Danielle: Welcome to Live and Learn, a production of the Honors Program at the University of Connecticut, I’m Danielle Chaloux and this week we’ll hear from the interview team at the center of career development on what to expect and how to prepare for an interview.
Tara: Hello my name is Tara Watrous, toady i am here with the practice interview team from the center for career development. We work together to offer practice interviews to students from all class years and majors, preparing them for upcoming interviews. Today, we are sharing some of our best interviewing tips based on our experience working at the CCD.
Waseema: My name is Waseema Bhura and i have noticed that one of the first questions asked in almost every interview is the dreaded “tell me about yourself.” This is a tough question to answer because it’s hard to tell what the interviewer is looking for. But there is a structure you can use to address this concern. We recommend in including 3 main components in your answer “tell me about yourself.” Which are explain your background or your story, describe your experience and relative skills, and discuss your future plans. Explain your background focuses on why your interested in this field and this opportunity. This is where you can include a background story if you have one, explain how you chose your major. Next, talk about your relevant experiences including internships, on campus involvement, academic projects, volunteer experiences, and jobs where you gained relative skills. Try to match these skills with the job you are interviewing for. Treat this as giving a preview of the experiences you will be expanding more on later in the interview. Finally, discuss where you see yourself in 3-5 years and how this opportunity fits your goals.
Tara: Your answer to tell me about yourself is extremely important because it is part of the first impression you make in the interview. Other ways to make a strong first impression, are behavior in the waiting room and the way you greet the interviewer. Before the interviewer comes to you, make sure that you are friendly and polite with everyone you encounter. Keep in mind, you don’t know who’s watching you. Then, when the interviewer comes out you want to greet them with a firm handshake and direct eye contact. These tips may seem small, but first impressions impact how the interviewer is going to remember you.
Wasima: It’s also a good idea to be prepared for other common traditional interview questions, like strength and weaknesses. For strengths we usually recommend using a transferable skill such as interpersonal skills, that you possess and is relative to the position. We recommend you stay away from personality traits such as hardworking and dedicated as those describe who you are rather than a skill you have gained or learned based on your experiences. Back up your answer with an example based on your past experiences of when you used this skill. For the weakness question we do not recommend the common advice of turning a weakness into a strength. Instead, pick a trait or quality that is not necessary for the job or program, but is not completely unrelated either. You only want to briefly describe your weakness and then spend time discussing how you’re improving the weakness. You should be describing active steps you’re taking and in detail.
Amanda: My name is Amanda Masciadrelli and I have some tips for behavioral interview questions. Behavioral interview questions is any questions on how you’d behave in a specific situation in the past because that is typically a good indicator of how you will behave in a similar situation in the future. We recommend using the STARmethod to answer these types of questions. STAR is an acronym that stands for situation, task, action, and result and allows you to tell a whole story without missing any important details. You’ll start off your answer with a situation piece, which is explaining a little background to the story in order to provide the interviewer with some context. Then, you’ll move on to task and you will discuss the problem you were tasked with solving. The situation and task pieces should be the shortest parts of your answer. And you should save the bulk of your details for action and result. Action is where you’ll discuss the action steps you took to solve the problem. If answering a team-oriented question, it is important to note what you did rather than what the team did. Finally, we’ll end the answer with result and discuss the outcome of the story. It is also important to relate the story you just told and the skills you used in it to the position at hand.
Liam: My name is Liam Williams and one of the best ways to prepare for behavioral questions is to form a self assessment. This includes reviewing your past experiences and the skills you have developed through those experiences. Having a well crafted resume comes in handy at this step because you can easily determine if your skill set and potential examples, based on the experiences, activities, and involvement that you have listed. Also check the job description for desirable traits and preferred skills Because you can explain experiences on your resume that involve those skills. However, sometimes what you don’t know is as important to what you do know in an interview.
Amanda: And that’s why it’s important to have questions prepared to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview. Some potential topics to ask questions about include training opportunities, current events impacting the company, projects you’ll be working on from the beginning, and the next steps in the interview process. Some topics to avoid are any sort of company criticisms, questions about salary, travel, and housing accommodations and any controversial topic. In total, you should have about 3-5 questions prepared and it is recommended to take notes as the interviewer is answering your questions in order to show interest and engagement.
Liam: If you are interested in conducting a practice interview with our office, visit career.uconn.edu to schedule an appointment. On that website you will also find all of our online interviewing resources including a professional interviewing guide, which goes over all the information we shared with you today. Thank you for listening.
Danielle: Here’s Amanda Masciadrelli again with her response to “tell me about yourself.”
So, Amanda, tell me about yourself.
Amanda: Well people who know me best would describe me as a great communicator, a team player, and great at giving advice. I definitely feel as though I have cultivated those skills through my college curriculum as well as my work experience. Currently I’m a junior at the University of Connecticut majoring in marketing and minoring in psychology and I decided to major in marketing because I’ve always been a creative person, whether that be through creative writing or drawing. And I definitely wanted to choose a career path that would really encompass that part of my personality. And I decided to add psychology onto that because I definitely feel as though psychology and marketing go hand in hand a lot and marketing at the end of the day is just understanding the consumer and psychology definitely provides you with the necessary resources to understand people so they definitely complement each other very well. As far as relevant experience goes I am really involved with clubs on campus such as marketing society and the Honors in Business Association. Both of these clubs have been really invaluable in providing me with resources connect with different employers within different business fields as well as networking with students that have similar interests in mind. As far as work experience goes I worked as a marketing intern with United Health Group this past summer where I primarily worked in the marketing department to come up with creative ideas for different promotional items and worked with the marketing team to support the brand image and basically work with daily administrative tasks to support different marketing initiatives and events that we had going on. Currently I am an intern in the center for career development where I work in the practice interview project area and for this role I primarily conduct practice interviews for students and as a career intern role I critique resumes for graduate students as well and give different career related presentations on certain topics. As far as future plans goes, I’m really excited on the prospect of obtaining another marketing internship. I definitely feel as though, in marketing, it is important to learn by doing hands on experiences or basically doing it by yourself and I am definitely excited to obtain another marketing internship to really hone in on my marketing skills.
Liam: One of the things to notice with that response is that it may have seen to go on for a really long time, but that was just around 2 minutes and that is typically the length we recommend for the tell me about yourself question. It’s typically your longest answer, around a minute and a half to two minutes because you’re trying to get across so much information. So always keep the time in your mind when you’re answering these questions.
Danielle: That’s all for this week. For previous episodes and a chance to win an honors program long sleeve t-shirt visit honors.uconn.edu/podcast. The code word is career.
[Danielle Chaloux]: In November of 2017, the University of Connecticut College Republicans invited far right speaker Lucian Wintrich to Storrs for a talk entitled, “It’s OK to Be White.”
It ended with two arrests and added another set of news stories and think pieces to the continued discussion about free speech on college campuses. Statements were issued from Susan Herbst, the president of the university.
[Susan Herbst]: As we all by now have seen, Tuesday’s event did not go well. Some audience members jeered for the duration of the event. Wintrich continually had exchanges with individuals in the audience. The evening ended with the speaker appearing to physically accost a woman who had taken his notes. Following that, he was arrested by the UConn Police. Later, a window was shattered and a smoke bomb was set off. A student was arrested for breaking the window and it remains unknown who set off the smoke bomb, but police are investigating.
[DLC]: University policies were reviewed.
[Herbst]: “Next week I will assemble a group of UConn faculty, staff, and students and ask them to conceive of an effective strategy to further advance a climate at UConn that fosters healthy argument, debate, and discussion on our campuses even if it comes at a financial cost during these very difficult budget times.
[DLC]: And then university policies were changed.
[Herbst]: I’ve asked the Division of Student Affairs to produce new guidelines for speakers and events sponsored by UConn student groups that may present a risk to the campus community.
[DLC]: And UConn students were forced to wrestle with some very big ideas. Free speech. Diversity. Inclusion.
I’m Danielle Chaloux and this week on live and learn we are tackling a big idea. A right that is fundamental to American society and governance. A right that is part of the first amendment: free speech and how it relates to higher education. In this piece you’ll hear from UConn President Susan Herbst; lawyer, civil rights scholar, and CEO of the Phi Beta Kappa Society Fred Lawrence; and Fred Lee, assistant professor of Political Science and Asian/Asian American Studies. As well as UConn students Christopher Zins, Joseph Gatti, Kavya Katugam, and Sarina Barghava.
For the background and legal context, here’s my conversation with Fred Lawrence, the civil rights scholar.
[DLC]: If you could give a basic overview of what is speech. How is it defined?
[Lawrence]: Well, I usually use the term expression not speech. Because I think expression is the broader term although the constitution certainly says speech for both normative purposes and even the for constitution has interpreted it means expressive activity. Ways in which people are engaged in that most fundamental of human activities of expressing themselves in order to communicate with others and to actualize themselves into the world.
[DLC]: And why is that important? To protect the freedom of expressive activity?
[Lawrence]: There are several strands of thought to look at this, but let me gather them together in two main categories. One is a consequentialist theory that we can transfer back to people like Oliver Wendell Holmes that we think we will get the best ideas in society by having a free and open discussion that through that debate, the so called “marketplace of ideas,” will reach the best discussion that if we repress discussion and speech that we will skew that marketplace of ideas and get worse outcomes. I myself am drawn towards a deontological approach which we can trace back to people like Louis Brandeis where the idea is less what the consequences of the speech are, although that may be true as well, but rather the real goal here is that the essential nature of human freedom is based on the ability to express ourselves. In terms of what is it that makes us human? What is our ultimate humanity? It is about how we think, feel, and express those thoughts and those feelings as we actualize ourselves as we interact with other individuals and with local and national and international activities.
[DLC]: And to that extent, what are the limitations on freedom of expression and what are the things that aren’t permitted?
[Lawrence]: Some of the things that I’m going to say I think is broader, normative argument. We as human beings, if you notice everything I’ve said up until now, was quite new-transcontextual and then there’s the American context which has its own particularity to it. Certainly within the American context, the court has established what it would call a categorical approach to first amendment jurisprudence. There are certain categories of speech that are not protected. They include things like fighting words, actual threats, obscenity, defamation, and if you go a little bit further there are other categories of words that are not protected if they include things like conspiracy, or treason. Those are crimes that could take the form solely of expressive activity or words. All those categories we would say are not protected.
[DLC]: And where is the line between sitting in a room and talking about ‘to rob a bank you should wear a mask’ and where does it fall into ‘okay now it’s conspiracy’?
[Lawrence]: This is an interesting place where criminal law doctrine and free expression jurisprudence line up pretty closely. What I’ve said in my own thinking and writing in this is we should focus on the mental state of the actor. The law lat that is mens rea. In order to have a crime you require both mens rea and actus reus, which is the act. Mental state and you need an act. So if you know that someone has committed an act that causes harm normally associated with the crime you don’t yet know if the crime has been committed til you know what the mental state of the actor is. So take a simple example: if I tell you that someone takes a bat and hits someone in the head, swings the bat intentionally and hits someone in the head very hard causing severe injuries you still don’t know if that’s attempted murder all the way down to no crime at all because you need to know what was in the mind of the actor. If in fact the actor was swinging that bat because she was playing softball and the person that got whacked in the head was the catcher standing a little too close to her, then obviously you don’t have a crime you have at worst an accident of some kind. And all I’ve varied, I haven’t varied the shape of the bat or severity of the injury, all I’ve varied is the mental state of the actor. And by varying the mental state of the actor I can take it all the way from no crime at all to attempted murder or assault with a deadly weapon. So the mental state of the actor is critical for determining the severity of the crime or if there is any crime at all. Similarly, I would say in the expressive area, what is the intent of the people as they sit around and talk? So, if their intent is to plan a criminal enterprise and they take over steps in that direction, so they aren’t just ruminating about it but they are beginning to take overt steps, that becomes a conspiracy. If the intent is to talk about this, then it wouldn’t be. Let’s take better examples than the criminal area. To take a particularly graphic example, but it’s one the Supreme Court has dealt with not long ago, when would burning a cross be protected activity and when would it be criminal activity? I think it turns entirely on the mental state of the actor. If there are members of the Ku Klux Klan who are burning a cross at the end of one of their rallies, then they are engaging in expressive activity, it happens to be expression that I find abhorrent, my guess is that you find it abhorrent as well. Nonetheless, it is expressive activity of white supremacy and in a free and open society they are allowed to express their endorsement of white supremacy ideology. On the other hand, if that cross is burned across the street from an African American family with the intent to terrorize them to cause fear in that family, then we have done something entirely different. Again, by varying the intent of the actor is the intent to communicate or is the intent to threaten?
[DLC]: When the discussion of free expression comes to college universities what is the implication of having a public vs private institution dealing with these questions?
[Lawrence]: That’s a great question and I would say that the distinction between public and private is succinctly turns out to be very little if any. It’s a big distinction in terms of how you get there, because if you’re talking about a public institution the Constitution does express the apply. Then you’re talking in terms of the first amendment and you can cite First Amendment jurisprudence and the United States Supreme Court cases interpreting the First Amendment. If we’re talking about a private college, a private university the constitution does not apply, but those schools are bound by their own rules of open inquiry, free inquiry, free expression that are essential to the nature of liberal arts and sciences and humanities and the entire nature of education. You can’t imagine a university functioning as a serious place of thought and inquiry if people aren’t allowed to express themselves. So there’s a convergence between the normative educational philosophical argument that would apply in private schools and First Amendment jurisprudence that apply in the public school context. That said, there is probably certain flexibility that private schools have that public schools don’t because in the public square there’s an overwhelming presumption in favor of free expression. You can imagine a private school saying ‘on our campus certain kinds of speech will not be permitted’ but I think every time private schools have done that they wind up getting themselves in trouble not constitutionally, but philosophically with their own basic principles.
[DLC]: And that’s the tension at the core of this discussion, as summarized in this statement from President Herbst:
[Herbst]: The core principles of our institution are rooted in intellectual pursuits based on reason, thoughtful debate, and free and open argument. No aspect of what took place on Tuesday reflected this. Why would a University allow someone like Lucian Wintrich to speak on a campus at all? Because free speech is rooted in the first amendment and is vital to our democracy. Our nation was founded on it and it is by challenging those we disagree with in a free and open environment that falsehoods can be answered with truth and right can defeat wrong for all to see and hear.
[DLC]: But there are paradoxes in play. Here’s professor Fred Lee:
[Lee]: Neither speech nor inclusion is an absolute value. If they were absolute values we would have trumps. Speech trumps inclusion or inclusion trumps speech. The very fact that we’re talking about tension and a balancing act already shows us that neither value absolute. And if neither value is absolute that means that both inclusion and speech have limits. There has to be a line there has to be a limit to the kinds of differents we will accept. There has to be a limit to pluralism. Certain things that are just considered unacceptable, things we cannot tolerate and things that are legitimately excluded if there is a real consensus around those values of diversity, inclusion, and pluralism. And you can think about this in a very simple way. How far can you tolerate intolerance? How much freedom should people who don’t value freedom have? Can we really support a difference when the difference supports driving towards sameness? So this is what I’m talking about when I’m talking about limits. And you run into these paradoxes here. How far can you go?
[DLC]: Right, so if you’re excluding someone from the mainstream from having exclusionary ideas.
[Lee]: Yes, yes that’s the paradox. And human being is not neutral. At least on my idea, human beings have values and commitments and you can try and get a little distance from that but there is no valueless and uncommitted position from above, from a god’s-eye view decide these questions.
[DLC]: By including Wintrich in the on campus dialogue in November, the College Republicans had expectations. Here’s Christopher Zins on his hopes for the event:
[Zins]: Personally speaking I attended the event to really see what kind of argument he had to present because I didn’t really agree with a lot of what he had to say at all. In fact I think a lot of people who I personally know attended just to see what he had to say. The way Tim Sullivan, the president of the College Republicans phrased at the beginning, about half the event was going to be devoted to Q&A to a debate and to a discourse. And they really wanted, if someone didn’t agree with him, to stand up and to challenge him for half of the event. And I think that that would have been the best medium for engaging this topic and truly showing where his ideas didn’t have merit. Someone could have sat there, taking notes, debating with their friends already and gone up and asked him anything that they didn’t agree with instead of simply preventing him from speaking in the first place. In the long run it could have been recorded, it could have been played over, and it could actually have been spread to a much larger audience instead of simply making UConn look like an over the top university that is going to react violently to anything they don’t agree with.
[DLC]: UConn’s adjusted student organization policies for invited speakers were implemented in January when the college republicans hosted conservative speaker Ben Shapiro.
Conservative speaker ben Shapiro
Here’s Kavya Katugam’s perspective.
DLC: So Ben Shapiro is coming to campus, and how do you feel about that?
Katugam: If I thought it was going to be an intellectual exchange of ideas, I would attend. But because I know that there isn’t a capacity for that, because of the current climate, and everyone has so much anger, I know that there’s no space for me to have a voice, so I’m not going to go.
DlC: and what would you say if there was that space?
Katugam: Honestly, I think I just wanna hear what he has to say and then ask him questions to understand where he’s coming from and try and get him to understand where I’m coming from, as someone who does support minorities and who does support feminism and does support liberals and more of a liberal way of thinking. So I would just want to ask questions, and hopefully have him ask questions, and have an actual engaged dialogue, rather than a screaming mess.
[DLC]: As Professor Lee explains, freedom of expression is valuable because it results in stronger and more valid ideas.
[Lee]: In academia, the idea has traditionally been, “You need debate to figure out what is true, or more valid. You’ve got to have people who hold one position and you’ve got to have people who genuinely disagree with that position to level the strongest possible objections in order to test the validity of the original position. Through this process of debate, we’re supposed to sharpen the original position if it happens to be true, or we’re supposed to discard the original position if it happens to be false, if it turns out to be demonstrably false. Debate, and intellectual debate, and rational debate, leads to more valid knowledge. I think there’s a different justification for political life. Deliberation in a liberal democratic society, and the assumption is if people argue for and against this proposal, and the idea is that through the process of debate, hopefully a consensus will emerge and the final decision will be agreed on by everyone, but of course that’s a little bit utopian. Or, in a more realistic case, that even if not everyone agrees with the final outcome to the deliberation, that everyone can at least understand why somebody would agree with that outcome. That the reasons are legitimate, “hey I disagree, but I see why you would hold that. And the understanding here is decisisions that go through that process of deliberation are more legitimate. So if in the intellectual justification the idea is the knowledge is more valid, in the political justification, the decisions are more legitimate, they’re more politically valid.
DLC: What’s the value of that discussion and deliberation and debate?
[Lee: It’s a testing process, and it’s also a procedure for giving us confidence in the outcome. The testing of the proposal, whether the proposal is intellectual or a policy proposal, is supposed to give us greater confidence in what results from the debate or deliberation.
DLC: In the past 150 years, American society has changed significantly. American citizenship has been extended beyond white men who own property to include Catholics, women, and people of color. The inclusion of oppressed groups into civil society is not easy. Colleges and universities must balance protecting the learning experience of all students and protecting freedom of expression and civil discourse.
Freedom of expression allows for an open debate, to generate better ideas. And on campus, “safe spaces” can help this development – if the classroom is a place for scholarly exploration, civil debate, reasoned discussion, and making mistakes, open for asking difficult questions and challenging prevailing explanations, rather than a place where students fear punishment for expressing certain views.
Here’s Sarina Bhargava,
[Bhargava]: The Lucian Wintrich talk, and how people got really offended by what he had to say, and I was offended too, I didn’t think it was a very productive conversation, wasn’t a very productive speech, but at the same time, I didn’t think it was appropriate that students were kind of stooping to his level, and chasing after his car, and doing all of that, because if we want to be better than somebody, we need to act that way. And the way that UConn represented itself at that time I was actually kind of embarrassed to be a student here, because I didn’t think it was representative of everything that I’ve learned about this campus, and everything I love about this campus.
DLC: And what are those things that you’ve learned and that you love?
[Bhargava]: I mean, the people here are really great, and I’ve had really really great discussions with them, I’ve shared some of my most personal viewpoints with them, but at that point, even though I didn’t agree with Lucian Wintrich, just knowing the campus could react like that to somebody, it made me scared to be here. It made me scared to say things that I might actually feel in the future.
DLC: So how are students, as growing leaders, as engaged citizens, as the future changemakers of the world supposed to navigate the tensions between diversity, inclusion, and free speech?
Here’s some food for thought from Joe Gatti.
[Gatti]: These are discussions that we want to have. We don’t want to just have fights with people. And this is our home, UConn, and we want to be able to show everyone that, yeah, these are our ideas, and those are your ideas, but let’s discuss what we are, and not see each other as each other’s enemies, let’s see why so many people in this country have these views and maybe we can find common ground on certain issues.
DLC: So Chris, from your standpoint, as an RA, one of the things, and UConn in general also espouses the idea of inclusivity and tolerance. As students, how do you see balancing exploring all of these ideas and including people who have historically been excluded from the dialogue?
[Zins]: So I really think that this is, once again from the RA role, a major major major component of the discussion. That a lot of people are discussing these topics for the first time when you get to college. And you have your identity, what you believe to be yourself, questioned even slightly. Myself, as a firearms owner, having someone question why I own a gun, why I would want to hunt, it’s a jarring experience at first. It’s something that no one wants to do, that we’re happy and we exist in our own realities. And that applies to every identity we have.
[DLC]: As student come in and there’s all different ranges of exposure to these ideas, to having their identities questioned, is there a way that the university can support that personal development process?
[Gatti]: I’ll start by quoting one of my favorite philosophers, Socrates, he one time said, “The unexamined life is not worth living”. What he was talking about was that people should be able to examine everything they do and have an understanding for why.
[DLC]: From my conversation with Fred Lawrence
How as an educator would you counsel students on “okay, the world is happening very very quickly, and may not be saying nice things all the time”. How do you deal with that? Does that make sense?
[Lawrence]: Yeah, no it does make sense. I think part of it is also you make clear that the university is there to support you. The university will not let somebody threaten you, they will not let somebody harm you, but they will let somebody disagree with you and they will let somebody ask really hard questions and challenge your deepest beliefs and confound you. That’s part of what it means to be at a university. One of the things that I said one time and some students took it the wrong way, but I said, “We’re not here to protect you from the world, we’re here to prepare you for the world.” And some students felt that they wanted to be protected. Well, I’m sympathetic to that, but protected in the sense of no one can threaten you, correct. But protected from the realities of the world, no, that’s not what college is for. It is to prepare you for the realities of the world. Keep in mind who we’re talking about here, we’re really not talking about a cross section of the entire society. We’re talking about young people who are privileged to be at a school of the caliber of the University of Connecticut. And with those privileges come great responsibilities. You have a role to play in the world. And to take all those positions about which you care deeply and to actualize them out into the world. This is the mirror image of what I said at the beginning about that right that you have, to actualize yourself as a human being, that’s what it means to be a human being, to express yourself. I’ll flip that around now and say in many cases it’s not just a right, but it’s a moral responsibility to exercise that right.
[DLC]: Here’s Fred Lee.
[Lee]: There are tendencies, and then there are things that we can do to change the tendency and the direction. So when I say “too soon to say” I’m also saying it’s too soon to say because it depends on us.
[DLC]: And from my conversation with Kavya Katugam.
It’s an easy line to draw, but it’s also..
[Katugam]: A hard question to answer?
[DLC]: A hard question to answer.
[Katugam]: Because if there was an answer, we wouldn’t be dealing with this problem at all.
[Katugam]: But I think communication, and dialogue, and being open to..having an open mind to other people’s ideas, whether you are conservative or liberal or somewhere in the middle or wherever you stand. That’s a starting place for it.
[DLC]: I think we should all do more listening.
[Katugam]: Yes, I agree.
[DLC]: This has been a special episode of Live and Learn, a production of the Honors Program at the University of Connecticut. I’m Danielle Chaloux.
Thank you to Susan Herbst, Fred Lawrence, Fred Lee, Chris Zins, Joe Gatti, Kavya Katugam, and Sarina Bhargava, as well as Jason McMullan, and the entire Programming and Events team. Special thanks to Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman, the authors of “Free Speech on Campus”. This production uses “Dramamine” and “Jetsam” from Podington Bear and soundofpicture.com
For previous episodes, visit honors.uconn.edu/podcast.
Welcome to Live and Learn, a production of the Honors Program at the University of Connecticut. I am Danielle Chaloux and this week we’re hearing from students and alumni at last Fall’s networking night sponsored by the student alumni association. If you’re looking to connect with fellow students and UConn grads this semester’s networking night is on Thursday, March 1st in the Alumni center starting at 6:30pm. Visit saa.rso.uconn.edu for more information.
DC: “What made you come to the networking event tonight?”
“Oh I attended the CLAS networking night and I gained a lot of information through them as well about how to connect to other people and what networking really is.”
DC: “can you define it?”
“It’s going out and creating a connection with someone else that can help guide you further in your education or in your future.”
DC: “so as someone who has the career experience, you’ve made the next step successfully- I’m presuming- how have you been able to do that? and what would you tell students that are looking at that next step?”
“Well, part of what we discussed tonight, it’s going to be at some point in your career it will be who you know and not what you know and it doesn’t hurt to listen to an opportunity. It may be an opportunity you don’t think is right for you, but it never hurts to listen. Because sometimes the perception of what you think the opportunity is about and what the reality is can be completely different. So having every chance to listen and sit down and talk and explore it is important. So I would say that in itself is great. I remember taking away from, my brother graduated, his commencement speaker said, “in your career, it’s not until you find your fifth job until you find your career” so you’re fifth stop is not where you’ll end up, but where you’ll kind of plant roots”
DC: “put all the pieces together”
DC: “And what has uconn taught you in your career”
“I’m a people-person and I think a lot of that came from the courses I took like public speaking and acting courses and brought out different traits of mine that I can use in my career every day. So I can say I took that from UConn.”
“So my biggest recommendation is to join an activity and be actively involved. There are so many student activities, you can have leadership roles, and get experience, and meet people and immediately become engaged with a group of people.
“I think don’t worry as much as you’re probably worrying right now because I think the benefit of being a liberal arts student at UConn is the fact that you have such a broad and diverse background. And embrace that and know that that actually is what the future holds for you. Employers are looking for candidates that have certain skills and what they bring to the table and they are not going to look for that niche. You don’t have to solve for everything as a freshman and a sophomore the opportunities will be there. I think if you embrace what UConn offers, by the exposure that you have, and again all that you will learn over the course of your four years, as each year progresses it’s going to become a little more clear. And even when you graduate with that degree I think you do speak to alumni members where they started out in isn’t always where they ended up.”
DC: “So where did you start?”
“Communications was my major and after failing an accounting class and realizing perhaps business is not where I want to be but that’s where I thought when I came here as a student. But then bridged into communication and from there realized I can use that as I went into marketing because, again, I was able take al lot of the skills I used here and, again, it’s things like working in a team environment, it’s being able to juggle and prioritize projects, it’s being able to articulate, being clear in how you write and how you speak. Those are just some of the core skills the university helps you refine and gives you exposure and opportunities to learn further. That’s what really takes you further, I think when you leave here with your degree you have that opportunity, no one is rigidly looking to pigeon-hole you so don’t torture yourself and do it on your own.”
“I would tell my younger self to pay attention and be more aware of what you’re looking for. Also, my younger self figure out what you want early because then you can start building up for that moment. If you start your first year and you keep building up through your fourth year you’ll eventually get what you want and I think that’s the best thing you can do.”
“A good thing you can do when going to any networking event is having questions prepared to ask the people you are speaking with so that you’re never stuck in awkward silence. If you don’t know what to say”
DC:”What questions are on your list?”
“Oh where are you from? I know someone from that area.
have you been to bla-bla-bla near that area? What do you do at your company? How long have you been at your company? And things similar to that.”
“The only thing I can talk relative to networking is…it is such a small world out there that you will run into people over and over again in your career and if you developed those connections, you are going to run into those people again. Maybe as a competitor, or as a customer, or vender, or whatever. And, you already have a relationship developed that will help you in your job. And if you don’t and if you develop a not-so-nice relationship, that can hurt you as well but the whole issue of networking can be wonderful. And, as I said, helping you in the future, you just don’t know what the future is going to bring.”
DC: “And what are you doing for work?”
“I work in human resources”
DC: “okay and so how did you get there from where you started”
“Just networking because I met a friend from here at UConn when we first started at the West Hartford branch so when I cam back from over seas I was in contact him and he helped network me a job where he used to work.”
“It’s all about the people. Regardless of what business you’re in, it’s a people-business. You’ve got to be able to deal well with people and that will be part of your success is dealing with people”
“Whatever comes your way, grasping it and going with it.”
DC: “And what have some of those opportunities been?”
“For example, I was really interested in medicine. So I was stressing out trying to find shadowing experiences, ended up working at a baking shop over the summer and the baker’s owner, her sister was a PA, so I was able to shadow an open heart surgery done by her sister and that was something just by chance, it wasn’t anything I was seeking to happen.”
DC: “So what have you learned from networking? Kind of generally”
“From networking most importantly I learned it doesn’t matter who you’re talking to because someone knows someone who knows someone or whatever they may do, if it’s not exactly what you want them to do, once you start talking to them you can change your mind about your whole career path.”
That’s all for this week, if you’re looking for a chance to win an Honors long sleeve t-shirt visit honors.uconn.edu/podcast where the code word is networking.
[Danielle Chaloux]: Welcome to Live and Learn, a production of the Honors Program at the University of Connecticut. I’m Danielle Chaloux and this week we’re hearing from students.
[Taylor Edgar]: Hello, my name is Taylor Edgar. I am a junior biology major on the pre-med track, and I am in Dr. Heather Read’s lab, researching auditory physiology and sound discrimination.
[DC]: So when you go into the lab, and you say, “Hello I’m here!”, what do you do?.
[TE]:For most of the day we’re running what we call behavior, which is the actual experiment. So the morning crew comes in and they set up all the technology, they boot the computers up, they get the rats ready. We have a set of rats that we bring up from the vivarium. Throughout the day we are bringing the rats in one by one, and putting them in what we call behavior boxes, where the experiment itself is run. They are very controlled environments. And so when you’re working your shift, you could be moving the rats in and out of behavior boxes, you could be recording data, you could be running the rats on what we call enrichment, which is where we put them in little wheels for them to run around in which is their exercise. Near the end of the day you could be weighing the rats, and calculating how much food they should be getting because they are on a food restriction diet to ensure they are motivated to actually complete the tasks that they do. But essentially throughout the day you can be doing whatever needs to be done.
[DC]: And when the rats go into the behavior box, what do they do?
[TE]:So, when they are in the behavior box, they are in this polymer cage within a much larger box, that’s soundproofed. They are essentially subject to little bouts of sound. So they have sound currently, they are in phase zero. And they essentially listen for a sound coming from the left or a sound coming from the right. And depending on where that sound is coming from, they go and tap on a little port, and if they get a sound direction correct then they are rewarded with, we give them strawberry flavor ensure, and if they are wrong then they get a little fifty second timeout where the lights come on and a little sound plays that they don’t enjoy. To initiate each trial they need to poke on a center port, so phase zero is essentially them training to discriminate between the direction of the sound.
[DC]: And what is the goal of the research? What is the question that will hopefully be answered?
[TE]: So again like I said, they are in phase zero right now. The next phase is taking away the direction of the sound, so they have to discriminate the type of sound and whether they associate it with the left or the right. Essentially, what we’re trying to do is train them to discriminate sound and once we achieve that we are going to launch into something called optogenetics, which is a new field which that essentially goes into the brain of the rat and we essentially able to inhibit certain parts of the auditory cortex and from that we’re able to see which part of the auditory cortex is controlling that sound discrimination, that ability to tell what a sound is and where it is coming from and what it means. Research into the auditory cortex, exactly what it does, what the parts do, is currently what we’re trying to achieve.
[DC]: And how did you end up in Dr. Read’s lab?
[TE]: A lot of times people on campus they, the reason they land in labs is that they’ve contacted professors, they’ve connected through the teachers they’ve had or they’ve emailed people that they’ve seen the research of and say they’re interested. And after a lot of emailing and a lot of communication, eventually they do land in a lab. I was actually connected through one of the current lab leads. She is a brother in my academic fraternity, and she knew that Dr. Read’s lab was going to lose a lot of members because they were all graduating, and she knew that I was looking for a lab and she thought I would be a good fit. So she put me in communication with Dr. Read, and that is essentially how I got the position.
[DC]: This would be another example for those out there listening of networking.
[TE]: Networking with other students, because people always think networking is, you know, with adults, people older than them that have already achieved high above. But networking can just be with your peers on campus.
[DC]: If you were to give yourself a piece of advice a year ago, or two years ago, what would be the advice you would give to your younger self?
[TE]: Well, to my younger self, I would probably tell her it’s ok to fail. Because I came from a very competitive high school, and because of that, I’m very grateful for being able to go there because it allowed me to develop the skills I needed to be in the Honors Program and to do well in school. However, it did put a weight on my shoulders when I hit college that I expected to be a straight A student just like I was in high school. And, for college, it’s a good idea and it’s a good thing to strive for, but it’s not always achievable. And it’s ok if you get a B, if you get a B-, in a class, if you get lower than that you can always retake the class if it’s really that big of a deal. And, it was a very big stressor when I was a freshman, even when I was a sophomore, that I thought I was a complete failure because I wasn’t doing as well as I did in high school. So being able to say, “Hey, it’s okay. You’re still doing well. You can still do this.” would be a good bit of advice.
[DC]: Is there a resource on campus that you would recommend to your peers? That they might not already know about?
[TE]: Specific to Honors or specific to UConn?
[DC]: No, just to UConn in general.
[TE]: I think everyone is aware of this resource, but a lot of people are hesitant to use it, as I was in my beginning years. Knowing that your professors they have office hours for a reason. And they want to see you at those office hours, because they want to see that if you don’t understand the material or if you’re a little unsure about something, they want to help you. They’re there for that, they don’t want to see you fail! For me it was very intimidating having to tell myself, “Hey you need to see a professor you can’t deal with this on your own.” So definitely seeing your professors during office hours, seeing them anytime you can.
[DC] For a minute, I’d like to go back to the idea of failure that Taylor talked about. For high achieving students, failing an exam or a class or not getting the internship you applied, even getting less than an A is devastating. I know, because I’m one of those students who didn’t get a B in anything until college, and when I saw it on my transcript I went home and cried. If this hits a little close to home, on Friday January 26th, at 4PM in Laurel Hall 306, the Honors Program is hosting a “Stay Whelmed” workshop, on failing well! Members of the enrichment team will share their own stories of failing, and we’ll be talking about finding the silver lining in failures. Attending this event counts toward Sophomore Honors. That’s all for this week, for previous episodes, and to enter in to win an Honors Program long-sleeve t-shirt, visit honors.uconn.edu/podcast, where the code word is, you guessed it, failure.
Welcome to Live and Learn. A production of the honors program of the University of Connecticut. I’m Danielle Chaloux and this is Season Two.
This week, as we welcome students back to campus, we are welcoming them back to another semester and another opportunity to get involved. We’re sharing a conversation between Christine Wilson, the Director of Student Activities and two Honors student leaders: Himaja and Colby. Here’s Christine:
Christine: Himaja, we’re going to start with you. You started to explain how Peer Allies Through Honors, PATH and what the purpose of the organization is, but I would love to hear some more about the organization, how it’s organized and some of the things the organization does.
Himaja: Absolutely. PATH is essentially made up of the mentees, which are the Honors freshman students, the mentors, which are the upperclassmen Honors students, and the coordinators that run the whole show behind the scenes. Essentially, what we do is we plan events to really bring mentees and mentors together and so we ask mentees and mentors do, at a minimum, 3 events per semester and we host a wide variety of events. Recently we hosted a cookie decorating and pumpkin painting event for PATH. That was really cool; we had a great turnout and everyone really enjoyed it. So we do a ton of cool, fun activities to initiate and help foster that bonding between mentors and mentees.”
Christine: So I’m curious about this coordinator position that you mentioned. Are these coordinators students?
Himaja: These are students, yeah. It’s been great, we have eight coordinators, we all work together. We have two event coordinators, we have marketing coordinator, which is me, and communications. we have a head coordinator, peer ally relations as I mentioned and a digital coordinator who deals with updating your facebook profile and helping to bring together mentors and mentees.
Christine: that’s great! I love the way that you’re organizing this with leadership that you’re really reimagining what it means to be an officer in a student organization. To really be more in tune with how students actually live in student organizations now. That’s great.
Himaja: Thank you.
Christine: Alright. So, Colby, would you mind talking about the Honors Council a little bit?
Colby: Honors Council is what I consider to be a general home for Honors students here on campus. So, what we do is we try to aim to make the Honors community on campus more enjoyable, more inclusive, and promote a well rounded student through Honors. We have a couple different avenues we do this through. We like to host events and through those events we provide leadership opportunities to underclassmen, through sort of similar to what PATH has through coordinator positions. So, this semester we have two positions. One through community service and one for our largest event of the year: International Night, where we are having underclassmen help us with that. We also focus on community service. Like I said, we have a community service coordinator and we are also a great connection to Honors faculty. Throughout my time here, with Honors Council I have gotten to know many of the Honors faculty and staff and they have been entirely supportive of our initiatives and are a voice for the Honors students throughout campus.
Christine: There are two things in there that piqued my interest that I’d like you to follow up on. One of them is you talked about a well rounded Honors student. What is your opinion about what “well-rounded” means?
Colby: A well-rounded student balances their coursework as well as being engaged with their community. And that can be something all the way from what we do. We’re very focused on the Honors program and giving a positive environment for Honors students. Or it could be playing on an intramural team, getting to know other people. Just being involved; not just going to your classes and it being the end of the day. You’re involved in more.
Christine: Thank you. On a big campus like this life can become so compartmentalized so quickly. Right? Your eating is separate from your working out is separate from your classes is separate from your organizations. And I really like that you’re drawing together your academic life with your extracurricular lives. I think that’s important. I’d like you each to talk about the impact of being in your student organizations on your academic work. Has it had an impact? If so, what has that been? And you can use this as practice for an interview question later because someone might as you this if you’re interviewing for a job. So, tell me about your involvement and how that helped you develop your skills. Himaja, would you like to go first?
Himaja: Yeah, absolutely. Being in PATH has definitely helped me academically in ways I probably wouldn’t have imagined at first. I would say the number 1 thing is time management for sure. It really helped me generate a skill to multitask and to make sure that I’m scheduling things right, keeping on top of things, making sure I’m doing my work for the organization. At the same time, making sure I’m putting enough time into my academics. So that definitely was an important skill that I learned just being involved in an Honors organization in general. And specifically for PATH, it’s definitely taught me a lot of leadership. Running an organization with over 200 members, mentors and mentees combined, it’s a really big organization on campus. Running the show and making sure we’re communicating effectively, we’re addressing issues that pop up, we’re really helping to give the mentors the resources to really bond with mentees. That takes a lot of leadership, planning, thought and effort and PATH has really taught me a lot of that that I applied to my academics, without even thinking about it on a daily basis.
Christine: That’s great. Sounds like it’s had a really good impact. A lot of lessons. Colby, what about you?
Colby: A lot of the same aspects. Where it’s time management or something like that and leadership working as a team. But I wanted to talk about something a little bit different. One of the things I realized that working with the Honors council is integrating policy and practical solutions to what I do. So, what I said earlier, I’m a chemical engineer and there’s a lot of disconnect between the research being done and how politicians and government officials are utilizing that in order to make effective policy. And, one of the things that i have been able to learn a little more about is policy, making decisions. In the past I have done a couple of outreach programs about Honors living and learning communities and the sophomore honor requirements. I have made a couple of surveys about that in order to poll the general population and then report back to the Director of the Honors Program to give her student opinions and data to work with to inform her decisions. My involvement in Honors Council has really pushed me to pursue an environmental policy aspect of my career that I’m not sure would have been so strong had I not decided to join newsletter my freshman year.
Christine: Himaja, let’s talk about what’s challenging in your student organization. You’ve talked about how meaningful it is, how inspirational it is, but we all know that things can be challenging sometimes. So, what’s challenging about your organization for you?
Himaja: One thing we’re trying to work on is effective communication and making sure we can document who comes to which event. So just making sure we’re properly recording attendance and giving credit to those who come. Also, making sure to properly congratulate mentees and mentors who really put in their time and effort into path to make sure both of them succeed.
Christine: So Colby, would you mind talking about a challenge, in a different way, maybe a challenge that you’ve encountered in your organization that you’ve overcome?
Colby: So, one of the challenges that I’ve tried to work on while serving as president of the Honors Council is collaboration with other Honors orgs. That has always been one of the hardest things to do. You have your own executive board, with your own idea on how an event will run, who’s going to run what part of it, who’s booking the room, who’s doing this and that. You have a set way of how you’re doing things in your organization. When you reach out to other organizations it can get a bit hairy as to “okay how much do we want to work with them on this” “oh I want to keep this part for us”. Something that we’ve worked on a bit, but still working through, is the collaboration with others. So, for example, International Night, which is an evening of cultural performances, hosted by Honors Council as well as Honors for Diversity, another student organization here on campus. we’ve been working on getting groups together, figuring out decorations, figuring out the food that’s going to be at the event, working with catering, all of that stuff. In the past this has just been an Honors Council event and last year we reached out to them to collaborate with International Night. And, we didn’t do a whole lot with them and we basically did everything the way we had done it in the past. The “status quo” International Night from our perspective and honestly sort of tacked their name on it on the side. So, this year we tried to be a bit more proactive and given them opportunity to work with us on International Night and I think it will be a great success and you’ll see the added perspective from their part at the event.
Christine: In my experience in working with student organizations, you point out one of the most difficult things. And it’s not just student organizations, I would say it’s sort of people. It’s amazing how fast a group can become its own culture and when you go to collaborate. We talk about it as “difficulty communicating” or “difficult to work together” but it really is melting two cultures and it is extremely difficult. And some days I think maybe we have 651 groups because people make their own thing, just because it’s easier than trying to join a group that already exists and I think students instinctively know this when they come to talk to us. They say “I know there’s an X, but my Y is different.” It’s easy to see for someone like me from the outside to say they’re splintering, but what I know students are trying to do is do something on their own terms. So we don’t prohibit that. But there are only so many resources so when they do go to work together, like what you’re talking about it can be challenging. Thank you for sharing that and I also appreciate your honesty in sort of articulating what happened last year and that you went down a different road this year and you had a different result.
Danielle: That’s all for this week. For past episodes and for a chance to win an Honors Program long sleeve t-shirt visit honors.uconn.edu/podcast where the code word is Martin Luther King.
Listen to Graham Stinnett, archivist at the Dodd Center, read a version of Aladdin from 1908.
Danielle: Welcome to Live and Learn, a production of the Honors Program at the University of Connecticut. I’m Danielle Chaloux, and this is a special finals episode.
Danielle Chaloux (DC): Can you please introduce yourself for me?
Graham Stinnett (GS): Sure. My name is Graham Stinnett and I’m an archivist at the Archives and Special Collections which is located at the Dodd Research Center.
DC: And briefly, what is the Dodd Center in general?
GS: So the Dodd Center is largely programming organization that oversees human rights related programs, offers awards to NGOs and folks doing work around human rights, continuing the work of Thomas J. Dodd who was in executive trial counsel during the Nuremberg Trials in 1946, as well as being a senator and a congressman of Connecticut. But more so his sort of stamp on the human rights record is kind of what the Dodd Center tries to continuously advocate for. And so there are all kinds of things. We teach classes in the Center; the Human Rights Institute is there, Judaic Studies is there, but largely, 3/4s of the building is made up of the archives and special collections.
DC: And what are archives?
GS: Just generally archives are kind of the collected memory of individuals, businesses, organizations. We, being the University of Connecticut Archives and Special Collections, we are kind of the one stop shop for all of the recorded past of the university. That’s everything from the corporate functioning of the university itself to student organizations that have recorded and documented their work over the existence of the university. And then further to that it’s kind of the one of a kind, focused collecting of objects that have enduring value—important historical objects, documents, papers, media, digital materials, etc. We kind of work in all frames of the recorded past.
DC: Can students use these materials and resources?
GS: Absolutely. So, kind of a big distinction between a library and an archive is that the only thing you can’t do is browse the stacks and you can’t check out material like you can in the library. The library has this fantastic kind of freedom to it where you can walk through the stacks, browse book by book. When you come to the archives, we kind of oversee how you handle the materials because a lot of the stuff we’ve got is very rare, fragile, old. It has preservation and handling requirements, so a lot of the stuff needs to be kind of minimally impacted by the research that we’re trying to facilitate. So, you can come in, you can browse the materials that we have online, and then you can request one of those objects, or a book, or a newspaper, or a photograph, whatever it might be. And then we’ll bring the box to you in the Reading Room which is located in the Dodd Center, and you can spend all day just kind of, you know, perusing through the research collections we have.
DC: Excellent. And so today we have a piece of one of the collections to share, and for the listeners at home, what have you brought out for us?
GS: So, this is from the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection, which is one of our larger collecting areas we have in the tens of thousands of literature books. And that ranges from very basic kids books to pop-up books to young adult literature to critiques of how children are written about or how they’re portrayed or illustrated. So today I’ve brought a copy of Aladdin from 1908 and it’s called Aladdin Or The Wonderful Lamp and Other Stories from the Arabian Nights.
DC: And so what we’ll do today is we’re gonna read the story cause we know you all have finals and are a little bit stressed so hopefully this brings you back to a nicer time of maybe lighthearted childhood.
GS: Okay, Aladdin Or The Wonderful Lamp.
GS: Once in a large city of China, there lived a boy named Aladdin, who was so lazy and careless that he would do nothing but play to the grief of his mother, who was a poor widow. One day when Aladdin was playing in the streets as usual with his idle friends, a stranger came up, and began to talk to him. He said that he was Aladdin’s uncle, and meant to do great things for him, and, kissing Aladdin many times, he asked to be taken to the house where he lived. Very much surprised Aladdin led the way to his home and told his mother the strange uncle had come to see him.
Now, the stranger was really no relation at all to the boy, but a wicked sorcerer known as the African Magician, who wished to make use of Aladdin to carry out a secret he had made. He had learnt by his arts that a wonderful magic lamp was hidden beneath the ground in a certain part of China, and knowing that if he had this treasure he would be the most powerful person in the world, he soon found out the exact spot where it lay, and made up his mind to get it. But, though he had learnt where the magic lamp was hidden, he was not allowed to take it himself. And having noticed, as he walked about the streets of the nearest city, that Aladdin was a sharp boy, he had decided to make use of him for his purpose. He soon made the poor widow believe that he was indeed the boy’s uncle, and saying that, he now meant to provide for all of his wants. He persuaded her to let him take Aladdin out for the day.
Aladdin was delighted to go, and, his pretended uncle, having bought him some gay new clothes, took him to visit the best parts of the town, and gave him many nice treats. After a while, he led him away from the city, right out into the country, saying he wished to show him a very beautiful garden. And Aladdin, though now very tired, was still ready to follow his new friend. When they came to a certain lonely place they stopped, and the magician made a fire. Throwing some incense into the blaze he uttered a few words of magic. Instantly the ground opened, showing a little cave, with steps leading down below.
“Go down those steps,” said the magician to Aladdin. “And you will find yourself in a most beautiful garden, at one end of which a lamp is burning. Bring me the lamp; we shall both be rich for life. But first of all put this ring on your finger and it will keep you safe from harm.” The magician placed a ring on Aladdin’s finger, and then the boy ran down the steps at once and soon found himself in the loveliest garden he had ever seen. On every side were trees laden with fine fruits which Aladdin fancied were made of brightly colored glass. And, thinking them very pretty, he filled his pockets and loose tunic with them, little dreaming that they were really dazzling jewels of priceless value. He soon found the lamp, burning at the top of some steps, and putting out the light he placed in carefully in his vest, and ran up the steps to the mouth of the little cave.
“Give me the lamp boy!” cried the magician impatiently. “No!” said Aladdin. “Not until you help me out of this hole.” The magician was so eager to snatch the magic lamp, that these words sent him into a violent rage, and throwing some more incense into the fire, he uttered certain words that caused the ground to close over the cave so that Aladdin was buried alive. Having thus failed to get the treasure he wanted, and not having power to open the ground a second time, the magician went back to Africa in a great rage, and poor Aladdin was left to his fate, knowing now that his pretended uncle was really a wicked sorcerer. For a long time he wept and cried out for help, but no help came. At last he clasped his hands together in despair and prepared to die.
As he clasped his hands together, however, he happened to rub the ring given him by the magician, and instantly there appeared an enormous genie, who said, “Who dost thou want? I’m ready to obey thee.” “Then get me out of this!” cried Aladdin. In a moment he found himself on the ground above, and, full of joy, he ran off home and told his mother of all his adventures. Next day, finding there was nothing to eat in the house, Aladdin said he would sell the old lamp he had bought from home an evening before. But just as his mother began to rub it up, to make it a little cleaner, there suddenly appeared another hideous genie, who said, “What dost thou have? I am ready to obey thee.” “Bring us something to eat” said Aladdin. Instantly the genie brought a fine feast set out on rich dishes of silver and then he vanished. Aladdin and his mother sat down to this feast with great delight, and afterwards, by selling the silver dishes one by one, they were able to live in comfort for a long time.
Aladdin now began to improve very much, leaving off his idle ways and growing into a sensible young man, and as he made it his business to talk with merchants and wise men, he learnt much from them and soon found out the real value of the jewel fruits he had brought from the underground garden. It was about this time that Aladdin first saw the sultan of China’s only daughter, the beautiful Princess Badroulbadour, and falling in love with her at once he made up his mind to marry her. So one day he sent his mother to the royal palace with a dish full of the precious fruit jewels. Telling her to present these to the sultan as a gift from him, and to ask the Princess’s hand in marriage at the same time.
After going to the court for several days, Aladdin’s mother at last was brought before the sultan, and laying her gift at his feet, she asked him to allow his daughter to be married to her son, Aladdin. The sultan was delighted with the dazzling gems, and he said if Aladdin would send him forty golden basins full of the same kind of fruit jewels, carried by forty black slaves led by forty white slaves, and would also provide a splendid palace for her to live in, he should certainly be married to the princess. When Aladdin had heard what the sultan had said he took the wonderful lamp and rubbed it hard. Instantly the genie appeared and asked his commands. Aladdin told him what he required, and the genie vanished, but soon returned with forty golden basins of jewels, forty black slaves, and forty white slaves. Aladdin at once sent the slaves with the golden basins to the sultan, and then he desired the genie to bring him a handsome suit of jeweled trimmed clothes, fit for a king, a splendid horse to ride upon, and forty richly dressed slaves to attend on himself. He also ordered gorgeous robes and slaves to be brought for his mother. And then the genie instantly carried out his commands. Aladdin then dressed himself in his glittering garments and rode in great state to the palace, where he was received very kindly by the sultan, who promised that the marriage should take place directly, he had provided a suitable palace for the princess to live in. So, when he returned to his home at night, Aladdin once more called up the genie, and ordered him to build a gorgeous palace, with walls of solid gold, and windows, doors, and pillars, all covered with precious gems, and to set it up in the open space opposite the royal palace.
Next morning, the golden palace was ready, it’s dazzling jewel windows glittering to the sunlight and when Aladdin entered he found it completely furnished in splendid style, with lords, ladies, and slaves in attendance, with great treasure of gold and silver laid only in a secret place known only to himself. The sultan was now perfectly satisfied, and that very day, Aladdin was married to the beautiful Princess Badroulbadour. He was very happy indeed, and lived the life of a splendid prince. But trouble was yet in store for him.
The wicked African magician was still alive, and having learnt by means of his arts of all that had happened to Aladdin, he made up his mind to try once more to obtain the magic lamp. So, he came back to the capital of China, and soon thought out a cunning plan. Learning that Aladdin was away hunting, he dressed himself up as a poor merchant, and buying a basket full of small lamps, he went from street to street crying out, “New lamps for old lamps! Old lamps for new lamps!” He soon made his way to Aladdin’s palace where he was seen by one of the princess’s ladies, who said to her mistress, “A foolish fellow outside is giving away new lamps in exchange for old ones. Shall I give him that rusty old lamp in Prince Aladdin’s room, and get a nice new one for it?” The princess, having no idea of the real value of the magic lamp, answered, “Yes. It down at once by all means.” The attendant did so, but no sooner had the cunning magician snatched the old lamp from her, then he rubbed it hard, and the genie appeared. “Carry me and Aladdin’s palace with all inside it to the middle of Africa!” cried the magician. And instantly his command was obeyed.
When Aladdin returned from hunting next day, he was full of dismay to find that his palace and beautiful princess had disappeared, and, guessed it once that this was the work of the wicked magician. The sultan was in such a rage that he declared that Aladdin should be killed unless his daughter was soon restored. Aladdin set off at once to look for his princess and palace, but, finding his search in vain, he had at last flung himself down in despair on the bank of the river, thinking that he might as well drown himself. In his grief he had forgotten the wonderful powers of his magic ring, but as he laid by the river he had happened to rub the ring, and instantly there appeared the same genie he had seen in the cave. Aladdin was delighted to see the genie, and he said at once, “Set me down beneath the window of the princess’s room in my palace, wherever it may be.” Directly as he had spoken, he found himself in the midst of a lonely plain in Africa, outside his own splendid palace. He soon made his way to the room of the princess, and, full of joy, they rushed into each other’s arms. The magician was, happily, in another part of the palace, so Aladdin and the princess were able to arrange a plan in getting rid of him. Having settled everything, Aladdin hid himself behind the curtains, and, then the princess sent out one of her ladies to invite the magician to come to a little feast with her. The magician came in good time, looking quite delighted for, until now, the princess had refused to have anything to do with him, and he wished above all things to win her favor. And directly he arrived, a grand feast was served.
The princess chatted and laughed, pretending to be very friendly with the magician, and presently she offered him a cup of wine, in which a deadly poison had been mixed by Aladdin. The wicked magician dazzled by the smiles of the beautiful princess, drank off the wine at once, and instantly he fell over on the couch, quite dead. Aladdin now rushed forward, and, searching amongst the dead magician’s clothes, he found to his great joy the magic lamp. He rubbed it at once, and when the genie appeared he commanded him to set the palace down again in its proper place in the capital of China. This was instantly done. And when the sultan looked out of his window next morning, he was full of surprise and joy to see Aladdin’s dazzling palace, standing in its place once more. He quickly went to embrace his beloved daughter, and rejoicing for her safe return were kept up all over the country for a long time. And now that the wicked magician was dead, Aladdin was safe from harm and the sole master of the wonderful lamp, and he and his beautiful Princess Badroulbadour lived happily together to the end of their lives.
DC: The end!
GS: And what the listeners couldn’t see were some of the illustrations that came along with it. So there’s one, subtitled “The genie carries Aladdin’s palace into Africa.” and it’s kind of a gaunty man with leather straps on his feet and his shins and he’s got a big, winding robe up around him that ultimately comes up onto his head and he’s carrying off this gigantic pagoda looking palace over what is probably the Nile. There are camels, there are elephants, there are little lions, lionesses, around the banks of this river. The coloration is kind of a cross fade of psychedelic greens and blues and purples. It’s kind of basic but that’s one of the only colored images in the book.
DC: So if you’re interested in learning more about archives, what are some resources you can check out?
GS: Well one of them is the podcast I’m working on that is hosted at whus.org, and it’s called D’Archive. Every week I interview somebody who does research in archives or works in an archive or a library, someone who is a specialist around materials that we have. And I play audio samples from our collections which are kind of hard to listen to often. Things have come from real to real tape or come from cassette or vinyl, so having to do that electronic migration of a lot of the media is the work of an archivist, basically. Having to make sure that things are still accessible to this day, even though that media is slowly disintegrating. So that’s something you can check out, and it’s a weekly feature. We also do exhibitions, come on by the Dodd Center if you can! Archives and special collections are open Monday to Friday, there’s always somebody there to answer reference question or to chat about the great stuff that we have.
DC: Excellent. Thank you so much.
GS: Thank you.
DC: That’s all for this semester. We’ll be back in the spring with the next season of Live and Learn!
[Danielle Chaloux]: Welcome to Live and Learn, a production of the Honors Program at the University of Connecticut. I’m Danielle Chaloux, and this is Episode 8 for the week of November 13th. Dr. Nicholas Leadbeater of the Department of Chemistry will be hosting a Lunch & Learn on Tuesday, Nov. 14th, at 12:30 PM in the Buckley Classroom. All majors are welcome to join Dr. Leadbeater in an informal conversation over lunch. RSVP at honors.uconn.edu/lunchlearn. And on Thursday, Nov. 16th, stop by the Student Union Theater at 7 PM to hear from the Pollinators Protection Panel, featuring beekeepers, professors, and the state apiary, talking about the necessity of bees and how to save them.
[DC]: This week we’re talking Education Abroad with Katie Ouimette, a junior Art major and global student mentor in the Study Abroad Office. Katie has recently returned from Australia and speaks about her experience. We’ll also hear from Matt Yates, the associate director of Education Abroad.
[DC]: What is the importance of Study Abroad?
[Matt Yates]: It’s very important in this day and age. We all know that this world is very globalized and that there are a lot of different, competing ideas and perspectives and cultures, and in order to make sense of that, it’s important to engage, not to pull back. It doesn’t matter what your perspective is and your personality if you’re not really somebody who is a people person or you don’t really see yourself going out a lot, that’s fine, because there are so many ways to engage with difference: difference of opinion, difference of religion, difference of language, no matter what you’re studying, you can find a way to globalize that. And that’s important of course, not only for the practical things of getting a job but to become a better person. We have an ethical obligation to work with other people, we don’t live in a world where we can get to do whatever we want, for better or worse. And so we should do right by them, we can only do right by them if we talk with them, if we engage with them, if we get to know who they are as people. Going abroad isn’t necessarily just about taking classes in your discipline, which I hope people do, that’s great! They can make academic progress towards a degree, they can take languages that will give them practical skills to get jobs, but it’s also really about learning who you are as a person, and how to ethically act towards others in a way that will help this world become a better place.
[DC]: And what about Honors students specifically? Can you earn Honors credit abroad?
[MY]: Yes, that is possible. We do have some programs that are more geared towards Honors students, so that’s something that advisors can help recommend to students depending on what they’re looking into, but yes that is possible.
[DC]: And what about thesis research?
[MY]: I would be more than happy to help students try to find programs in which they can do that. Research can often be very customized, right? So, it’s maybe more a matter of doing a impending study, network with faculty members, and then, not necessarily “studying abroad” but going abroad and registering with our travel registry so that you get insurance and are connected with the resources that you need in order to be successful and save for when going abroad.
[DC]: For a student who is maybe just starting out their UConn career, what advice would you give them, specifically regarding Education Abroad?
[Katie Ouimette]: My first piece of advice would be going to talk to your academic advisor and let them know that that is in your mind, so then you can plan accordingly and then you can know what program you want to go on and what program will offer the course you want to take while abroad, a lot of people, plan to take their gen eds abroad so that they don’t have to worry about taking their specialized classes in their course. So that, really just planning ahead and letting all of your advisors know, and even coming in and talking to a Study Abroad advisor, they’re more than open to talking to people who are years ahead from studying abroad.
[MY]: Talking about students who come in and I’ve talked with a lot of juniors and seniors in high school who say “I know in my second semester of my junior year I want to do this program” and like wow you’ve done a lot of research and you know exactly what you want to do, there are students like that. And then there are students who, one of the best students I have ever worked with was a student at Kansas State who came into the office the day before the deadline to apply to one of our most intense academically challenging exchange programs in Australia. And he completed the application on time and went and got scholarships for a lot of the programming he worked on while in Australia. He’d liked to say he came back with “down one penny” because he had enough scholarships and work while he was there, he was able to cover the costs of not only his program but also the traveling he did while he was there, so you don’t have to plan everything out to be a successful student is my point. It’s great if you do, and that’s what we’re here for, we’re here to talk about that process, the strategic process, it’s best that you do, I recommend that you do try to think things out and that’s what we’re here for too. If the moment strikes and you feel like the opportunity is there, come talk to us we can definitely see what we can do.
[KO]: That’s another thing I noticed. I was one of those students who was not together at all. I had no clue where I wanted to go, I know that I wanted to abroad, I’ve been thinking about going abroad my whole life, but I just waited and waited until the deadline, so you have to be flexible, and you have to think “Ok, I can’t go to Barcelona so where should I go?”, and I waited and waited so that a ton of deadlines were passed, so I kind of ended up in Australia, and I went and had an amazing time. So really being flexible and sometimes things don’t go to plan, even if you do plan ahead years in advance.
[DC]: What would you say to students who are on the cusp of leaving to start their semester, year, or experience abroad?
[KO]: I think one of the cliche things people always say is “never say no” and always be open to experience, and when someone says “Oh, do you want to go try this weird food”, try it! If they ask you to go on some trips say, “yes of course I’ll go” or “of course, I’ll try it” because you’re never going to get that chance again, and if you do it might be a little different, and to always take every opportunity that you can.
[MY]: I think that’s very well said, I would definitely jump on the food piece, I’m a big foodie, and part of the reason why I love Education Abroad so much is because I love to try new things, and to talk about that. And that’s something that I worked with with my students when I was teaching them at Kansas State was that I asked them to try different foods in Hong Kong and in Paris, two very very different cities, and to discuss it, because food is a very social thing, it’s something that we all have to engage in. Katie was saying earlier how it’s in the small things that you kind of have culture shock in, based on unknown assumptions I think that’s dead right, because another topic, not just food, that I like to talk about with students is, because we can all relate to it and it’s also kind of fun, is toilets. Like how to flush a toilet when you’re going abroad can be so different and force you to challenge you to think about something you never really thought about. In the states, for most of the toilets you just flush, right? But you may be prompted to think about how to do that when you’re abroad. And that can be uncomfortable and unsettling but it can also be exciting because this is something that I never thought about before. This is a way in which the culture is formatted, for whatever reason, has a different approach. Food is the same way, sleeping habits, when people eat, all the different things that go into our lives that we don’t have to think about are brought to our attention full force whenever we’re abroad and that can be very unsettling but also incredibly exciting and it makes you become a lot more open to experiences and open to other people’s stories, and doing right by them, and helping the world become a better place.
[DC] If you’re thinking about studying abroad, there are options that work for almost any constraint. The Education Abroad Office in Rowe 117 is a great resource to ask the questions you’re worrying about. Live and Learn visited the Puerto Rican and Latin American Cultural Center (PRLACC), located on the fourth floor of the Student Union. We spoke with two undergrad student workers, Ashley Amaro and Stephanie Andrade about the programs and community of the cultural center.
[AA] Our programs are usually student run and they do give more of an idea of what you can do to better yourself as an individual and to give you more of an idea that you are as capable as anyone else on this campus to get as far as you want to. And it’s giving you that motivation to push yourself further while also giving you that community that’s also pushing you forward. You can come if you want to expose yourself to different cultures around the world and embrace all the different parts of Latin America. We do have another program called Cafe con Leches where we have a guest speaker come in and we talk about social issues or we talk about things that impact a person’s life on campus.
[SA]: One of the biggest things is that we want to be a resource to people so we even smaller things, we had one just recently which was “How to Apply to Jobs as a LatinX Student”, the kind of things you want to say on your resume, like your second language, they try to teach you on how to emphasize that, especially the LatinX community, but could be absolutely anyone.
[AA]: The community is very family like, you have someone to talk to at any point in time that’s not going to judge you for any decisions you made or the classes you take or for switching your major five or six times, or even if you had a bad grade on your exam and you’re questioning who you are, there are people there who are going to motivate you. You can be of any ethnicity, of any culture, you can be somebody who’s never dropped by the center before, and you just need someone to talk to, they are there for you. How we can make you feel comfortable, knowing that when you’re comfortable and you are relying on people around you, you do the best that you can be. Being a part of this campus, it’s not just making it past your academics, it’s about making bonds that will last a long time.
[SA]: It’s very diverse. I want people not to think that they come in and they’re going to find one kind of LatinX student, and it’s not like that, they are so different. Typically there’s always music or talking and you can also find all sorts of majors and stuff like that, and that’s one of my things that you find all sorts of different kinds of people in the center and they’re always welcome to help you. I get to work with people who are genuinely driven to try and help people. Recently we just had a meeting and we talked about how we can help Puerto Rico with everything that’s happen and I think that’s amazing that I’m a part of something much bigger.
[AA]: This is a center that is so dedicated to helping the society around them and helping the communities within the LatinX community, and the drive to help other people. We see how we’re all working together to make sure they get to what their goals are, and that’s my favorite part of the center, it’s knowing that they want the best for me. They’re going to do whatever they can, and what’s in their power, to get whatever I need, and I reach my goals.
[DC]: That’s all for this week. To provide feedback and to enter to win a limited edition Honors Program long sleeve t-shirt, visit honors.uconn.edu/podcast where the code word is GLOBAL.
[Danielle Chaloux]: Welcome to Live and Learn, a production of the Honors Program at the University of Connecticut. I’m Danielle Chaloux, and this is Episode 7 for the week of November 6th. On Tuesday, November 7th, at 5PM in Laurel Hall 201, Dr. Erin Cox from Counseling and Mental Health Services will discuss strategies and tips to manage stress levels, perfectionism, and demanding schedules. We’ve heard from Dr. Cox in Episode 3, so check that out for a teaser. This week, we’re going to get a peek into ANTH 2400: Analyzing Religion. It’s an Honors Core class taught by Jocelyn Linnekin. Here’s Professor Linnekin.
[DC]: Can you provide a brief overview about what that class is?
[Jocelyn Linnekin]: This is the course where I, um, mess with their minds as much as I possibly can. I want to make them rethink, push, probe, everything they ever thought about religion. It’s very wide ranging, it’s challenging, but I think I guide the students through very well. It’s very excited because with Honors students you have a tremendous amount of discussion and they’re smart. It’s great fun!
[DC]: And what are some of the topics in this wide-ranging course that you’re covering?
[JL]: I start out with, what is religion, and I ask if religion has to be theistic, do there have to be deities, do there have to be supernatural beings? So we start out with various definitions of religion. And rather quickly move into different famous scholarly approaches to and rejections of religion. I rather like putting Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, alongside anthropologists,and the K’iche’ Maya Book of the Dead. It’s intended to be a juxtaposition of very different sorts of sources but, having Freud and Marx and Nietzche and the Christian mystic Gregory of Nyssa, and Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, just go home and tell them you’re reading THAT, they’re going to know the tuition is worth it.
[DC]: What’s the importance of this course?
[JL]: My pitch for this class initially was that there are few institutions that are more implicated in today’s crises, conflicts, politics, one hardly needs to say, religion is implicated in so many arenas of life globally from one end of the earth to another. That the wide ranging nature of this course, I hope makes them better world citizens, better informed, better able to understand conflicts that seem overtly religious but actually there are always underlying claims that could be ethnic or national or based on territory.
[DC]: And from a student perspective, here’s Nathan Friday, a sophomore studying Biomedical Engineering with minors in Math and Computer Science and Engineering.
Last semester you took an Honors Core class.
[Nathan Friday]: Yup.
[DC]: What course did you take?
[NF]: The course I took was ANTH 2400: Analyzing Religion, and it’s really, I don’t know, I really liked the course just in general because it felt very different than a lot of the other courses I’ve been taking up until that point.
[DC]: How is it different?
[NF]: Just in terms of engagement, assignments, and expectations in the classroom I think. So, you know, we had a lot of expected readings that we’re supposed to do, so that we could come to class prepared to talk about whatever concepts she wanted to bring up. She really focused on bringing up a wide range of examples for each concept that we talked about, despite the fact that it was kind of a point of the class that it’s very difficult to make broad assumptions about any particular belief system. There is an interesting element to that, that you can talk about things in a general sense but we also had this caveat that nothing applies to everything universally.
[DC]: At the end of the semester, when you looked back at the class, and you said, “Oh, you know, in my ANTH 2400 class, this is what I learned.”
[NF]: What I learned exactly from it? Oh, man. I would say that I learned an appreciation for the anthropological method more than anything else, you know, understanding the role of ethnography, that kind of thing, where somebody goes into the field and does work with these people who are completely different from them in some senses. And, it really comes away with a different understanding, and you can spread that to other people, and help expand our view of the world.
[DC]: And how did this class square with your very science heavy major coursework.
[NF]: It was refreshing, honestly. The previous semester I had taken a presidential election class as one of my UNIVs, and, I liked the break from the science sometimes, you know, because I do like politics, religion, I like those topics and I like talking to people about that. I like the interaction you can get in those kinds of classes. It’s why I’m taking a modern drama class this semester, is that I like that interaction you can get. It doesn’t happen as much in the science heavy courses.
[DC]: How will you apply the things you’ve learned in these classes that are nothing like your major to your major?
[NF]: I don’t know if I feel like I have to apply to my major, I feel like it makes me a more well-rounded person just in general. And I think that benefits me.
[DC]: Here’s another sophomore student, Nandan Tumu, studying Computer Science and also took ANTH 2400 last semester. Is there value in that interdisciplinary nature?
[Nandan Tumu]: I think there is enormous value in it, personally, I think that no matter how much of the sciences or how much of the field you know, everything boils down to people. At the end of the day you’re going to be working with people. The products you make are going to serve people. And your users are always going to be people. You’re going to work with people to create everything you create. Understanding religion, something so critical to how people carry on their daily lives, is I think important to understand. Because, if you do understand that,if you understand where people are coming from, you can build deeper connections with them, you can understand their drive, you know, what makes them tick.
[DC]: What’s the biggest takeaway you had at the end of the semester when you kind of had that moment of reflection on, “Well, I learned a lot this semester.” What was the thing that stood out for this class.
[NT] How much of an understanding I’d gained of other religions. There’s a lot of source text we read in that class. And, when we discuss it in class, I think that, our understanding of the material is deep in a way that’s unlike any non-Honors class I’ve taken. What we read and how we discuss what we read really makes a difference in terms of an Honors Core, because the discussion is not surface level, it goes deeper than that. The thoughts that your classmates bring to the table are sometime ones you never thought of before. And Professor Linnekin’s method of teaching the class I think really furthers students’ understanding of religion as a whole.
[DC]: Live and Learn spoke with the Women’s Center about what they do on campus, how to get involved, and what the cultural centers can do to help the student population be more aware of the world around them.
[Stephanie Goebel] My name is Steph Goebel, I’m the outreach committee chair for the Women’s Center here at UConn. The Women’s Center was created to establish gender equity here at the University of Connecticut, so it came out of campus activism, activism around equality in access to the field house, equality for university professors who weren’t receiving tenure on the basis of gender, just to continue to make sure that we’re educating the student body on what gender equity is and how they can help and pursue that as students here at UConn and then as they go into the greater world, achieve that in the spheres of influence after the university. It’s also to make sure that the university is holding themselves accountable to that equal treatment of everybody regardless of gender. They are able to create programs that address topics of gender-based violence, gender-based issues like pay equity, one thing we’re very focused on is campus safety, so they do things like the SlutWalk, and then they have the Speak Out afterward. And then we talk about different issues pertaining to what it’s like to be a woman on this campus, what it’s like to be a man on this campus as well. So they’ve got the Men’s Project which focuses on masculinity and the role that plays in young men’s lives here at the university and how masculinity influences the way you think about so many things. It’s also focused on making sure we’re not exclusionary in our work, that our work isn’t sexist or that it’s not classist and that we’re working within that to make sure we’re achieving goals on that sort of multi-dimensional level because everything is sort of interconnected.
[DC]: So what is gender equity, as a definition?
[SG]: It’s being treated in everybody’s eyes, regardless of gender, especially as a university student or somebody who teaches here that you’re going to be treated on the basis of your work, rather than your gender.
[DC]: And the Women in STEM program, what does that involve?
[SG]: That’s run by my friend Kavya. She runs it like this mentorship program, so you’re assigned another student who’s going to be your mentor in that program. It’s for younger students who are in that Woman in STEM program, and to make sure these women feel comfortable in the field that they’ve chosen, that they continue on with it. Especially, as a woman, when you’re one of the only women in the classroom. And I think it sort of encourages you, that yes it is hard but it can be done, and I’ve done it before and I’m so passionate about it and I love it so much now.
[DC]: What advice would you have for students who are maybe just starting their UConn career.
[SG]: I think it’s really about knowing yourself, finding out what your interests are, and being ok with that you don’t have something to fill every box, that if you’re passionate about something, run with it. And that your free time is so important, that element of self care is so important, it’s more important than your resume or how long it is. I think that coming to UConn, I would hope to tell myself, to take it slow and dive in headfirst, and experience and understand that you don’t have to be perfect.
Coming to the Women’s Center, coming to one of the Cultural Centers, figuring out how your identity plays into the work that you do here and how it informs the education you’re getting here, how it informs the work that you’re eventually going to do, understanding the intersection of your identities, because the Cultural Centers aren’t just for people who are of that identity, it’s for everybody to learn more about those cultures.
[DC]: That’s all for this week, stop by honors.uconn.edu/podcast and enter for a nifty long-sleeve t-shirt with the code word “self-care”.