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!

Hitting the Airwaves with a Bang!

Starting Off with a Bang!

Despite radio being in decline around the country, it is surely not dead at college campuses around the nation, especially at Holy Cross! Throughout the day and night students across campus tune into 88.1FM WCHC to listen to a host of shows created by their very own peers! Holy Cross provides a wide array of shows for everyone’s taste; ranging from sports talk to politics to just your regular music genre station!

A common scene on weeknights is a group of students gathering around a Bluetooth speaker in the common rooms of the dorms listening to the shows of their friends while doing work. Even members of the local Worcester community tune into the station at various times through the stereo systems of their cars. The Holy Cross radio station serves as a way to foster a greater sense of community on campus among the students. Students even have the opportunity to call into a dedicated phone line to be a part of the show themselves!

Essentially, any student has the opportunity to have their very own radio show if they are dedicated enough! All it takes is simply emailing the director to receive training to make sure you are able to operate the equipment and are aware of the FCC rules and regulations.

I was honored this past week by being selected as the first guest on Holy Cross’s very own Jacob Carey’s Sadboi Hours, held on Thursday nights at 11 PM.  The show is dedicated to emotional music that allows individuals to express their feelings. However, the show also features segments that range from pop-culture talk to humorous storying telling that is sure to evoke laughter from everyone listening.

The first airing of the show was received with applause by the greater Holy Cross community. People were posting videos of themselves and friends alike laughing at the commentary of the hosts on their SnapChat stories and other social media platforms.  Upon our return to our dorm building, Jacob and I were met by a gaggle of friends that were ecstatic at the first of many shows to come!

The logo of Sadboi Hours with Jake and Friends
The founder of the show, Jacob Carey

Invasion of the Guest Speakers

Hand in hand with the arrival of second semester on campus comes the arrival of guest speakers sponsored by the McFarland Center. Every couple of weeks the McFarland Center allows students the opportunity to interact with individuals who have shaped the society we live in. Events usually include a 45-minute lecture by the guest speaker followed with time for questions and interacting with the guest. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you may even be chosen to attend a dinner with faculty, staff, and the very lecturer themselves! Have you ever wanted to meet an award-winning author? A distinguished researcher? A famous politician or social activist? The McFarland center brings these very people onto campus in order to give students the opportunity to learn from these individuals in real time, not just through the articles written about them!

The McFarland Center started the semester off with a bang by bringing famed historian Jill Lepore to campus for a talk about “The Rise and Fall of Fact.” Jill Lepore attracted such a crowd that students had to lean against the wall to hear here lecture after all available seats were taken up! Lepore presented on the history of the fact, educating the entire audience on when, why, and how journalism evolved throughout history. After her lecture, Lepore spent a generous amount of time masterfully answering the audience’s questions and doing book signings before heading off to dinner, which I graciously had the opportunity to attend. Getting to eat and talk with the famed historian was a once in a lifetime opportunity that any Holy Cross student would have jumped at the opportunity to have. Talking with Lepore about her time growing up in West Boylston and critical topics such as the state of journalism was an amazing experience.

The McFarland Center also brought former Obama Chief of Staff Denis McDonough to campus where he spoke about the moral and ethical dilemmas associated with the refugee crisis that the world is experiencing. There was outstanding attendance as the Rehm Library was quickly filled up with students to the point where students were sitting on the floor to just hear from the former Chief of Staff. McDonough lectured about how the refugee system operates while including personal stories that highlight just how important refugees are to the country. McDonough appeared to be one of the more lax speakers, effortlessly tossing out jokes that never failed to get the student body to chuckle.

With more guest speakers scheduled the McFarland Center is sure to continue providing these amazing opportunities to students for the rest of the school year!

Jill Lepore lectures students about the “Rise and Fall of the Fact”
Former Obama Chief of Staff Denis McDonough lectures students about the refugee crisis.