UC Irvine Class of 2010
Major: Political Science
“The transformative power of OTI cannot be overstated. Engaging all five senses with various narratives, while crossing mental and physical borders daily, allowed concepts to be deeply felt, not merely understood. The force of such rigorous education gave me the momentum to do things afterward I would have never imagined. The most important point, however, is that I am not unique in being effected by OTI. A growing network of leaders is created from this initiative, one driven by critical thinking and the understanding that proactive and collaborative engagement is necessary to address the world’s most pressing issues.”
Immediately after OTI, I conducted research for and taught my own college course on cultural narratives at UCI in my senior year. After graduating, and having learned of the power of travel from OTI, I decided to live in Vietnam for a year teaching English, rediscovering the roots of my identity and relearning the Vietnamese language. In 2011, I was awarded the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship and lived in the Netherlands for one year doing a master’s degree in Conflict Resolution and Governance at the University of Amsterdam. As an ambassadorial scholar, I gave presentations about the Olive Tree Initiative to Rotary Clubs throughout the Netherlands, Cairo, Egypt, Tennessee and California. I am currently doing a Ph.D in political theory and conflict resolution at UC Riverside. I am also coordinating the OTI alumni network so we can continue building relationships and capacities for long term change.
I can surely doubt I would have done any of the aforementioned things had it not been for OTI.