Endless Opportunities with the Research Associates Program!

While COVID-19 may have interrupted many peoples’ summer plans, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the JD Power Center’s Research Associates Program!

Since Holy Cross is an undergraduate-only institution, the college is able to offer a large number of research positions to its undergraduate-only student body. Such a fact sets Holy Cross apart from the larger research universities, where the majority of research positions are filled by graduate students! The opportunity to conduct rigorous and robust research as an undergraduate student is an invaluable experience that will impress potential employers and graduate programs in the future.  Also, the Research Associate’s Program comes with a $2,000 stipend, which is always an added plus!

Turning to the research itself, I was approved to be the research assistant of Professor Sim, a member of the college’s highly esteemed philosophy department. Professor Sim’s current research focuses on the formulation of a Confucian justification of human rights within the greater debate over Eastern and Western values. Many scholars have doubted whether Confucianism is compatible with a conception of human rights. However,  Professor Sim contends that Confucianism’s inherent reliance on virtue makes it an apt tool to defend human rights. As both a philosophy and political science major,  as well as an Asian Studies minor,  Chinese philosophy and human rights are both central parts of my academic career. Further, my majors allowed me to enact an interdisciplinary approach to my research, a vital skill to have in all aspects of one’s life.

While my research consisted of some technical things like formatting Professor Sim’s upcoming book, the majority of my time was spent conducting independent research on Confucianism and human rights. Since I was reading and analyzing the arguments of scholars in the field of human rights, I was able to greatly refine my critical thinking skills. Every day of research, I would encounter new arguments for or against a Confucian perspective of human rights, which merits I would evaluate.  Further, the discussions I had with Professor Sim tested my critical thinking skills even more as my arguments were put to the test, and my response was required on the spot. Additionally, discussions with Professor Sim enabled me to explore the topic of Confucian values and human rights further, which led to relevant resources for future research in political philosophy which interests me.

Overall, the Research Associates Program allowed me to pursue a passion of mine while also refining my research, writing, and critical thinking skills throughout the summer. To any prospective students, I would recommend taking into account the fact that Holy Cross is one of the only colleges out there that has a plethora of research opportunities for undergraduate students. The Research Associate’s Program has surely made me an even more well-rounded student and citizen — an invaluable gift itself.

Success with the Holy Cross Moot Court Team at Nationals!

During winter break, instead of skiing or playing videogames, the Holy Cross Moot Court Team headed to the American Moot Court Association’s national tournament in Baton Rouge, Lousiana!

Arriving in Lousiana several days before the tournament I, as well as the seven other students who earned national bids, practiced our oral arguments in the southern warmth and humidity – a pleasing change from the harsh arctic weather that plagues the North East in the winter months!

Continuing Our Pursuit of Rigorous Education and Cultural Awareness 

Despite the intense focus on practice and preparation for competing on the top stage in undergraduate moot court, the team approached the location of the tournament as an opportunity to further educate themselves. Seeking to always maintain the Holy Cross commitment to cultural awareness and rigorous dedication, we ate authentic food such as cajun fish dishes and jambalaya, visited historic monuments, and toured the national WWII museum!

A Review of the National Competition

After the first day of the national competition, Holy Cross advanced half of their teams to the second day of oral arguments – an impressive feat when competing against the best programs in the entire nation!

At the end of the competition, Holy Cross pulled off the fantastic feat of having three students receive top orator awards.  Amber Jon ranked in at first place for the top orator competition! Further, William Hamilton also placed fourth in the top orator rankings! Also, Willem Mcgee also received a top orator award!

Reflection 

Although I personally failed to advance to the second day of competition, I viewed the tournament as an experience that will make me a better moot-courter for the next two years! I cannot wait to hit the ground running for next year’s competition, where I hope to make it to nationals again!

 

The eight members of the Holy Cross Moot Court Team who all earned bids to the national tournament by winning at regional tournaments.

Christmas on the Hill!

Christmastime at Holy Cross is one of the best times to be a part of the campus community. From dorm halls holding door decorating contests to the chaplain’s office and school groups offering services for students who celebrate Hannukah and Kwanza, there is something to do for students from all sorts of different backgrounds.

As students engage in spreading Christmas cheer by decorating their dorm rooms the school puts on major events that the whole community takes part of. First, there is the annual Christmas tree lighting where students partake in Christma carols, hot cocoa, cookies, and pictures with Santa Clause during the celebration of lighting the campus Christmas tree in front of the historic O’Kane Hall! Then there is the “Festival of Lessons and Carols” where the whole community squeezes into Saint Joseph’s Chapel to sing Christmas songs deep into the night!

Despite the deep connection of Christianity to the celebration of Christmas, one does not have to be a practicing Christian to be part of the campus cheer during the season. Whether Jewish, Muslim, or non-practicing, the true essence of Christmastime at Holy Cross rests in everyone’s love and respect for each other. We come together as a community to celebrate every unique individual that makes Holy Cross such an amazing place for college.

Saint Joseph’s Chapel where the popular Festival of Lessons and Carols is held.
The clock tower of O’Kane hall sporting festive snow and icicles
The Nativity Scene set up before the entrance to the historic O’Kane Hall.

Going International with Holy Cross!

Who would’ve thought that their undergrad would send them on an all-expense-paid trip that wasn’t part of a study abroad program? Well, that’s just what Holy Cross did! As a member of the Holy Cross moot court team, I was sent to the Fredricton, New Brunswick Moot Court Regional!

Now, I know Canada isn’t the first image that comes to one’s mind when we hear the word “international,” but it was still an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade away for anything. The bus ride up with my fellow mooters talking about our semester and future career plans is a memory that I will cherish forever.

Arriving in Canada, the team was treated to the luxurious Lord Beaverbrook Crown Plaza hotel. Upon entry, we were created with beautiful marble staircases and an elegant pool that we were certain to put to use. Waking up after our late arrival, the school treated us to an all-expense paid breakfast at the hotel that made sure we were ready to compete later that day.

The Moot Court Regional Competition was held at Saint Thomas University, a liberal arts school in Canada. As this was the last competition of the season where a team could snag a bid to nationals, there were tons of teams from powerhouse moot court programs such as Yale University, Saint Thomas University, Patrick Henry College, Liberty University, and of course yours truly, College of the Holy Cross.

The competition was fierce, with only two out of five Holy Cross teams making it to day two of the competition. After one of my teammates was knocked out in the first round of day two by Yale University, my partner and I were all that remained of Holy Cross. Our match in the Sweet Sixteen was intense, the three-judge panel was fierce in their questioning, and our opponents, a top Saint Thomas team, were just as good if not better than us; we edged them out winning the round 2-1.

In the round of the Elite Eight, we faced off against a very talented duo from Liberty University. As the entire Holy Cross congregation sat in the back watching the back and forth from the two teams in front of a five-judge panel no one could tell who would come out on top. Even after giving what I believe to be the best rebuttal of my moot court career I was still incredibly nervous about the results. As the entire team sat in the auditorium for the results I was so nervous I was shaking. Then all of a sudden the head of the competition announced that we had won 3-2, moving on to the next round — We had qualified for the National Tournament in New Orleans.

I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe that we had made a run through what was most likely the fiercest regional tournament of the year. I was so grateful for my coaches and teammates who had helped me reach this point. There was no way I would’ve achieved this feat without all their help and support. There’s only one thing left to say: Go Crusaders!!!

My semi-finalist award that signifies my qualification to nationals that I will cherish forever.

 

The elegant Crowne Plaza Hotel that Holy Cross sent the moot court team to.
The beautiful capital building of New Brunswick.
A close-up of the New Brunswick capital building right across the street from our hotel.

 

 

Thanksgiving at the Cross!

It’s that time on campus! The brisk Worcester winter has settled on campus as we all crank up the heat in our dorm rooms and trade out the sweatshirts for our heavier winter jackets, hats, and gloves. Switching out or ice coffees and teas for hot coffee and chocolate from Cool Beans and Cafe Babel, the winter spirit really is flourishing on campus!

A staple of wintertime on the Hill is our annual Thanksgiving dinner at Kimball Dining Hall! This year’s meal included turkey (of course), mash potatoes, gravy, squash, cranberry sauce, rolls, salad, corn, apple cider, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and vanilla ice cream! As I had moot court practice later that night that our captain decided that we would all have a team Thanksgiving dinner before we headed off to practice our oral arguments.

Due to Kimball Thanksgiving Dinner being so popular, the moot court team arrived 15 minutes before dinner began to get to the front of the line. As we waited for dining services to put all the food out a line began to form behind us that looped all the way around the entire dining room! Filling our plates up with a variety of traditional Thanksgiving food we quickly hurried off to our 18 person table where we all feasted, stuffing ourselves with food till we could barely move.  Eating and laughing about funny moments between the team members, time quickly flew by, forcing us to hurry to our practice with pumpkin and apple pies with ice cream on our plates. Our coaches met us laughing, asking us why none of us brought a pie for themselves. Just as the Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrated the friendship and community between the two peoples at the first Thanksgiving, the student body celebrates the friendship and community that permeates throughout the Holy Cross campus.

Kimball Dining Hall where the majority of campus gathers to eat meals.
A picture of the pumpkin pie Holy Cross students were treated to at Thanksgiving Dinner.

What Am I Thankful For?

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have decided that it would be a fruitful exercise for myself, as well as any prospective students, to discuss why I am so thankful for my Holy Cross education.

At the expense of sounding cliche, I am so thankful for all the friends I have made so far at my time on the Hill. I could have never imagined the amount and quality of friends I find myself having now during my studies. Actually, being unable to make any friends at college was one of my biggest, if not the biggest, fears I had the summer before I came to campus for the first time. However, such fears of mine were greatly misplaced. I first met my two closest friends during Fall Orientation, and we have stuck together ever since. Furthermore, through my classes, living situation, extra-curricular activities, and a plethora of social events, I have made more friends than I could have ever imagined.

These people I have become friends with over the past year and a half have greatly contributed to the improvement of my self-character, something that I will be forever thankful for. All the memories and life lessons we have taught each other, or have received together, will never leave me.  As I toured, researched, and considered the College of the Holy Cross as a destination for my undergraduate studies I had constantly heard everyone talk about how the Holy Cross community was so friendly and caring; thinking that much of that could be chalked up to marketing. However, I can testify that such language is not marketing, but simply the truth. Administrators, students, professors, and even maintenance workers all hold relationships that lead to a loving, caring, and joyful community on the Hill that is a once in a lifetime experience.

I am so thankful that I am surrounded by such a great community that will stay with me for the rest of my life.  If making friends or having a great community around you is a must for your undergraduate experience, I highly suggest becoming a part of the Holy Cross Family.

A Group of Friends that Will Never Break Up

 

Rushing in the Second Year!

Mount Saint James is abuzz with excitement in the first couple of months of the school year! Between the construction of the new recreation center and the new performing arts center, the campus has never been busier than ever!

When I returned to campus to begin fall classes it was as though I had never left. Having dinner in Kimball with friends, going to classes in Stein and Smith Hall, and studying late into the nights in Dinand put me right back into the groove of things!

The second year of Holy Cross has also opened up so many new avenues for me as a student to explore! While I have been busy with my classwork, as usual, I have also been busy with so many extracurricular activities on campus!

Being a now second-year “veteran” in the school’s Moot Court Team has lead to me diving into the matters of constitutional law more than I had ever thought I would in my lifetime. Recently, the school just held its Moot Court invitational, where my partner and I successfully made it past the first-day competition to the highly coveted “out-rounds” of the tournament. While I was eventually knocked out, Holy Cross proudly showed our HC Pride as the finals of the tournament were held between two Holy Cross teams!

Becoming a more active member of the school’s College Democrats chapter, I have had an abundance of opportunities to get involved with politics on the local and state level. I started off the year with a few other Holy Cross students attending the Worcester Labor Breakfast where we all held signs for senatorial-candidate Congressman Joe Kennedy!

While this summer was an amazing experience for me, I am so grateful and happy to be back on campus: my second home with my second family.

 

Dinand Library, my absolute favorite spot on campus!
A rendering of the new Performing Arts Center
A rendering of the new recreation center!

 

A First Year in Review

With the year winding down (or maybe not in the case of final papers and exams) I have decided to reflect on all of the contents of my first year as a crusader.

Starting out the year with knowing absolutely no one on campus I had no clue how my first year at college was going to be. Would I make friends? Would I enjoy my classes? Would I stay at Holy Cross after my first year was over? If I could travel back in time I would tell past-me that the answer to all of those questions was a resounding yes.

Some of my best friends are those who I first met during fall orientation.  As I discussed with our friend group last night, while we’ve only known each other since last August, it feels as though I’ve shared a lifetime with them already. Through classes and extra-curricular activities such as mock trial and moot court, I made friends that have impacted me in ways that I never thought were imaginable. When people claim that the Holy Cross community is like a family, they aren’t just saying that to sound cute, they really mean it.

College classes were my second biggest concern. Looking back at all my courses, I can say that I enjoyed every single one so far. All of my professors were dedicated to seeing their students succeed in their classes. And while the course work at Holy Cross is very rigorous, with the right amount of dedication and effort anything is manageable.  The class content has always been interesting and engaging, and I can say that because of my first year of Holy Cross education I have become both a better student and citizen.

I almost laugh at myself when I think back to the time when I thought there might be a chance that I would transfer from Holy Cross at the end of my first year. I wouldn’t trade away any part of my first year at Holy Cross for anything in the world, even those stressful nights studying for exams or writing papers. The friends, the memories I’ve made with those friends, and everything else I experienced during my first year has made a lasting impact on me.

My experiences at Holy Cross have changed me for the better; I wouldn’t trade that away for anything.

My first-year home, Hanselman Hall.

A Campus Away From Campus

While Holy Cross has a wonderful campus with essentially unlimited extracurricular opportunities, I do have to admit that sometimes you develop that need to get away from campus for a few hours. Thankfully, the college has its very own retreat center less than 25 minutes away!

Holy Cross’s retreat center, the Joyce Contemplative Center, presents students with an amazing opportunity to get away from what can sometimes be a busy campus and simply slow things down to reflect on life. Located on a hilltop that overlooks gorgeous hills and a waterway, the JCC always offers an amazing sunset for students to look at! Most of the college’s retreats are held at the JCC. There are retreats for first-year students, the LGBTQ+ community, as well as a variety of other retreats that offer amazing opportunities. I definitely recommend trying to get to the JCC at least once during your first year at Holy Cross!

On a snowy day in February, I and my Montserrat classmates piled into school vans at Hogan to make the journey to the JCC. While pulling up the driveway our gaze was met with a beautiful contemporary building that just screamed: “forget about all your classes for an hour and just relax!” In the snow and cold, we all dashed to the entrance where we were greeted by a cozy crackling fireplace and a spacious dining room. On the left side of the building, there were hotel rooms for overnight retreats and there was a beautiful fully glass contemplation room that overlooks the surrounding nature located in the back of the building where we ended up performing our group presentations.

The main attraction for students is not just the beautiful building, the serene campus, or the escape from coursework. No, what do college students love almost more than anything else? FOOD of course! The JCC is renowned for dishing out some of the tastiest meals every single crusader has ever experienced in their lives. My meal was no different. With chicken parm as the main course with fresh veggies, salad, pasta, and garlic bread as sides I was stuffed. Oh wait, did I forget to mention that they also have freshly baked cookies for dessert?

Whether it’s for the retreat, the beautiful building, the serene campus, or the food; I can’t recommend going to the JCC at least once during your freshmen year!

An aerial shot of the Joyce Contemplative Center during the fall
A view of the deck of the JCC that overlooks the surrounding nature
Take a virtual tour of the JCC!

Night at the Museum Holy Cross Style!

Ever wanted to spend a night at a museum? Well at Holy Cross that is a real possibility! The first-year student Montserrat program held an event where the entire Worcester Art Museum (ranked one of the best art museums in the nation) closed down and was solely open to Holy Cross students!

The event presented the once in a lifetime opportunity to see five famous exhibitions accompanied by equally famous musicians.  One such musician being famed cello player Jan Muller-Szeraws.

While the night’s program was specifically established for students in the Global Voices Cluster, a cluster that I am not part of, my Montserrat class taught by Professor Hooper was graciously extended an invitation to attend. The event was held in such high esteem that everyone on campus was trying to attend the event that night.

Knowing very little about the field of art or the genres of music I was going to experience that night, I didn’t know what to exactly expect. However, on the van ride back to campus late that night, I reflected on the experience and discovered that I really enjoyed the entire event.

Students were able to see famous works of arts by Monet, Jackson Pollock, and a variety of other pieces created by famous artists. Each gallery was paired with a musician, giving students the opportunity to indulge their eyes as well as their ears at the same moment. Taking in the sights and sounds at the same time was truly magical. Even music that was composed by Holy Cross’s very own Professor Shirish Korde was performed for the students!

The night was capped off with an event in the beautiful Renaissance Court where Kevin Chen of the Class 2021 performed an amazing rendition of Maurice Ravel’s Prelude from Le Tombeau de Couperin which was met with deafening and thunderous applause from everyone present in the museum.

The night at the museum was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I am so grateful I was able to experience. I am sure future students will be offered events that parallel in the amazingness of the Global Voices Montserrat’s Night at the Museum!