Enjoying the Journey

It’s been a few months since my last post, and in this time I’ve learned that life does indeed get more exciting with age. I’ve also learned that hard work leads to great opportunities. It is my hope that I continue to be challenged and rewarded as I have been since last spring quarter.

First of all, I am sincerely thankful to the Voinovich School for its flexibility in allowing me to earn credit toward my degree in nontraditional ways. Over the summer I studied abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland with the City and the Environment program, taking a class in sustainable urban planning and another in the history of Edinburgh. This epic six-week adventure was the first step toward my Environmental Sustainability graduate certificate. In addition, I interned with the Cockburn Association, a nonprofit civic trust that aims to uphold the history and integrity of the city through the reviewing of city development plans and the discussion of issues surrounding sustainable transportation and planning. The trip was invaluable not only because of what I learned in the classroom, but what I learned outside of it. Studying abroad is exciting because of the need to adapt quickly to a new environment so that you can accomplish your goals while visiting. The experience was possible because my adviser, Dr. Millesen, approved of my request to have the Environmental Sustainability courses count as electives toward my MPA degree.

This semester I march onward toward the completion of my graduate studies. I’m currently enrolled in Natural Resource Conservation, Environmental Sustainability, Economics of the Environment, and Graphic Design. Yes, there’s a general theme this semester – and then the one “why not, I’ve always been interested and this could benefit my future if I take the marketing/communications route” class. Four classes at the graduate level on semesters has proven to be quite a heavy workload, but I’m excited to be learning more about increasingly pressing issues that have heavy implications on the future of mankind. These are the sorts of challenges that leaders in all walks of life will have to address soon.

In addition to the class load, I am a Teaching Assistant this year with the Global Leadership Center at Ohio University. The experience has been rewarding beyond what I even imagined it could be. As a 2010 alumnus of the challenging program, I am thrilled to be back with it once again, and this time on the other side of it. Involvement with something as adaptive and educational as the GLC from both the student and instructor perspective has illuminated the hard work and commitment it takes to creating the effective leaders of the future. On a separate yet personally satisfying note is the perk that complements working with the GLC – an opportunity to travel abroad! I look forward to our class trip to Vietnam next semester as OU students work closer with students at Nha Trang University.

This year will be exciting, but I’ll have to make sure that I practice what I preach in the classroom. If I expect students to submit quality work, I must be a quality instructor. In addition, I must also submit quality work to my professors and superiors. Leading isn’t a job, but a lifestyle – and I am confident that the Voinovich School and Ohio University have given me the guidance to appreciate this distinction.


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