The term “global citizen scholar” is one used at the University of Cincinnati (UC) Honors College, and its definition depends on who is asked. To me, it means one who uses their knowledge and experience to change the world around them for the better. Whether that world is their community, their nation or the planet, it does not matter. As long as they make a positive change to society, they are considered a global citizen scholar.
This past year, I was part of a group of students that not only helped to determine the purpose for the Honors College but also how to improve it so that students may enjoy it more. Through collecting data from the past decade through the Honors College database, and asking the current honors students, we were able to determine the areas that the Honors College could improve on by providing recommendations. This allowed me to become at least some part a global citizen scholar because I was able to reach out to my peers and help them so that they may have a more enjoyable college experience while also helping myself in understanding why I am here in the first place. I spent all spring 2018 semester working on this project and it really benefited me and the Honors College. Hopefully, our recommendations will go into effect next year so that incoming students will have a great first year and returning students will see the change that we caused. I definitely want to see this change because UC is my world right now and my main focus so for me so it would be very satisfying to know I helped make my college better, and I know I have four more years to do that and I am very excited.
My freshman year as an honors student was confusing at first because it was so loosely defined as to what was expected of us, but now I understand why it is. We are to shape our own future and our own definitions of global citizen scholars, and I started to understand that in my second semester. I will further this understanding next year with my new experiences so I can build onto my global citizen scholar resume. My goal next year is to reach out to more than just my community and try to spread my knowledge to people in different places, outside of my normal comfort zone. I cannot wait to start a new chapter in my life in this upcoming semester.
There are many complex problems, or "Wicked Problems," in this world which lead to many issues and have undefined solutions. With these problems, there is more than one source that causes these issues which makes solving these Wicked Problems very difficult. In order to better understand Wicked Problems, I participated in a course at UC called Sticky Innovation which studied the use of Arts Based Research through the context of bees and their plight. This course focused on the many issues with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which is when the entire hive dies due to an unforeseen cause, and their effects on the environment.
Before taking this course, I had known about CCD but aside from that did not understand the causes or its impact. I wanted to learn more, and through the Honors College I was able to research the history of CCD and its many causes along with steps to be taken to help prevent it in our hives. Throughout the semester, the class visited apiaries around Cincinnati and spoke with professionals on the matter to build our knowledge. We read material and books on CCD, one of which was told from the perspective of the bee, to understand the causes of CCD, which can be attributed to the "four p's" - poor nutrition, pesticides, parasites and pathogens. While these seem simple, each category contains many issues which could lead to a colony dying. For example, one of the greatest threats is monoculture, or the growing of one crop over many acres. This occurs in California where the almond plantations have been located for years. Besides this, there are many other environments the bees are put in that contribute to their eventual hive collapse.
Although the main focus of the class was the bees, the twist it provided was that the topic of bees was just a medium to also study Arts Based Research, which has recently become more popular and provides a new lens to study a topic. The idea is instead of gathering quantitative data and presenting it via an article for example, the researcher would create an art piece to display their findings. Studying the bees allowed us to delve into Arts Based Research and study these creatures from a new perspective. To get an idea of what the class studied and created throughout the semester, click on the "Sticky Innovation" or "Honors Experiences" tab above.
After taking this class, I was inspired to learn more about the bees and help in whatever way possible. Because of this, I plan on joining the UC Beekeeping student organization on campus which helps create hives among other projects for the bee population in Cincinnati.