are played at the beginning of each meeting has helped ease the transition to the new American lifestyle. We were lead into projects which promoted team work.

UMSL has a diversified range of cultures and cultural events and being able to share a part of each other’s culture and traditions not only bonded us more to each other but also broadened our perspective of the world around us.

As months passed by, my anxiety of being away from home had started to wash away with the flow of time. The constant support of our professors in every aspect of my day to day life is always a stress buster in my struggle as an international student.

Over the first year of my college experience, connecting with people from all around the world has not only shaped my conduct but also made me a better student and person. The UMSL Ambassador program has taught me to be an independent and a hardworking learner. It has shaped my instincts while providing me an insight into my potential and aspirations, unlocking my capabilities to socialize and learn something from everything I experience. Further, helping me to grow with focus and zeal. Over the time I have spent at the university overcoming all my personal barriers, it is my heartfelt gratitude now quoting “My UMSL, My Home”.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Why Choose UMSL?

By Michaela Browne

What type of people choose UMSL? Motivated people choose UMSL. Diverse people choose UMSL. Successful people choose UMSL. Ambitious people choose UMSL. Most of all, people with dreams choose UMSL.

I chose UMSL because it is a high-quality education at an affordable cost. The professors at UMSL care about their students and I enjoy learning from such wonderful educators. I personally have chosen to commute, and I am very impressed with the selection of class offerings, as well as the variety in time selections. However, whether you choose to live on or off campus, you cannot go wrong with UMSL’s campus, course assortment, and welcoming community. The campus also provides a variety of organizations, which provides a plethora of ways to connect. There is literally something for everyone.

This year I have the opportunity to be a part of UMSL Ambassador program. I love being an ambassador because I get to represent something that I am very passionate about: UMSL and what it represents. Diversity, fairness, education and so much more. As an UMSL ambassador, I have been able to meet people of diverse backgrounds that have similar interests in making their dreams a reality. The volunteer events are not only fun, but allow opportunities to meet a variety of people, as well as providing opportunities for networking.

My advice for all of my fellow students is to strive for what drives you. I am so thankful that I am at a college that gives me so many opportunities to work towards my dreams. “If you can dream it, you can do it” Walt Disney. Life is too short to not work hard for what you want. UMSL provides the stage to make your dreams a reality. That’s why I chose UMSL.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Diversity Matters

By Liliana De La Garza

One of the amazing parts of being an UMSL Ambassador is the diversity we share as an entity.

As a non-traditional student born in Mexico, my first day walking onto campus brought on a flurry of questions: Why am I here? Will I feel out of place? Am I making the right choice for myself? Am I too old to be here? Are there other students who look like me?

It took a matter of only days on campus to realize that diversity and inclusion are something that UMSL encourages, and appreciates throughout the student demographic. This notion was more clearly defined by the amazing group of individuals that comes together as the UMSL Ambassadors.

We have people of all creeds, backgrounds, races, majors, minors, height, etc. For myself, I find a sense of harmony knowing that I am not the only person in our group who was born elsewhere, or didn’t go to college right after high school, or who looks different. We come together to share, learn, and grow in our educational goals and interpersonal goals. To learn from one another and make sense of this grueling, tedious, worthwhile, and often frustrating adventure that is our college experience.

We represent and honor our school through the participation as ambassadors, but also in how we carry ourselves. We were selected because of our diverse experiences, and distinct stories. For someone with a not so traditional story that is something that I feel grateful to be a member of. So as we proudly wear our vests and guide guests at important events, I hope we can all appreciate the beauty that is our group of wonderfully, talented, unique, and ambitious group of ambassadors.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Haunted houses, candy, and costumes, oh my!

The air is vibrating with excitement now that Halloween is just around the
corner. What costumes to wear, what decorations to put up, and more importantly, what events to attend. Some people want to be chilled to the bone, while others prefer laughter and sweets. Either way, the decisions can be numerous and overwhelming.

As someone who never knew I was “coulrophobic” (afraid of clowns), this year I am advising others with similar fears to stay safe and attend light hearted entertainment. One such event is PLHCSA’s (Pierre Laclede Honors College Student Association) Hayride on October 24th from 5PM to 7PM from Oak Hall and Provincial House. If you are interested in hanging out in the cool weather and being charioted around, then this is the event for you. (They are asking for donations of money or pet supplies for their fundraising efforts supporting Gateway Pet Guardians.)

How about something a little more spooky and interactive? Although there aren’t any dungeons on campus, at least not anymore…jk… escaping from approaching deadlines can be just as frightening. If you are wanting to escape that reality, why don’t you try the Escape Rooms on October 25th at 7PM in Oak Hall? No groups necessary to participate, free food, and music are provided to those who survive the post-apocalyptic nightmare!

Another fun event is the 8th Annual Trunk-or-Treat on October 28th from 12 PM to 2 PM at the MSC garage. Put on by UMSL student organizations, offices, and departments, this activity is geared towards children and families in the surrounding areas, yet students and professors of all ages and departments will be in attendance. Not only will there be candy, but information about different clubs and organizations on campus, games and activities, and even prizes for best costumes!

And if you’re someone who just likes to celebrate on Halloween itself, how about a tour of UMSL’s most haunted building? Provincial House is hosting a Haunted Honors Tour at 8 PM that is engaging and terrifying! Prepare to be scared, and if you are so lucky, t-shirts will be given to the first 150 who survive!

Of course, there are always the laid back ways to enjoy Halloween with friends and family from trick-or-treating or being at home making food or watching a movie. Whatever you choose, just remember to have a happy and safe Halloween!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Going to College on Purpose

by Joi Malloyd

Purpose. This one word can carry a fair amount of weight. When asking someone how it applies to their own life, this word is often preceded by the statement, I don’t know mine. We as college students attempt to map out what classes and experiences will get us to a place where we can reach a fulfilling end. We don’t want the all-nighters, student loans, and office hour visits to be in vain. We have a goal in mind for the trouble we go through to study at UMSL. We want to do what we are hardwired to do. We want to be who we are destined to be. We want our work to never feel like a job. We want to enjoy doing what we love for the rest of our lives and then teach someone else to do that very same thing.

However, there are thousands of possibilities when it comes to a plan of study. Most students feel overwhelmed over how to choose which major and minor will get them to their purpose. Many times I have asked myself, “How do I narrow down all my interests, aspirations, and future dreams into a major and a minor?” So, how do we choose what to study and predict where it will lead us in the future so that our money and time is not wasted?

First let me give you a definition. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, the word purpose is defined as follows:
a. Something set up as an object or end to be attained: intention
b. Resolution, determination

Based on this definition, most students, including myself, think about purpose as it relates to our education all wrong. I have assumed that majoring in chemistry would pigeon hole me into one profession, especially if I continue on the pre-medical track. This proposition scares me greatly as I continually find new things that I love to study and other things I am passionate about. I have been considering changing my major for a long time now, but many of my reasons I see now were misguided.

I also assumed that what I study dictates what will end up doing for the rest of my life. Our purpose as individuals is so much bigger than the next few years of our college careers. While what we do now will shape our future, we cannot get so caught up with the next four to five years that we cut ourselves of from the opportunity to use our many gifts and talents that can never be limited to words on a certificate.

I want to encourage my fellow Tritons in knowing that there is always room to learn more and try something new. What you are studying now may lead you to something much different in the future, so much so that you change your major. Not every person you see in a specific career has been on the same path their whole life, whole career, or even what they originally studied in school.

Be encouraged and relax. Have fun learning in college. Your purpose is not what job you will have or what major you choose. Let college be a time where you explore those gifts and find where you can use them to better yourself, the UMSL community and eventually the world.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Interview with Dr. Joyce M Mushaben, a Curators’ Professor

by Aaliyah Bailey

Dr. Joyce M Mushaben is a Curators’ Professor of Comparative Politics and Gender Studies here at UMSL. She received her PhD from Indiana University. Dr. Mushaben is an expert in German studies and speaks German fluently. She has authored many books, including her most recent work Becoming Madam Chancellor: Angela Merkel and the Berlin Republic. She also recently visited Germany for their elections. Here is a brief interview that one of our ambassadors held with Dr. Mushaben. 

Q: What brought you to the German elections?

A: I have been going to the German elections virtually every year since 1990. 1989-90 is when the Berlin Wall fell, but the first all-German elections didn’t happen until after the wall had fallen. East Germans had already voted to annex themselves to West Germany. No one thought this would come back to haunt them 27 years later, but that does appear to be the case right now. The one thing that makes this possible, that I stress over and over again, is learn a foreign language. It is my fluency in German that has gotten me all kinds of grants, not only before the wall fell, but certainly after the wall fell. 

Q: You’ve written books about a variety of German topics. What prompted you to write about Chancellor Merkel?
A: I’m the only one writing whole books on Angela Merkel in the United States as well as Great Britain. None of the German feminist scholars want to write about this woman, because, yes, she is the first woman chancellor and she’s the first Easterner and most West German scholars don’t understand East Germany or how it used to function very well. Just as importantly, she was a member of the conservative party. Many people support her, but not her party.

Q: How has Angela Merkel overcome the challenges of being the first woman chancellor?
A: One of the reasons she was able to run in her first election was because all of her rivals in the CDU party had fallen on their own swords. They all like to blame her and call her the “Black Widow Spider,” but she just stood there and didn’t shoot off her mouth and thought her way through various incidents and watched as they knocked each other out of the competition. In her first campaign, they never touched woman’s or gender issues, contrary to what was expected. She was very popular. In the second campaign, they didn’t need to address issues, they just showed more Merkel. She never called herself a feminist and looked at society holistically. She takes a pragmatic approach rather than an ideological approach; what’s more important, getting the credit passing laws or actually passing laws?

Q: As young women preparing to enter the workforce, whether business, politics or sciences, what lessons can we learn from Angela Merkel?
A: First, be pragmatic and work with anyone who has knowledge of an issue and, second, work with anyone who is willing to work with you. Understand that problems have to be solved holistically and pay attention to the future. Angela Merkel was a physicist before becoming a politician, so she knows how to be logical. Be able to think through a problem, and also be willing to admit your mistakes. Don’t worry about taking credit for getting things done; get things done.

Q: What advice do you have for students entering the workforce?
A: Really think globally and be diverse. You have to be tolerant and understand how to deal with conflict. Learn another language!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Recognizing our Staff and Faculty

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 was a special day at UMSL, our annual State
of the University Address. This event celebrates the accomplishments of UMSL employees and addresses the state of the school in the previous year and what is to come.

As students, we see and work with these employees of the university daily, yet we don't always acknowledge all of their hard work. However, these special individuals help make our university grow and thrive with so much expertise! The State of the University Address is held for all staff and faculty to come and congratulate the 2016-17 employees of the month, the 2017 Chancellor's Awards for Excellence recipients, and our staff and faculty celebrating 25 years of employment and 1 faculty member celebrating 50 years!

The Chancellor also gave his annual speech of our university’s accomplishments from 2016-17 academic year. In his presentation he showed how many of our goals were not only met this last year but also how many we exceed! It is great to say that our university flourishes more and more with the work of our faculty and staff.

So next time you pass an UMSL employee in the hall, say hello and thank them for what they do. After all, where would we be without them?

Below is the program listing all the awardees!