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.

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.

 

 

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!