(01/06/2018) Now that the conference has ended I have had some time to reflect on my experience. I had the pleasure of spending two lovely days in Hawaii while attending the Hawaii University Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education Conference. During this time I gave my first presentation in front of professionals on a research paper I wrote during my senior year. The paper focused on an underlying topic I saw throughout many of my philosophy classes through my years studying. This concept was the issue that morals fluctuate and can cause immoral acts to take place due to this fluctuation. This being my first scholarly conference I most certainly learned a lot of new skills and had a new experience that I hope to have more of in the future. Giving my speech made me get out of my comfort zone, and learn how to be professional in presenting my work as well as engaging with other professionals. I will use these skills and connections I made to further my future now that I have graduated from college. During the two days I was able to attend many interesting sessions and learn information that I would have never known about. Through this learning I was able to connect these ideas that were presented with concepts that I had learned in the past, which was an exciting experience. Going to this conference not only allowed me to become more professional, but it also gave me the opportunity to learn so many new things in various disciplines I am so grateful that I got to experience a professional conference and present my research. It was overall a very humbling and crucial experience to top off my undergraduate college career.
Going into Feminist Camp, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. I was excited and somewhat overwhelmed with the large list of activities we would be doing and places we would be going in such a short period of time, all of which grabbed my attention in some form. Somehow, Feminist Camp impacted me more than I ever thought it would. From the community of the camp overall to the new relationships with campers to the multitude of networking possibilities I received, I felt that the camp was very beneficial to my education.
Blog Post #1
My first day attending the Net Impact conference in San Jose, California was absolutely eye opening. From the beginning we heard from incredible business professionals from all different industries. Over 2,500 people attended the conference from undergraduate/graduate students to current business professionals. The conference had a mission of creating a space to inspire everyone to create change, innovate and explore new concepts. One of the most interest concepts that I encountered was the idea of two winners of the 2013 Hult Prize. The two winners were two Canadian entrepreneurs who started the idea of a farming industry that involved the cultivation of insects for food. The insects would then be used as a way of combatting hunger in many countries that have already adopted the consumption of insects in their diets. An idea like this absolutely astounded me. Something so simple yet filled with potential of creating incredible impact on the lives of millions. My first day in San Jose was outstanding, as the energy of the Silicon Valley seemed to provide me with innovative energy. Another speaker that really stood out to me was the Founder of Kiva, Premal Shah. A young man with a brilliant idea has created so many drastic changes in the world. Currently I have invested a small $50 into a Kiva account. If only 1,000,000 other people in this country could make a small donation the impact would be incredible.
Blog Post #2
My second day at the conference left me with various thoughts of how I could act upon what I have learned at my time in Silicon Valley. After sitting through a speaker session with the CEO and Founder of AirBnB something came to me. This world is filled with so much opportunity how do we make sure every human being is capable of being successful. I have reservations about companies like Kiva who invest their funds into microenterprises, but do not educate in financial management or business principles. Upon deciding this was a fault in the system, I decided to take this idea and run with it. How do we educate others to be financially literate? Energized by Silicon Valley I decided to do something innovative, fresh, and technologically savy. A website dedicated to the education of families in how to manage their money. Having grown up in a lower middle class family and seeing my family struggle because of a lack of financial education inspired me to want to educate others on basis financial principles. At this point in the conference I had been sufficiently inspired by the speeches of great people like Blake Mycoskie of Toms, Caryl Stern of UNICEF and Nancy Lublin of Dosomething.org. I wanted to turn my education into action. I plan on pursuing my plan of developing a business model for an app or website committed to teaching financial literacy in an interactive way. Although financial literacy is not unique, I hope to find a way to inspire students and families to want to learn about taking care of their money, their families and being financial stable.
One of the most fascinating sessions I attended was “Author v. Audience: Whose Needs are we Addressing?”. Based on research by two undergraduates from Grand Valley State University, the session applied Linda Flower’s theory on reader-based and writer-based prose to writing consultant questioning strategies.
According to Flower, all writers start out writing for themselves—writer-based prose—and have to rewrite and mentally shift their audience in order to write well with their audience in mind, creating reader-based prose. This is a process that all writers must go through. I was familiar with Flower’s work because I read her article in Language Studies and Intro to Professional Writing, and I researched the educational theories behind her ideas in Educational Psychology.
Fisher and Worm, the two students running the session, renamed “writer-based prose” to “author-based prose” and “reader-based prose” to “audience-based prose.” They then divided these two ideas into four overall questioning categories typically used by writing consultants: author-based content, audience-based content, author-based form, and audience-based form.
After noting where every question at every session at their writing center fell on this spectrum, they found a few patterns. First, most consultants seemed to start out asking author-based content questions (What do you want to write about?) and then shifted into audience-based form questions or comments (You need a comma here.). Along with this general shift, consultants often started out with facilitative discussion questions before shifting into directive statements.
During the discussion that followed their presentation, we realized that, ideally, most consultations will go through all four-stages, starting with author-based content, then audience-based content, then author-based form, and finally audience-based form (forming a “Z” on the above chart). Shorter sessions often jump from start to finish due to limited time or resources.
By forcing consultants to think about their questioning processes, we are forcing ourselves to step back and analyze what our clients may lose by us only focusing on certain types of questioning strategies. The session allowed me to start asking my clients different types of questions and created a great discussion at our next Writing Consulting team meeting as well.