Monday, September 15, 2014

PLU Foreign Kids Exploring America!

Dear friends,

It's been a while since I wrote you a letter. How have you been?Any amazing stories you'd like to share?

Early in June this summer, I flew to Namibia, Africa with a film-making group from PLU. One of the things that I miss the most was jogging on random afternoons outside of the hotel in which we stayed. The best part of my run was seeing the purple-ish sky as the sun was setting. It reminded me of the dream I haven't lost -- to see as much of this world as I could before I die.

On a hiking trip we went on in Daan Viljoen Nature Reserve, we found a tiny tree on the ground.
So there I was, planting my dream like gardeners popping seeds into the soil. Knowing that I'd only go further on my journey to see more of this world once I started, I realized how lucky I was.

After returning to the U.S., I became busy with making a trailer, preparing to get a driver's license, and the list goes on. Then, it was the New Student Orientation for Fall 2014 - the most exciting time of the semester for everyone at PLU.

Photo Credit: John Froschauer
International Student Services office has been adjusting to some new changes this year, while we said our goodbyes to Akane Yamaguchi, we welcomed Hai Doan, the new assistant director of social media, to our team. As usual, the orientation was still full of excitement.

Photo Credit: Hai Doan


The only thing different, and better, is that our new student body is a lot more diverse from the semesters before. We were excited to see faces from Saudi Arabia, Israel, France, Germany, China, Malaysia, China, etc.
Photo Credit: Hai Doan


























Venturing to downtown Tacoma in the midday sun with the new international crowd easily became an odd scene in the eyes of strangers. "A bunch of foreign kids were looking for hello, cupcake," said a woman randomly passing by. She looked confused... I must add.
*One of the activities we do with new students. Each group is given a map of downtown Tacoma. The winning team must find all the locations marked in the map and take group pictures in front of each location.
Here you have it. The story has not ended yet. I am sure that this fun group will have more stories to share as the semester goes on. If I know of any, I will tell you more.

Let's have a wonderful school year!

Love always,

Shunying Wang



Monday, July 21, 2014

Some Tips for ISO: What to expect during orientation!

Orientation is a very exciting time for new international students! This is when you will get to meet other international students, your IPAs (international peer advisers), and other PLU staff members. You will also get to adjust to your new homes in the residence halls and listen advice that others have to help you succeed at PLU. In order for you to make the most out of orientation, here are some tips I have!

1. Participate in the social activities
There are several activities organized during orientation that helps you get to know other new international students and make friends. Take advantage of these and have fun! You will have the opportunity to go bowling, explore downtown Tacoma, and do other fun things, so make sure you go to these activities.

2. Be ready to ask questions
You will be hearing a lot of new information during orientation, and we know that could get a little overwhelming. Be ready to ask questions, especially because most of the IPAs know exactly what you're going through (I swear we're a friendly group of people :D). We can help you by answering questions about campus policies, what it's like to be a student, the public transportation, getting a phone, and many other topics!

3. Make connections with staff members
You will also have a few opportunities to meet PLU staff members during orientation. Get to know these people and talk to them, since they want to help you and get to know you as well. Plus, you will see them and possibly interact with them during the school year, since you will be meeting academic advisers, residential life staff, professors, etc. 
4. Tune into our social media before orientation
 If you are wanting to see pictures of past orientations or get the latest news on PLU International Students, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! We post reminders for things that need to be done before orientation, advice for studying in the U.S., and lot of other things! Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PLUInternationalStudents or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/pluintlstudents

Monday, June 9, 2014

Working With Psychology Research Through Statistics Classes


As a Psychology Major, one requirement I had at PLU is to take STATS 232 (introduction to statistics for psychology) and PSYCH 242 (advanced statistics for psychology). These two courses give a very solid groundwork for psychology students to look into the world of statistics associated with psychological research. Introduction to statistics covered learning the basics of statistical calculations and research methods. However in advanced statistics, we got to design our own study and conduct it during the semester.

For my advance statistics class, I teamed up with two other students and we did our research on this topic: Gender Stereotypes and Math Computation. Our main goal was to see if people's perspective on gender stereotypes based on math affected how the different genders performed while taking a math test. We conducted this experiment by recruiting other psychology students through an online program where students could participate in the study in exchange for class credit given by the respective professors. Students then were asked to attend their designated timeslot and participate in the study. After conducting our experiments and wrote our research papers, we got to attend the Psychology Spring Research Conference held at PLU, where PSYCH 242 students and Capstone students got to present the findings from their study. This was a great experience, and my peers and I got to talk to students, parents, and professors about our study while also getting to check out what other students researched.

If you are thinking about being a psychology major or even interested in doing research associated with psychology, I recommend you take these classes! Though they were not easy classes, I definitely got a lot out of them, and it was a really good experience. Since I will be doing research for one of my psychology professors next school year, I have definitely benefitted from these classes, and have gotten good real-life experience! Also, let me know if you have any questions about the classes and I will be more than happy to help you out :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Det er Norge i Rødt, Hvit og Blått! (Nesten!)

This year's 17. Mai celebration was very special. It marked the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian constitution. As a country Norway has changed a lot over these 200 years and we can only hope the next 200 will be even better.
Flag-raising Ceremony. (Photo: John Froschauer)
As tradition PLU held a flag-raising ceremony, presenting both the Norwegian and American flag accompanied by the respective national anthem. I was lucky enough to present a speech reflecting how the meaning of this day has changed growing up and my experiences of this day in and outside of Norway.

Tiny me behind the podium! (Photo: Stine Smeby)
A violin played the new song written specifically for this year's celebration as we fallowed President Krise down to the Scandinavian Cultural Center for a beautiful breakfast.

(Photo: John Froschauer)
(Photo: John Froschauer)
We had flatbrød, brunost, laks and lefse while listening to great speeches by both the President and our special guest Terje Leiren.    It is always fun for new students to go to this event because they have no idea how many people actually show up to our celebration and how excited our visitors are!

(Photo: John Froschauer)
After the breakfast the ANSA (Association for Norwegian Students Abroad) Washington chapter at PLU had arranged a barbecue with lawn games, music and cake. They invited ANSA students from Vancuver Canada to join us for the day.

(Photo: Stine Smeby)
The lawn games and "pølser" made it feel as if we were in Norway and I'm sure the homesickness for this day was eased by this event. I know people wished they could be in their hometowns for this special day! Here is a video made by ANSA Vancouver from the big day:


The students later went to Ballard, where there was a huge parade through the streets of Seattle! There were many norwegian-american groups and clubs participating in the parade as well! It is a very different experience then the 17. Mai celebration many of our Norwegian students are used to. But they were very excited to see so many enthusiastic people out celebrating!

(Photo: Stine Smeby)

I am so glad choose to go to a school with such a strong Scandinavian heritage. It has made me feel so much closer to home and to my fellow Norwegians! What a great way to end the year and start of summer! Until next time!

Special thanks to everyone who made this event possible:
Office of the President, Scandinavian Cultural Center, Dining and Culinary Services, ANSA Washington, ANSA Vancouver and all the volunteers.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I'm almost done

Hey guys

So three years here at PLU and here I am about to graduate. I am almost done and I am beyond excited.

In this post, I will share with you guys what's been going on in my life.

First, CAPSTONE. The word itself sounds scary and haunting but I had a lot of fun preparing for my capstone presentation. As a nursing major, I had to prepare a capstone poster on how I would provide nursing care for a certain group of patients and I decided to do mine on "Postoperative ICU Care for the CABG Patients". (CABG - Coronary Artery Bypass Graft).

The topic might sound crazy so I made sure that I had props at my table so non-nursing people would understand what I was talking about.
Here's my prop. I use this pillow to show the anatomy of the heart and pipe cleaners as conduits for blood to flow and vascularize the heart.


Overall, it took me almost 2 weeks to prepare for everything. I ended up using 25 research articles for my poster because I wanted everything to be from research and up to date. By preparing for this poster, I had a chance to re-learn everything about the heart and it makes me more confident and competent.

If you are a prospective nursing students, please don't be discouraged about this project. It was tough but I did not have to do it all by myself. My professor was always there for me and I honestly enjoyed the whole process. I decided to do the poster myself just because I was on a Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit for senior preceptorship. However, if you choose to partner up with someone, you can always do that.

Presenting my Capstone Poster in the University Center

Presenting my Capstone Poster in the University Center
This is the time for celebration. I sure will celebrate until the day I have to sit down and study for my NCLEX (the Nursing board exam). In fact, I just celebrated with Student Involvement and Leadership last Monday on my Ubuntu Award.

Celebration of Leadership 2014

I got an Award guys :)

This is such a bittersweet time of the year. I am ready to graduate to become an official adult but I am not ready to leave PLU yet. The past 3 years have been amazing for me. I have made so many new friends and made tons of wonderful memories together. I guess it's time to open another chapter of my life.

Let's keep in touch.
Thank you
Henry

Monday, May 5, 2014

My First Documentary Production: Real People, Real Hope

Dear friends,

Before this semester stared, I knew that the communication course I was going to take with the one professor I loved would be challenging. When we showed up to the class the first day, Prof. Joanne proposed a documentary idea, which is to give voice to the undocumented population at PLU and educate PLU community on what it means to be undocumented.

I loved the proposal and wanted to make it happen, and so I volunteered to be the producer. Well the challenge with that is, I have never been a producer before. Neither have I thought about being one. I was clueless from the start and didn't know how to begin, but thanks to the fact that it wasn't just my one-person show. Joanne was overseeing the progress of the entire project, and I have Storm Gerlock, who is the co-producer, with me the entire time. And she has a lot more experience in documentary production than I do.

Stage 1: Identifying Subjects
Our very first step was to reach out to those students studying at PLU and see if they were willing to share their stories openly. I contacted an admission office staff to reach out to those students. Because I wasn’t given their contact information for confidentiality purpose, if they decided not to get back to me, it would have gone on a completely different path.

Thankfully, they got back to me the same day the staff wrote them the email, and they told me that they were very interested in participating and wanted more information. So at that point, I knew we had our stories.

Stage 2: Tasks Distribution
The class was divided into different groups, and every group was in charge of a specific area. For example, we had the researchers, reporters, videographers, promotional team, the narrator, the person who was in charge of facilitating the panel discussion after the viewing, and so on.

Stage 3: Pre-Interviews and On-Camera Interviews
What I did next were some pre-interviews with the two students to get a sense of what their stories would be like, and then we discussed about our storyline for the documentary in class. Essentially this is a class project, so that it was important for us as a class to discuss about different issues we encountered during the process of making this documentary. 

After we were all settled on a rough story outline, we came up with a list of people whom we needed to interview on camera. Then organizing interview and shooting schedules, conducting interview questions, and planning to be present at every interview appointment was essentially where I spent the majority of my time working on before we moved onto the story development stage.

At one point, we decided a name for the documentary -- Real People, Real Hope. We were getting excited as the premiere day approached.

Stage 4: Journalism Talk - Ethical Discussion on Name Using 
But as a student carrying 16 credits and working at two jobs, I tried to keep a balance among all my commitments. I decided to prioritize this film to the top of my list. Because it is more than just me, the film is made for a greater cause. It was rough and stressful keeping everything thing on track along the way, but the learning experience was incredible.

The issue of the undocumented students is a very sensitive topic to handle. While we had a good intention to give the voice to the student advocates, it may result in serious consequences such as increasing the risk of deportation for their family members who are not protected. But it is never in our best interest to threaten anyone's life.

This is where our ethical decision-making process began. At one point, we had our three-week-long discussion about whether or not we should make them anonymous because of the fact that once their names and faces are shown in the film, they would get identified more easily. Not only have we been constantly reminded of the real consequences and the potential threats presenting the stories will bring to their families, but we have also ensured that they understood consequences and knew that we had different alternatives for them. Such as having their name removed, or showing only their backs and hands instead of their real faces.

But if they feel strongly about speaking up and having their stories told, we shouldn't interfere to diminish their power of their voice. For journalists, it is always difficult to try to balance the benefits and the harms.

Stage 5 - Story Development and Final Editing
After we finished interviewing everyone and gathering supplemental footage, we made some adjustments to our initial story outline and decided to add a call to action at the end, which is to encourage institution to create and develop a support system for the undocumented population no matter how small the community is. 

It was faster to edit once we knew what we wanted to be the ending message. But the editing process was still long. The day before we turned in our first draft, Storm and I were in the studio from 8am to 12pm with several breaks and some class times in between, we went over the interviews we had left and put pieces together to come up with the very rough draft for class review and revision. And later we came up with the second draft, the third draft, and finally it was ready for the premiere. 

Stage 6 - The Premiere
The premiere was a success because we had a very diverse audience. At the end, they all seemed to be moved by the stories of the students. I think the general message that Angelica and Wendy are trying convey is that, perhaps you won't be convinced after hearing their stories, but it is OK. Our goal is to bring this issue to your attention so that more people are educated on both sides about this issue. You can still believe what you would normally believe, but it is important that you give a chance to see the world through a different lens. At least it will challenge the way you think because so far I haven’t found anyone who can be 100% and absolutely correct on everything.

After two months of intensive work load, I am happy that this has finally come to an end. But when the summer comes, I will travel to Namibia and complete another documentary. I will tell you more about it next time.

Warmly,

Shunying

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Parkland Mural: Bringing the PLU and Parkland Community Together

I hope it's been a good week for all and that everyone has been able to enjoy the spring weather! I had the wonderful opportunity to get to help with the Parkland Mural on Saturday, April 26th. This day was dedicated to priming the wall of the Garfield Street post office, and was open to anyone who wanted to help! A group of Resident Assistants from Hong and Hinderlie Hall (two of the residence halls in PLU) participated in the priming this day, and it was really fun to see both PLU students and members of the Parkland community to come together to work on this project! For those who wanted know what the wall looks like now, here is a picture:

I'm really excited to see the final results of this mural! If you would like to be a part of this, they will be working on the rest of the mural throughout May. You can also follow the project on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Parkland-Community-Mural-Project/656404521062559 There are also more details about the project in this blog: http://parklandmural.wordpress.com

I hope everyone does well with the last month of classes, and stay healthy!

Love, 
Loana