UW-Madison senior shares her undergraduate experience and how her life and career path changed after joining a student organization. My transition to college was harder than I expected, emotionally and academically, and I added to the difficulty by being too ashamed to admit I was struggling. I avoided my friends from high school, because I thought they had this image of me as a perfect student, and I didn’t want to tarnish that reputation. I was too young to realize that my grade school friends may have seen me this way because I was one of the only Asian-Americans in a predominantly white town. I had molded myself to fit their stereotype so it would easier for me to fit in. It was hard for me to make new friends, because my previous friend-making model of being in the same classes and activities with people for twelve years where my reputation preceded me wasn’t working anymore. I told my parents that everything was fine - more than fine, great in fact - in every weekly phone call. Even the thought of letting them know their “perfect” daughter was crumbling under the pressure of expectations and barely finding the motivation to get up every morning paralyzed me and kept me from seeking help. We didn’t talk about mental health problems in our family. Years later, my parents told me they knew I was struggling the whole time.
Faculty job postings are increasingly asking for diversity statements, in addition to research and teaching statements. According to the University of California at San Diego website, “the purpose of the statement is to identify candidates who have professional skills, experience and/or willingness to engage in activities that would enhance campus diversity and equity efforts” (emphasis added). In general, these statements are an opportunity for applicants to explain to a search committee the distinct experiences and commitment they bring to the table. So, how do you write an effective diversity statement? If you are a job candidate who actually cares about diversity and equity, how do you convey that commitment to a search committee?
On Nov. 15, the Department of Food Science hosted its first annual Fall Fest event. Students, staff and faculty from throughout Babcock Hall—including the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant, the Babcock Hall Dairy Store and the Center for Dairy Research—were all invited. The event, put on in partnership with the Intertribal Agriculture Council, involved learning about the traditional foods of Native Peoples; helping to prepare a meal using local, indigenous foods under the guidance of three chefs; and then enjoying the feast together. It was a memorable experience for all involved, yielding much more than a nutritious meal. Participants gained a deeper appreciation for Native foods and culture, while immersed in a community-building event. The photos below capture some of the activities of the evening.