College Papers

Immigration

In the article, America’s Immigration Policy Fiasco: Learning from Past Mistakes, Dr. Douglas Massey provides an overview of the history of Latin-American immigration policy, particularly in regards to Mexico, over the last half-century beginning with policy changes in the sixties.

The policy changes were set into motion by the civil rights movement of the period which created a popular movement towards stamping out racism, particularly within government institutions.  While these changes were in many ways beneficial to Asians, Africans, and Eastern Europeans, they threw a monkey wrench into the migrational system between Mexico and the United States where many of the immigrants were temporary workers who would return to Mexico at the end of an agricultural season. The changes limited the number of legal visas that could be obtained, but it did not lessen the number of people to come over the border but rather simply served to change their status from legal to illegal.

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Being Professional

Progress

I’ve mentioned the research I’ve worked on for the last year and a half with my former advisor. Now it looks like we do have something concrete to show for it.

I wasn’t able to make it, but today my professor and our co-author presented a paper at the Alabama-Mississippi Sociological Association annual meeting. It’s my first post-graduation success.

In August I will be traveling to Philadelphia to present another paper we’ve co-written together at the annual meeting of the Society for Study of Social Problems. I will also be presiding over a session.

These feel like victories to me. It means I’m still moving forward after graduation. That the research I’ve been working on and assisting with has produced something. That even though I was a non-traditional student, I was still able to participate in opportunities similar to those that present themselves to more traditional students.

At this moment in time, I am happy with where I am. I am working in research like I had always hoped. I feel like I am making use of my education. I am still involved in the academic aspect of sociology, and working on writing and research even after graduation.

I hope things keep moving in a positive direction, that I am able to keep learning and growing as a researcher and sociologist.

College Papers

It feels like an unfinished thought

Gleitman, Gross, & Reisberg define natural selection as “the mechanism that drives biological evolution”. This mechanism is a process that takes place over generations, as organisms who were able to successfully reproduce pass on traits that helped them survive to that point. Structural traits are physical attributes like hair. One of the examples provided was in regards to sticklebacks of Lake Washington. As murky water that had provided them cover from predators began to clear, sticklebacks with heavier armor became more likely to survive predator attacks and were more likely to reproduce. After fifty years of parents passing this trait down to offspring, the more heavily armored fish became dominant in the lake. Behavioral traits are not physical but rather are things that are done by an organism like being protective of your young, such as certain species of bird in which a mother bird flies from the nest and feigns injury to draw a predator from her offspring. This is more than simply a single extremely maternal bird because the behavior is seen in many female birds across many species of bird.

Our biology plays an important role in our behavior because our hormones and nervous system play a significant role in how we react to stimulus, and damage to our brain or nervous system can have a drastic impact on our behavior. Someone with higher than normal levels of testosterone is likely to be more aggressive than other people, and therefore more prone to angry outbursts or violence. It’s important to understand how biology affects our behavior because it means we can research ways to treat behavioral abnormalities through biological means – such as attempting to raise or lower hormone levels or affect the actions of neurotransmitters to alter or control behavior.

Biology is not the end all in understanding behavior, though, as there are other aspects that can influence it such as experience and learning. When confronting a new situation someone will behave a certain way, and if they have a positive experience they are likely to behave that way again but if they have a negative experience then they may attempt a different approach if they confront a similar situation in the future. This is an area where the ability to be flexible can play an important role, because if you are unable or unwilling to alter your behavior in the face of negative results than you are unlikely to find success.

Gleitman, H., Gross, J., & Reisberg, D. (2011). Psychology. (8th ed.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

College Papers

Childhood Obesity

According to the documentary Tipping the Scales childhood obesity has become a major problem in the United States. In Arizona, the documentary states that 1 out of 4 kids is overweight. The CDC puts that number at 1 in 6 nationwide for both children and adolescents (CDC, 2015).

Personally, I do believe that parenting and parenting style are major factors in the issue of childhood obesity.

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College Papers

Early America: Beyond the Myth

Behold: A short essay for a historical geography course.

I took it because I needed a credit and most classes were filled – but I ended up loving it more than I expected. Learning about the impacts of people on the land around us over the centuries was fun – it added a depth to history I had never considered.

 


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College Papers

The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World

I was wrong last week – I found another essay from my early days of school. High School or my first semester of college. I am not sure. It’s an English essay based on a short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

It’s funny to read it now because it’s just such an essay. Do you know what I mean? It really just lays it all out in that first paragraph: I’m going to talk about this, this and this. Very typical and obvious thesis statement, you could use it in a middle school class as an example.

“Okay, class, read this introduction and highlight the thesis statement.”

And they’d all get an “A”.

Still, it makes me want to re-read “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World”, so there’s that.

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College Papers

A Personal Tale

This will likely be the last paper I share from my first year of college…but then, who knows what I might dig up in the future.

The following is another speech that I wrote up for a public speaking course and is 100% personal in nature. The point of the exercise was to be vulnerable in public. In front of strangers. So we were tasked to share things we don’t typically share with others right off, as well as a lesson we had learned from it.

It was, not surprisingly, difficult. No one held back. That room, that day, was very raw. It was one of the most amazing experiences I ever had in a classroom in my life – a real reminder that you’re always sitting by a fellow human being that has been through something.

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College Papers

Chasing the Dream

Today I dug up a short paper written for an English class from when I was about 17 or 18. Nothing fancy – just one of those stream of consciousness papers based on a prompt. For this essay, the subject was defining the American Dream. I think in a lot of ways it highlights my idealism, but it’s nice to read that I felt hopeful and happy back then.

I don’t know that I would approach my definition in the same way, and that might be something I revisit later.

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College Papers

Stranger Danger Online

Digging through my archives I managed to stumble across one of my earliest papers. Maybe from the 2010-ish timeframe. It might actually be a speech I gave to an Honor Society in my freshman year of college – our theme for that year was the dissemination of information and we focused on the internet.

This paper is a very general “Be careful out there!” type of PSA, and it sounds a bit like what you’d tell a room of middle schoolers. Cute in its way.


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About

We all start somewhere

In some way or another, I’ve spent the last 23 years of my life in school.

And now I’m done.

I have a Master’s degree and I’m happy about that. I have a job in my field – research. Happy about that too. Might get a Ph.D. That’s nice.

I find myself not feeling quite content, though. I have always loved learning and writing and trying to answer the questions that would pop into my head about why the world is the way it is. I’m not sure I want to stop now just because I’ve graduated. So maybe I won’t.

I’ll ease myself into it – I’ve saved every paper I’ve ever written. See which are suitable for polishing and expanding on and start there. Maybe laugh at how terrible or full of myself I was at 19. Maybe then I’ll start to get brave and venture off the path a bit. Pursue the things I’ve been interested in the past few years.

Maybe work on being published on my own.

I haven’t really done this sooner because I would do what a lot of people do. I tell myself that I’m a terrible writer. That my opinions don’t matter. That no one cares about what I have to say. All that could very well be true, but I’m getting to a point in my life where I don’t care. It’d be nice to have that approval from others. A “Wow, you’re great at this!”, but it’d also be great to just be doing what I like and having fun. That’s one of the things I’ve always loved about the internet – it really allows for a sense of freedom you don’t get anywhere else.

If nothing else, I want to keep myself current. I don’t want to get rusty or dull or lazy.

oahu