Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Symposium

What can I say? Going back to Brown for the symposium was a great experience. Everything I learned over there will definitely benefit me in the future, and help me with my project. Being able to get the feedback and new sources of information from the alumni and Brown staff has really given me the chance to see what I can achieve. They have also provided me with information that will help me with the project. i enjoyed being able to go back; the atmosphere is totally different from Richmond, it's very calming and relaxed. Another thing is you can really see what a real autumn should look like! It is a wonderful sight.
I found that I really like psychology, I think it is very interesting to find out how the mind works, and I would not have been able to actually go into a Social Psychology class had it not been for Robin Rose. She has put a lot of great effort into the Leadership Institute, and I really want to thank her for her hard work. Besides being able to reconnect with old friends from our session, i met a bunch of new people who I hope to keep in contact with. Every aspect of Brown draws me closer to it, the more I go, the more I want to stay. I know that one day I can look back on the days that I have spent at Brown and say that I am truly lucky to have this opportunity. just a few of those friends.
This is a picture of us girls and Monique, she has also put a lot of effort into the Symposium and Leadership Institute. This picture was taken at our last dinner together.
The memories I have at Brown will never be forgotten, and all the knowledge that i acquired over there will always be put to good use. I thank everyone who has made it possible for the students of WCCUSD to attend Ivy League Colleges. It is a great experience and gives many students the confidence that it takes for them to make it.

P.s. Sorry for the late post, I had technical difficulties, but

Monday, November 10, 2008

Back Home!

It has been an awesome experience at Brown University once more. Being able to meet with 
friends both new and old, seeing the campus, exploring the stores, taking part in  actual college lectures, seeing the college dorms, and most importantly, getting motivated in my capstone project. I believe that since I was really booked with a lot of work, I did not organize my time to work on my project. I found out that my style of leadership needs to start at a smaller goal and then expand. I was not really clear before on what I wanted to do,but it included the spreading of awareness as well as make donations towards Heifer International, and I hope to still achieve this in due time. Currently though, I have been really inspired by some of my fellow peers in the Symposium to direct help towards schools. I am still not fully sure to what approach I want to take, but I am definitely more aware of this project, and shall not push it away. I want to first look at some schools in need of supplies of some sort, and then I shall try to give what I can though fundraising and donations. I have always wanted to take action and I am determined to do it! So I thank everyone who has given me this opportunity to taking a step forward in achieving one of my goals. 
Thank you!

Donna, a freshman at Brown University, as well as a good friend of my sister, seems to be enjoying herself! I was able to visit her, and she generously gave me a tour around the building she is staying in. We also talked about her college life at Brown. She says that the classes are definitely a step higher than high school, and that stress is a big factor. However,  it seems that there is a lot of support from friends and she is very happy at where she is.  I really gained a good insight on the college life, and it will surely help me out in the future!

When we first arrived, I could not believe the blend of colors! It was so pretty!  

The classroom at on the far right was one of the classes I visited. Though the teacher was not there, it was really interesting to see the format of the room.  

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rhode Island to Richmond

Today on our last hours at Brown we had breakfast and had a presentation from alumni who work doing documentaries, the presentation was for us to get another idea on how we can get our project done. They told us about the importance of the media and how documentaries are different from the everday news. I was glad to see another way we can get our projects done although I am not really interested in media, although my project does have to do with reaching a broad audience.

We also had a wrap-up of the whole weekend and had some time to say our goodbyes to our new friends.

I keep talking about my project and haven't gone into details about with everyone who reads this blog, I apologize for this. My capstone project is to compile stories from undocumented immigrants and to put them in my school's SSR (Silent Sustained Reading) classrooms. I want to do this because there are really bright students in my school who are undocumented, but the media portrays all undocumented people as criminals and bad people. I want to show a different perspective from what the media shows.

I did not know how to get started with my project, I felt stuck, but this symposium helped me defined some issues and showed me how to attack them. I feel like everyone who was there was eager to use their newly learned skills.

Jenn Maden's persuasive communication class was really helpful and I will really take lots with me from this symposium. I wish everyone at my school could be exposed to classes like Ms. Maden's, where we are taught skills that are very valuable and important, one prime example of a great orator is Barack Obama.

I am also really inspired by Robin Rose, she was able to achieve her project, the Leadership Institute. She is a great inspiration because she works so hard and believes in us the young people.

I want to thank everyone who gave us the opportunity to come back to Brown.

p.s. The picture above was taken with my phone, I love fall and how all the leaves change color.

Mr. Ramsey found a great picture of Wilson Hall in the snow (which we escaped this weekend).

Also, for those interested, here's a link to the Brown University virtual tour (courtesy of Brown grad Anne White), it's very complete (as one might expect):
For all our blog readers, here is Theresa DiDonato, who taught the class the Social Psychology class that the ladies attended and enjoyed so much. (She has a great website: for her students.) I can understand why taking her class would inspire someone to want to major in Social Psychology.

Professor DiDonato teaches at Hunter Laboratory. Here's a picture of it and one of the classrooms (Carmichael Auditorium):

For all our blog readers, I'm also including a picture of Watson Hall Center for Information and Technology where they took the Marxism class:

And two pictures of Wilson Hall where the Symposium was held:

Finally, here is Faunce Hall where they ended their day:

Sounds like it was a wonderful Symposium and I know we are all looking forward to the pictures that were taken -- and more importantly the exciting results from the weekend.

Wonderful job blogging, ladies. See you soon.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Symposium

Today was packed with tons of things to do starting from 9:00 all the way to 4:45! After breakfast we heard from a few alumni students about their projects, which were doing pretty good. They had some real interesting topics, one girl was trying to ban the use of styrofoam in her county. I really liked her topic because I'm very into the environment and going GREEN. After the student presentations, we split up into groups with people that had projects very similar to ours. In the group I got a lot of feedback, and a bunch of interesting ideas for my project. The girls really helped me plan out my project and take the steps I need to execute it.
For lunch we went to a Vietnamese restaurant, it was really good and kind of reminded me of home. After lunch we took a few classes that would help us with our projects, my first class was persuasive communication. It was just a re-cap on public speaking, and we had one minute to put together a presentation to the "people we are targeting". Unfortunately, the class ended before i had a chance to go. the next class was peer motivation, which I will need a lot of help in. It was really interesting to find that psychology had something to do with motivating people. and now I'm going to go have dinner, and catch up with old & new friends.

last day :/

The time here has passed by so fast, I can't believe that tomorrow we will be heading back. I have made new friends from different sessions and I'm happy about that. One girl that I won't forget about is Olu she is from here and she is really dedicated to helping her community, she is very friendly and easy to get along with.
Most of the day we spent it at Wilson Hall, I took the lectures on persuasive communication with one of the speakers we met during the summer and the other class was on peer motivation. These classes were very helpful. Being here has motivated and has given me momentum to really continue with my action plan. I have defined the issues that have came up with my plan and now I have a clear goal for my action plan.

Right now we are having dinner at Faunce Hall.

The Symposium on Social Action

The day started off with very delicious varieties of fruits and bakery goods. Then the group was split in to two, with 4 high school speakers to fill us in on their own action projects. It was really interesting to see the progress and ways of how each individual was able to engage in their project. From working within the schools to working with children in Tibet, it was really inspiring. I got a lot of ideas from them too! Everyone was also divided by their action plan's category, and I was put into a fundraising group. Here we basically discussed perspectives and how to manage time, keep a sustainable project, and there was a lot of brainstorming! Then there was a lunch break, so that we could stretch our legs a bit.
When returning, there was skill-building sessions which we could choose to attend. There was persuasive communication, meeting facilitation, working with administrators, web design and technology, and peer motivation. I joined the working with administrators with Ryan H. and the peer motivation with Lexi. Both of these sessions has opened my mind to how to approach others in terms of high officials to simply my fellow peers.
I really hope to incorporate everything to my action plan, which I shall tell everyone once I have established a boundary, or mainly when I have created a pretty organized structure of what it is I really want to stress.

*I will have to post pictures when I get back home because I do not have the cord to download them. So sorry!

Friday, November 7, 2008

what a long day!

It was such a long day, But very fun ! In the morning we tried going to few classes. Unfortunately, the professors did not show up for the classes , or there wasn't class today. We were fortunate enough to attend a class on Marxism and social psychology. I really liked the social psychology class, it was taught by Theresa DiDonato. The class was really interesting, and could be a possible major in college. I really enjoyed being able to sit in the classes and experience what the classes are like. After the classes we went around Thayer, looking at little shops that we used to go to. Then we went to go register, where we reunited with a few of old friends from the summer. After registration we had dinner and did a lot of games where we got to know everyone. I even made a few new friends! We had free time after, so we walked around Thayer and spent time with our friends. Now we're all super tired, going to sleep soon. Good night everyone!

second day at brown

Wow! I am so tired!!! We went to see some classes this morning. All the classes were empty or cancelled except for the Marxism and social psychology. I really liked the class and I knew some of the stuff that the teacher lectured about. We also ate pizza for dinner with everyone from the program. I befriended some people from the other sessions, it was all pretty cool. I'm glad to be here, and I can't wait for tomorrow.
I really want help on my project, I am really inspired by some of the projects I heard of.

I can really see myself attending Brown.

Walking, Lectures, Registration

The first full day at Brown has been really interesting. I did a lot of walking trying to find the classes to the lectures. The sad part is that some of the classes that I chose to go were either closed, or the teacher did not show; however I was still able to attend a couple of the lectures.. Before though, I followed a tour that gave an introduction to the Brown campus. This was really fun, especially since I recognized a few buildings and it gave me a chance to explore a lot more of Brown's college atmosphere. I must admit that it felt very fitting.
The two classes that I was able attended with Adriana and Gina was the Marxism class with Professor Aarmor in the CIT (Watson Center for Information Technology) and a Social Psychology class in the Hunter Lab with Professor Teresa. Sadly I was not able to take a picture of the classroom, but I can tell that there was about 20 students in the first lecture and about 30 or more students in the psychology class. Each session was about 50 minutes, but it was packed with information! The topics was interesting, yet sometimes very confusing as well. I was really interesting in the psychology class, and now I have a feeling I shall sign up for it next year at El Cerrito High. I am so grateful to be able to experience something like this! It definitely is a opportunity that I can use to find out my structure of learning in the future.
The last event that I did today was register for the Symposium. There was a lot of returning Brown summer students; many of whom we did not know but shall meet! Dinner was like a Pizza gathering! It was very fun to catch up with some of the returning Women and Leadership friends and Kisa too! Then we had a couple of key speakers who talked about public services. Then there were interactive circles so that everyone could get to know one another. All this ended good and it is time to rest up for a LONG day tomorrow!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

finally back at brown!!!

Hello everyone!!! It feels good to be back at brown. The plane ride went smoothly, Robin Rose picked us up from the airport. I am so happy to be back here. We came back to Brown for a symposium , that will hopefully help us with our projects. In the morning we get to go to colleges classes and listen to the professor speak. We'll actually get to experience a college class. Besides that, we have really nice rooms. They are way nicer then the dorms we had this summer. I really enjoy being back and I'd like to thank everyone that helped get us here. Well we're all really tired so goodnite. There will be more blogs to come!

Back at brown!

I was fortunate enough to be given an opportunity to come back to Brown for the symposium, and I am very welcome for this opportunity. I am excited for tomorrow! Very!!! Tomorrow Gina, Jessica and I will be visiting some lectures, I'm excited for this because this will let me see another side of Brown.

On another note, the flights were pretty smooth, we are all very tired. :) Robin Rose picked us up from the airport and we had dinner with our summer instructor. I was really glad to see her. Will update you guys on my day tomorrow.


We are back again!

It is just truly amazing that I am able to be on the Brown University campus once more! I remember getting the acceptance letter into the Symposium and I was just totally shocked! It did not seem possible for me to be able to get in. Now that I am here though, it still seems so amazing that in one day I went all the way across the country!
It also does not feel like about 4 months has past since I was in Brown's Women and Leadership Coarse. Coming back with Gina and Adriana, it is so exciting! Recognizing the familiar buildings and streets, sure brings back a flood of memories. It was so wonderful to be able meet with Robin Rose and Kisa again as well! Catching up with one another never seemed probable to me, but here I am definitely proven wrong! I really do not know what's in store, but I am anticipating every bit!
I am looking forward to attending real college lectures tomorrow too, which is happening before the actual symposium starts. This is a major opportunity for me as well as to the others to really get a feel of a college class atmosphere. I think that it will help me immensely to prepare both mentally and physically for college. I really cannot wait for the symposium to start too! It will go by fast though, and I hope to be able to gather as much information to support my goal of putting planning into action!

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I miss everything and everyone except the food. I am so thankful that I was given this opportunity. This experience was life changing and eye-opening. I have a new perspective of the East Coast. I learned to be more independent. I would like to share some pictures with you.

These were our dormitories.

This is a picture of the Boston skyline. Beautiful is it not?
This picture is of a really tiny bit of Providence.
This is a picture of my instructor and I. I learned so much from her class.
Last but not least this is a picture of the waterfire show.

Back in Richmond, CA

Wow. I cannot believe that I am back in Richmond already. As much as I miss Rhode Island, I have a family at home. I wish that I could be at two places at the same time but that is impossible unless I have super super super long legs! Well, I really have nothing else to say besides thank you all so much for giving me this opportunity. Words really cannot express all the gratitude in the world for everything you all have done. You pratically showed me the world and I really appreciate what you all are doing. Please continue to do this because it is a good cause. Please continue to bring more happiness to the students in the WCCUSD. We need more people like you ladies and gentlemen. THANK YOU!

-Meuy Saephan

Friday, July 25, 2008

The End.

This trip has been such an enriching and wonderful experience! I am so thankful for this opportunity and wouldn't change it for anything in the world! In the past two weeks, I've met wonderful people who I wish to keep in touch with after this. I learned a lot of valuable information, and can't wait to bring it all back to my community. I can't really explain what I am feeling right now because it's all just so overwhelming. I am sad to see evryone go, but I'm also happy to be going home. I can't imagine any other group of girls that can get together and practically become a family in two weeks! They are all amazing girls and I know that we'll be hearing about them in the future.
Kisa, Kim and Charnise are so terrific! I will truely remember what they have taught us this summer, and all the hard work they put forth. They just know how to make us engaged in a discussion, no matter what the topic is. I feel that they put all their heart into this program, and I really appreciate it! I really cannot believe that we are leaving! Rhode island seems like a second home now. I will definately consider Brown as a choice for college, although I will miss home a lot. Before coming to this program I would have never wanted to go so far for college, but by getting this chance I got to see the environment of the campus and familiarize myself with the area. I like it here and it doesn't hurt the fact that Brown is a great school!
Time flies by quickly when your having fun! Now thinking back, we've learned so much in so little time that it's amazing I survived! This course really challenged me time wise because I wanted to explore the area, but I had to do my homework. The readings that we did really made me think about my perspective of women, and if I was right to have thought that way. I know I already said it a million times, but I really enjoyed these two weeks!The learning experience was great! Everyone thought at the same level and wanted to get something out of this. I will miss everyone, it's so hard to say good-bye! But as for now I have no other choice.

Thank You

First I would like to respond to Mr. Gosney about the self-defence lesson. We were taught to not use these, should I say new skills to hurt anyone at anytime. The only exception is like you said, when it is really needed and when we are in a life threatening situation. So I am sorry if I caused some confusion, but we all know how to hold back! I promise!

So now I want to say that it has been FUN! We had our good-bye class session and basically everyone signed a card for one another. We all got in a circle and talked about the past 2 weeks. It was very touching I must say. It was like saying good-bye to my family because these people were my inspiration everyday. I looked up to them, learned from them, and shared my ideas with them; and they listened. I will never forget anyone! I truly hope to see them again!

The capstone project speech was not flawless, but I can say that after 3 practice runs, this one was the best! I surely felt more confident, more organized, and more self aware of what I was doing. The lessons I learned will defiantly follow me back to El Cerrito!

So a BIG THANK YOU to Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenburg, Kisa, the RA's, Robin Rose, Mr. Gosney, Mr. Sanchez, and the list would probably go on and on! Thanks for helping me become more confident! Thanks for helping me have a better understanding of the world! Thanks for the support! I just feel so grateful and happy! It really feels like a dream come true. Though this chapter of my life is ending, I have a good feeling it is just the beginning back at home.

mixed feelings

Today was my birthday and it was also time to say goodbye to everyone. The dorms are so empty and quiet, you can here a pin drop.
I am a bit happy to return to California and see my family but I am sad that I won't be able to see the girls anymore.

My capstone project presentation was okay, I was a bit nervous but I conquered my nerves and gave my presentation. I noticed that the other students were just as nervous as I was and that I did not have anything to worry about.
My bags are packed and ready for tomorrow!

I want to thank everyone who gave me the opportunity to be here. This was a great learning experience and I am surely going to encourage all my friends to go to college. I feel that I can go back to my community with the confidence necessary to create change. You guys have really changed my life. You guys are an inspiration. Words can't describe my gratitude.

Special thanks to Ms. Kronenberg and Mr. Ramsey, thank you for everything.

Kiana Ward is a rising senior at El Cerrito High School and part of the six-student ILC cohort at Brown University. After adjusting to the New England summer--warm humid days with recurring thunder showers--Kiana settled into her Gender Studies/Leadership classes at Brown. She appreciated her instructor, Professor Takesue, for being supportive and for developing her public speaking skills. All the students had to perform a speech three times and were critiqued after each presentation. Kiana reports being the most confident during her third performance. The leadership class also identified leadership models through which Kiana came to understand her style of leadership. Upon reflecting on her approach to leadership, she believes careful planning will be the key to her success. We can look forward to Kiana applying her public speaking skills in ILC presentations to high school and middle-school students in the coming year. As for her post-secondary education, Kiana is interested in majoring in science and/or math. She looks forward to applying to Brown, UCLA, and UC-Santa Cruz. When asked what advice she may have for future ILC students attending Brown, Kiana said to "bring shorts, and speak out in class."

Mario Miranda

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Tomorrow is officially our final day here in Rhode Island. I am saddened by this reality but I am glad I came here and I got to meet all these wonderful people. I would not change this experience for anything not even a million dollars (and that is hard to say as cheesy as it may sound). I met so many wonderful people here and it feels like if I have known them for a long while. But enough of all this sadness.

Today, we had class where we had a self-defense workshop! It was awesome, now I think I can probably defend myself if I need to, I think this workshop is going to be really useful just as the other workshops.

Lunch with Robin Rose was great, I love how personable she is. We conversed about how there are classes for seniors (rising college freshmans).

Well tomorrow we all have our big presentation, we all have to give our presentation on our capstone.



Only a day left as I continue to blog. There is not much to say for the morning. We only practiced our speeches for tomorrow. Now we have to prepare for the actual presentation! I felt that I did better than last time, but I feel that it still needs some work

In the afternoon though, now there we had a lot of action! We had a self-defence workshop and we also got some information on tribal leadership. This was presented by Michelle Nuey, manager of special services and also a member of Mashpee Wampanoag. Within their tribe group, Michelle leads their traditional dance and she basically tells us about how a leader has to guide the whole pack in one direction or else it would be chaos!
Then came the fun part! We leaned the basic self defence posture and also a couple of self defence moves! The fact that you should not panic and aim for the vulnerable spots was stressed. Also, for every time we "strike" we had to cry out "NO!" This is a basic thing to do because it can cause confusion to the opposing person, or it can aware others of your presence. It was truly so fun and I am super happy to have been able to learn from Michelle. This is definitely something I will never forget and I will make sure to teach my siblings too!

Then we had our last community time. Everyone made a circle and we praised someone for why they were a leader. Then the next activity was everyone stood in a circle facing away from each other with their eyes closed. The RA's picked out a couple of people each time and then asked questions. If the question applied to someone they knew in the circle, they would tap them. The feeling of being tapped was truly uplifting. It gave you a very warm feeling and it made me smile a lot. I think I will leave very happy!

It's all coming to an end!

This wonderful trip is coming to a slow end! I cannot believe that two weeks passed by so quickly! I am so glad that I was able to come! I'm also so sad that I have to leave all od=f my new friends behind, but I'm sure that we will keep in touch.
Today was a great day in class. In the moring we practiced our capstone speeches in front of our classmates. It was very nerve wreaking, but I could tell that I improved from the last time we did it. Everyone had a different topic which makes it even better. I learned so much from everyone's speeches, it was incredible to know that we all are very common. Today we had lunch with Robin Rose at Joshiah's. It was great because we got to talk and she really got to know us better. The lunch was a great way to bond, and we also gave her her card. I could tell that it really touched her!
After lunch, Michelle Nuey came to talk to us about her indiginous background, and also self defense. She was half Native American and half African American, and she told us about how she does dances for her tribe. She comes form the Wampanog Tribe in South Eastern MA. After describing her background she taught us a lot about how we should defend ourselves. We learned different techniques of attacking our predators. Hopefully I won't ever have to use these new skills, but it is helpful to have learned them.

Thursday ...

WOW ... I cannot believe that it is Thursday already. We will be leaving Saturday. It seem to have gone by too fast. I am speechless and I cannot describe this feeling I have in the pit of my stomach.

When we first arrived here, I was a bit intimidated. I knew that the people I was to meet would be of different economic status but I realized that friendship is not determined by how much money their family have; it is what they have brought to the plate that counts. Coming here at first, I did not think that I would make a bonding friendship in two weeks and then watch us seperate. I do not the feeling of drifting away but I know that this is not the end of us all. As much as I love Brown, and Providence in general, I have a family to go back to in Richmond. However, because of all these new technology such as internet, cell phones, and others, I know for sure that we will keep in close contact with each other. I have already added many friends on Facebook and MySpace. Somehow, I have a feeling that we will continue to support one another even after class has ended; the distance cannot stop the power of a group of young women leaders!

Overall, this experience was absolutely amazing! The class was not just a normal class about women history but it helped me find myself and my passion. Not to mention that I have learned a lot about other diversity of people. Now, I will be cautious when I judge people because there is so much more to a person that what they show on the outside. I have learned this through meeting people from all over the United States such as Texas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and even a girl from Toronto, Canada. We have all developed a bond that will stretch across the country and even more.

Lastly, I want to thank ALL of you who have made this possible for me and the rest of us for this experience. I would of never gotten this opportunity if it was not for you all. I appreciate what you are all doing and I hope you continue to do so because you are bringing so much joy and happiness to the students you are sponsoring to send to the East Coast. The feeling of this whole experience brings so much warmness to my heart and now I can go back to Richmond and share this warmness with my family and friends. And again, from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely thank you all.

Time is running out

Today is the second to last day of class in the women and leadership course. I can't believe it went by so fast. Today we all had to say good-bye to a fellow classmate because she is leaving tomorrow morning before class to be able to go to cheer camp. Today we all had to practice our speeches in front of the class. I did a lot better than I did the first time I tried it. Also something very fun yet informative that we did today was a self defense class. We were taught the right positions in which we could punch or kick. It was very cool. Tomorrow we will present our speeches in front of parents and other classmates that are not in our class, which adds on a little to our nervousness.
Well we have two more days and half of me is so ready to leave and go home, but the other part of wants to stay back behind to enjoy Rhode Island. Thayer street was awesome with all the wonderful options of food and stores. I know I really enjoyed the water fire show that I saw.Even though its hot and humid out here, I've enjoyed the rain that we have had these past few days. The atmosphere makes me feel comfortable and at home. I like how Brown is not to city like, but if you walk a couple blocks further you get the city with its huge mall, with plenty of stores.
I'm going to miss Brown, but I have to move on. I know I have other work waiting for me at home.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Two more days left!

I can't believe that there are only two more days left! It seems like yesterday that we all just started the class. It is, really sad that the class has to end; I'll miss all my new friends, the class, and Brown University. The class has taught me a lot about how women are involved in leadership. I also learned a lot of new skills to bring back with me.
Today in class we discussed the movie that we watched last night. We all agreed that the movie was really inspiring, and just motivated us to persevere and never give up. After our movie discussion, we had some speakers. They were Myrth York and Marcia Rivas, they talked about women and politics. They both work for Women's Fund of Rhode Island. This is basically a place where they give out grants for social change, and they have programs where they train women to become leaders. In the afternoon, we grouped up and did different scenarios on a dilemma. most situations called for an immediate answer because it dealt with someone's life at risk. A lot of them had to do with honesty, and just testing how trustworthy you were.
I'm now working on my capstone project and paper that is due on Friday. Everyone is basically in homework mode right now. I forgot to mention that we are having lunch with Robin Rose tomorrow. Well, I better get back to my paper now!


Today we explored the boundaries of our morals and were presented with internal dilemma scenarios. Dean Kisa gave us different stories about kids whose consciences were being tested. The example that my group shared to the class was of a student who mistakenly received a better grade than she deserved as her semester grade. She debates on what to do. On one hand, she knows that she'll have a guilty conscience but on the other hand she is very aware of the competitiveness of college admissions. Our class debated our personal opinions and what we would do in that situation. For the most part, the class agreed that they would point the error out to the teacher and accept the lower grade rather than feel guilty for accepting a grade that they didn't deserve.

Mr. Ramsey asked me what I thought about the class being all female and he wondered what I thought would change in a mixed gender environment. I like having such an open place to voice my opinions. I'm usually always willing to answer questions in school but for this particular subject, “women in leadership,“ I think that if there were guys in the classroom, things would change without us even realizing that they were changing. Everyone in our class seems more open and honest about what they really think. We still have the quiet ones and the ones who like to take charge just like in any other classroom but the dynamics change in a class of all girls.

Jumping Off the Diving Board

Today we basically started off by discussing the movie we watched last night. This was followed up by two presenters at the same time! Leading the discussion about Women and Politics were Marcia Cogne-Ting, Director of the Women's Fund and Myrth York, former Rhode Island State Senator. There was a point brought up about why women run for leadership and the answer was because there is always a problem. Everyone shared why they were a leader and it was because they wanted to change something, thus proving the answer to be true within the class. Now I used the "jumping off the diving board" as my title because Ms. York said it, and it basically means to take a risk, but you won't really know what will happen once you jump. However it was agreed upon both of them that the risk was worth it. I also find a connection in through these words "You make a decision only to be led back to the fork on the road." There is always a challenge and one just has to face it head on! In working with a foundation, one has to negotiate; that is the main thing! If you are not able to talk about a certain balance, then you know you can be cheated easily.
A fun activity that I like was the values auction. We wrote out a list of values such as perseverance, humor, caring, etc. Then we broke up into groups and had a small auction on which value we wanted most. It was really fun!
In the afternoon we basically talked about ethics and leadership. We read many articles that held very difficult answers and it contained a lot of ethical dilemmas! It really questioned what one would do under those circumstances. I really did not know how to respond! The right thing to do always seemed bad, but the selfish one seemed more plausible. Truly a very interesting subject to touch on. Now I must finish my report!

Rain and Thunder

Today was a pretty interesting day. We had two guest speakers, Marcia Cone Tighe and Myrth York. They are from the National Women's Fund and they spoke to us about the movie we watched last night called "Iron Jawed Angels" and how we reflect upon seeing that movie. To me, it was a really good movie but shocking also. It opened my eyes to how much it took for women to get to where they are today. I also did not realize that Alice Paul played such a huge part in earning women's right to vote the movie acknowledge what she and the rest of her crew had to go through such as being forcibly fed while in prison. I did not know that Woodrow Wilson acted that cruely towards the rights of women and how other mens perceived women back in those days. It is such an inspiring movie and it inspired me to become one of those leaders.

After that, we talked about ethics in leadership. We broke up into groups to read different scenarios and we had to answer the questions on the back. Basically they were ethical dilemmas and we had to decide what to do if we were in that position. After reading different scenarios in a group, the class got back together to basically debrief the whole situation and how we would react. There were many different opinions because different people have different beliefs and I respect that. One of the situation that I thought was interesting is when a boy got in trouble for cheating on his test and later on his dad cheated to get into the movie theater. Later on, the boy asked his father why it was okay for him to cheat at the movie theater but not okay for him to cheat on his test. The father answered saying that cheating at the movie theater doesn't count because it is not hurting anybody. I believe that cheating at the movie theater is worse than cheaitng on a test because whent he boy cheated on his test, he was only hurting himself. The father was hurting the business. I can relate to that because parents often do that for example my father. He was not the best of the best because there were many aspects of him that were considered unfatherly. However, he always tried to teach us right from wrong. Whenever he did do anything wrong, he always lectured siblings and I that it is not the right thing to do so don't be like him. Well I guess by seeing his experiences have made me a better person in general. Well that is all for now. Gina, Mercedes, and I will be going to the Brown Bookstore. Toodles!

Iron Jawed Angels

Yesterday we watched a movie for community time called "Iron Jawed Angels". The movie was about women's suffrage and how dedicated these women were to achieve their goal. The movie is very inspiring and makes you not want to give up although I did think there were a couple of scenes that were not necessary.

In class we debriefed a little about what we thought about the movie and one of the main questions asked was "what issue would you go to jail for?" I still haven't found out what issue I would really fight for and even go to jail for but I have an idea of human rights issues, maybe I WOULD go to jail for that. I have noticed that I get really frustrated when someone is mistreated, and one way I would fight that would be with civil disobedience.

Well I have to get ahead with some of my homework and I will update you with more on the class afterwords.

p.s. The ILC girls will have lunch with Robin Rose tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Meuy Chien Saephan
- Class of 2010

Mercedes Montelongo

Jessica Tran - Class of 2010

Capstone projects, Iron Jawed Angels, and Buses!

In class today we spent the morning working on our Capstone projects. Kisa talked with us one on one to improve our presentations. While she did this, the rest of the class got time to research their subjects for the whole morning. I researched statistics for the passing rates for the math and ELA sections of the CAHSEE at my school and in my district.

At night for community time we watched the movie Iron Jawed Angels. It was an inspiring movie about the fight for women suffrage. I was not excited to see it going in because I had never heard about it before but I quickly began to enjoy it. Taking APUSH in school skimmed the topic of the fight for women suffrage but because we had to cover so much history in so little time, we were not able to really study it in depth. This movie which was based on true facts put together the history of women suffrage in an entertaining and engaging way.

In response to Don Gosney's reference to the haves and have nots, I agree that "sometimes it's being one of the "have nots" that can teach us things that the "haves" can never learn." I believe that this goes both ways as well which is why this program is such a valuable experience for everyone involved. For instance, a few days ago, a group of us went to Providence Place, a nearby shopping center. With Brown ID's, public transportation is free so we decided to take the bus. One girl said that she catches the bus at home so we let her take charge. It turned out that it was a school bus that doesn't require the skill of understanding a bus schedule so twice we almost got on the wrong bus. Finally I got the right bus schedule and we caught the correct bus to Providence Place. Obviously this isn't a huge deal and if we had gotten on the wrong bus, we could have simply gotten off. Despite this fact, I've learned from experience that this is an example of an useful everyday skill that is simple to learn and that saves you tons of time in the long run.

Preparation and More

Only 2 more days until the Capstone project is due! My idea at the beginning was too broad of a topic or as Kisa says, "You guys have so many great ideas, but you need to start narrowing it down." So I had to discuss a couple of ideas with my RA. In the end I was able to choose a topic that I could work with.
That is why this morning the class went to the CIT, Center for Information Technology. For the whole morning everyone spent time researching and gathering their thoughts about the speech they will have to make. It was all very independent work, and I swear you could hear all the clicking of the keyboards going off at once! It seemed to resonate through the room! Many know that I work with the Interact club, so I decided to base my project on Heifer International, which I slightly worked with before. I had a lot of background reading to do, but it was all very interesting, so time passed by a bit too fast. This is really exciting to me, just thinking about actually getting to put thoughts into action; I hope things will turn out for the best!

In the afternoon part of the class, we started off by understand the role of a facilitator. There were small discussions, and then we had a presentation about Gender and Classroom, presented by Professor Debbie Rivas-Drake. Here we basically discussed about the treatment of students within a classroom or how the teachers and administrations act towards female/male students. There was a kind of debate created by splitting the class in half, one side for co-ed schools, while the other was agreeing to single sexed schools. There was a lot of really good reasoning to each side, and in the end I am not still not sure which side is best. I was supporting the co-ed side, but the opposing view seemed pretty persuasive. We even had Avni, who came from an all girl school describe the benefits of going to a school consisting of only females. Definitely a hard decision.

When class was over, Erica led me to see the Museum of Art: Rhode Island School of Design. We only had an hour so it was slightly a speed through view of everything. However it was so beautiful! The colors and all the details! The pictures seemed to come to life! From Romans, to Egyptian, to the Chinese and Japanese; all the pottery, statues, engravings, and paintings are just amazing. I hope to be able to upload some pictures that I was able to take later!
*Just something I learned! You cannot use flash while taking the pictures and it is not allowed to take any pictures dating from the early 1900's to present.

After a few hours of the museum, the women and leadership class watched the movie, "Iron Jawed Angels." A very powerful movie showing women standing up for their rights! I was definitely moved by the struggle and perseverance! It is a very good watch!


In class today was go over our capstone project, and the essay that is due on Thursday. In the morning we were in the computer lab researching our projects. The capstone project is basically a project that we want to bring back to our community and make it happen. I'm doing my project on teen pregnancy and how I can make it so there are less teenage mother drop outs.
After lunch, we discussed facilitation skills. We each split up into different groups and got a chance to facilitate a discussion on the reading. After that we had a guest speaker, and her is Deborah Rivas. She talked about gender in classrooms. She told us all about how teachers kind of seperate the students by gender, and also are very bias. We also had a debate on weather haiving a public all girls school was good or not.
We had community time today, where we watched a movie called Iron Jawed Angels. It was really good and inspirational. To think that all these women went through so much trouble just to get what was supposedly theirs. This movie really motivates me to persevere and never give up!

Adriana Ramirez is a rising senior at Richmond High School. She was born in Mexico (Jalisco State) and is the oldest of three girls. Her experience attending pre-college classes at Brown University has been positive. She appreciates the culture of maturity on campus and the interaction with her classmates during her Gender Studies class. Adriana reports that the two-week course has "gone by fast" and that she has been careful to manage her study time in order to complete the coursework. She looks forward to applying for admission to Brown and is interested in a political science and/or history major. Adriana’s eventual goal is to become an attorney-advocate on behalf of social justice issues. Her internship in the Public Defender office in Richmond introduced her to the legal profession and the inequities of the justice system. Adriana believes she can provide needed insight on issues that effect the rights of the Spanish speaking community.
Mario Miranda
The Brown University ILC cohort, left
to right: Gina Saechao, Meuy Chien
Saephan, Mercedes Montelongo,
Adriana Ramirez, Jessica Tran,
and Kiana Ward

My Capstone Project

This year have been a great deal to me. There were many tragic events and even though nothing can ever make up for those events, this experience has been amazing. I cannot believe that it is going to end soon and we will be leaving Saturday. However, it has not ended yet so I will continue to look forward to the rest of my time here in Providence, Rhode Island.

. . . . .

All of the students are required to do a Capstone Project and I was debating about my project for some time. However, I concluded that I want my Capstone Project to be feasible but also help my community. Therefore, I thought about my younger sister and what she will have to go through when she enter middle school this Fall. I thought about all the peer pressure and violence that she will have to witness/endure and I want to do something about it; not just for my younger sister but for all the other youths entering middle school. I am aiming for middle schoolers because that is where the change starts. So my Capstone Project will be about change in our community and basically fundraising money to send these students to productive programs such as "College for Kids." You see, kids get involve in gang and violence for many different reasons be it because they have nothing else to do, or lack of support/motivation to do something better. Also, many of these kids come from low-income family so their parents do not have the money to send them to summer programs and other things that will be of positive use. What I am trying to do is raise enough money to send these kids there and just be someone they can go to for help. Violence is not the answer and they need to get it through their head that there are other alternatives. This was my main focus although I wish to contribute so much more but this is just a Capstone Project so I need to focus on ONE main idea for now. When I gain more leadership skills, I will continue to contribute more to building a better and stronger community.

Today in class, we had a speaker named Deborah Rivas. She came to speak to us about the difference between single-sex schools and co-ed schools. She also spoke about how males and females are treated differently inside the classrooms. For example, she mentioned that males tend to get away with things than females and females tend to feel uncomfortable speaking their mind in front of males. Afterwards, we had a debate where Deborah splitted up the class and one side had to be pro-single sex public schools and the other side against it. I was in the side against it and I have many reasons to be against it. Our argument was that in order to feel comfortable in a society where men and women are mixed, we have to be put in that position such as co-ed schools instead of later on trying to adapt to it because you were in a single sex school. They argued back that females seem to feel more comfortable in a class where all the students are female. It went on like that for a while and although I had many opinions, I did not speak up which I kind of regret.

Personally, I believe that co-ed schools are much better because us females are always talking about how we want equal rights and if we are seperated by gender, how are we to get those rights? That is something that a lot of people are not considering and for that reason I believe the best choice is to continue to keep public schools co-ed. Also, by segregating students based on gender will make them more aware of their gender. I believe that people should not view others based on their gender. It is more important to view a person for their personality and traits beyond their physical appearance. Well, that is my belief and even though not everyone will agree with me, I will continue to believe so. It is what I believe and I have my own voice although it may not want to be heard by others, I WILL make it want to be heard.

That is all for now since I have a 4 page research paper. I will continue to update you on what is happening and the ways in which I am evolving more. Thank you all!

Tuesday, July 22nd

Last night we had a reading about how male students get more lead way in education and how many of the administrators and teachers are bias towards them. I have not really noticed that at our school... and I don't think that is a prominent issue at our school. I tend to see girls at Richmond High earning better grades than male students.

We also had a debate about what is better single sex schools or co-ed schools. I personally think that co-ed schools are way better. I have been to a lot of schools (both religious and public) and being around both males and females has given me lots of confidence to express my opinions and not be afraid to talk or defend myself when I'm around males and females.

This past week I have been having some problems with the class, not with anyone in particular but my definition of leadership is way different than most of the girls in my class.

I define a LEADER as someone who changes someone's life for better. The community has to be the one to consider YOU a leader not yourself. I feel that there is a big difference between having a leadership role for example being president of a club and being a leader. Just because you are in a Leadership class that does not give you the right to call yourself a leader. I hope I am explaining my thoughts well.

The first day of class was almost like a cultural shock to me when Dean Kisa asked us "do you think you are a leader?" Many of the girls said yes and some said they didn't know or that they weren't. I personally do not consider myself a leader, or at least I feel that modesty is virtue. I have always learned that you have to be modest and not brag about yourself unless it's necessary for example in a job interview or so, and even then it is hard for me to talk about myself. I now have learned and have came to the conclusion that everyone interprets things different and that not everyone is as modest about what they have accomplished as I would want them to be.

To top this off class was great as always we practiced on how to become better discussion facilitators. I think today's session was very helpful because at the clubs I'm involved in I run the meetings and I think what I learned today will help me be a better facilitator for my peers.


three more days

The days just keep on flying by us. There are only three more days left of class here at Brown. In a way I'm not ready to leave because I like the environment here and being with all my friends, but I do think I'm ready to go back with my family and my older friends.

We started the class with going to the computer lab (or what they call a cluster) to do some research on the topic of our action plan.I did plenty of research on animal cruelty because I chose that to be my topic. My action plan will consist of creating a group or gathering with people to inform people on animal cruelty, like an awareness organization.

For the second part of class, after getting lunch, we got a lesson gender in the classroom specifically from a professor named Deborah Rivas. We got to debate on how a single sex school is better than a co-educational school and vice verse.

Later today we're going to meet up with our classmates, teacher, and teacher assistants to watch a movie related to women and leadership. We will be watching "Iron Jawed Angels". I've never seen it before, but I heard it is a really good movie. I hope I enjoy it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

College Counseling Galore

Today in class, a Brown college admissions officer came to speak to our class about the college admissions process and the most important parts of our applications. I got a nervous pang when I was reminded of the application essay. On Thursday night, there is going to be an optional essay-writing workshop that I am definitely going to go to. Many of the kids who attend summer at Brown seem to have amazing college counselors at school. This turns out to be beneficial to me in two ways. One, because I get tips from them in day to day conversations and two, the workshops are also usually not crowded because many of the students have already gotten the spiel. As a result, I'm able to ask really individualized questions during the lectures.

I took two naps today after waking up at nine this morning, one during lunch and one after class. I think that the excitement of last week with new subjects to learn and new people to meet finally caught up with me. Everyone seems to be getting a little bit sick too. Living in such close quarters is not something I think about when I think of college. I guess I'm getting the real college experience. I'll make sure to take my vitamins in the future!

I spent the afternoon strolling on Thayer Street and eating frozen yogurt. When it started raining, people ran outside and started jumping in puddles. When the rain stopped, the temperature was the nicest it has been since I've been here.


Boston, MA

Newport, RI

The "Waterfire"

Getting ready

Today was the beginning of our second and last week at Brown for this summer. In class we presented with our groups our project that was assigned for the weekend, Our Project was to research and present an amazing woman. My group chose a creative woman writer called Margaret Atwood that expressed her thoughts about sexism through her writing. Later in class we got a presentation from a women that works with getting kids to be informed and get into college. Also there was a second presentation from one of the college admission people from Brown and she talked to us about what was in important in a college application.
Today was the official day to get started on our speeches that we will deliver on Friday. Our speeches have to describe our action plan for when we get back home.
Later in the evening it started to rain. It got really dark and it rained today about three times as far as I know.
As of today I'm getting ready for my action plan, for delivering my speech and leaving all the knew friends I've that are from all over.

Boston Pictures!!!

The Red Line subway station or the "T"

Harvard Entrance

Boston Skyline

Bunker Hill monument in the background
USS Constitution, the oldest commission ship in the Navy

Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge

The State House

The cruise ship that we road on with the aquarium in the background
Fanueil Hall

Adriana, Me, Anne

The Restaurant in the Hood milk bottle, its in front of the children's museum