Mark Morris: Making local government fun
Instructor: Dr. Mark Morris has been teaching Inside State & Local Government since the Summer Scholars program’s start in 2014. He is the assistant chair of the Department of Political Science and a member of the senior clincal faculty. Morris teaches courses on public management, federalism, and public administration during the regular school year.
Course material: Morris starts by introducing students to state and local government. “What does local government do? How do we tend to overlook it?” Students learn about the services the government provides (for example, driver’s licenses), how governments go about budgeting their money, and the security needed to keep an area safe (police). In order to see their government in action, students take two field trips: one to an Oxford City Council meeting, and another to the local courts system. The course wraps up with a mock budget-and-policy seminar.
Why he returns: Morris keeps
coming back to Summer Scholars because it’s a great recruiting tool for the school and he gets to see future political scientists. But also, it’s simply “a lot of fun”. And even if students do not go into political science themselves, Dr. Morris hopes that “they will be more engaged citizens at the end of the day.”
Why He Teaches Government: Morris says he doesn’t keep his personal bias out of the classroom. Not in the usual way that one would think — he won’t try to sway someone towards the Republican or Democrat side. But he says he believes going to work for the government is a “noble” profession, and he’s “not going to apologize for teaching kids to go work in government.” Morris says he gets mostly students who want to go into political science or pre-law.
Inside State & Local Government is taught in Room 202 of Harrison Hall.
Nicholas Jaworski: Following in his father’s bootsteps
Nico Jaworski, 17, hails from Annandale, Virginia, and is here at Miami for Lost Cities & Civilizations: Archaeology and the Ancient World. The module reflects his two favorite school subjects of science and history. Both of Jaworski’s parents attended Miami, and he says he definitely wants to go to school here as well.
Jaworski spends his free time collecting records and wrestling for his school. Although he was born in San Diego, California, he has lived in Fort Worth, Texas, and Stratford, Virginia, due to his father’s role as a Major in the United States Marine Corps.
His father served 20 years in the Marines, and retired several years ago. Jaworski wants to join the Marines as well, saying he sees it as a more “elite” branch of the military and that he admires the history behind the branch. Jaworski plans to stay in for 20 years or longer, and wants to become a four-star general and, ultimately, become Commandmant of the Marine Corps — the highest rank an officer can hold. (The Commandmant is considered the head of the Marine Corps and is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.)
While there was no one thing his father did or said that made Jaworski want to join the military as well, his interest in archaeology can be traced to his time in Texas. While living there, he remembers, he and his father would go and dig for fossils in a pile of dirt near their house. He plans to major in anthropology in college and enlist in Marine boot camp soon after he graduates.
Maggie Westover: Finding her passion
Maggie Westover hasn’t really been home for a while.
Prior to arriving at Summer Scholars, the Evanston, Illinois, senior, 16, spent three weeks as a member of the Junior Support Staff at Camp Echo in Fremont, Michigan. It was Westover’s sixth year at the camp, however, it was her first time as a member of the staff.
She helped in the kitchens, making meals and cleaning up after the campers, and watched over the staff’s children. Camp, Westover says, brings out the best in her because it gives her room to be a leader.
Volunteering her time for others is something Westover does often. She’s participating in the Pathways to Helping Professions module at Summer Scholars, and is also a member of the Justin Wynn Leadership Academy in her hometown. Members of the Academy volunteer around the community at places such as soup kitchens and animal shelters. Although Westover isn’t sure what she wants to do after college, she knows she wants to major in psychology.
In school, Westover’s favorite subjects are AP Biology and AP Language & Composition. She’s a member of the yearbook staff and loves to hang out with her friends outside of class. Justin Wynn takes up the majority of her time, but Westover says she finds joy in helping other people and feels it’s her calling to go into a field where she could do just that.
Leona Peng explores an American education
Coming to Miami was the first time Leona Peng had ever been to the United States.
The rising junior, 16, lives in Beijing, China, and is at the university for the Pathways to Helping Professions module. Peng says she wants to go into education for a career, although she doesn’t know yet specifically what she wants to do.
So far, Peng’s favorite experience with her module was when they took a field trip to a childcare center and got to play with the children and learn about their behavior. On the flip side, she says that the thing she misses most about China is the food, especially the vegetables. And the different cultural norms took some getting used to (for example: no one in China says ‘bless you!’ after someone sneezes).
Peng’s life in China is much different from an American teenager’s here. She takes a 40-minute public bus ride to her school every morning. Her favorite classes and clubs include Tea Class, Motor Plane Class, and Satellite Club. However, there are familiar elements. Peng says she loves to read and play badminton in her free time. She has two goldfish and takes trips with her family around China and Asia in the summer–she’s been to places such as Thailand, Japan, and Singapore.
The most surprising thing about America, Peng says, was how friendly everyone would be, both in her module and in her family. Although she knew wanted to attend an American university before coming to Miami, the program here has only made her want to come to the United States more.
Media Matters: Peeking beyond the reporter’s notebook
No one goes into a job knowing exactly what to do.
This is true for all professions, but, as I learned during my two weeks here in the Summer Scholars program, especially true for journalists. Austin Fast, working in public radio, had to quickly understand how important local fisheries to Alaskan towns. Emily Tate would do her homework when she started writing for EdScoop in order to know what the technology terms used by her sources meant. Craig McKee not only writes and presents stories for WCPO of Cincinnati but also listens to viewers complaints and compliments. Each one of these people has learned skills on the job that their school could not prepare them for.
My favorite part of Media Matters was the field trip we took down to Cincinnati (my hometown!) to see a variety of journalists in action. While by the river, we talked and listened to journalists in print, in a lifestyle magazine, from public radio, and from a broadcast television station. My Summer Scholars experience has made me consider journalism for a career, and the place I could see myself fitting in most was the Cincinnati Enquirer’s office. I’m not that interested in local events/dining, and television moves too fast for me, but even though print newspapers have to work on tight deadlines and work hard for each stories, it’s the place where journalism began in America, and it’s the place where I would want to begin my career as well.
Over the course of these two weeks I’ve learned things about journalism and reporting that I had no idea were important. I’ve learned how much extra work can go into a story. I had no idea tv reporters oftentimes had to shoot their own footage, or how much research really goes into an investigative piece.
I am so grateful for the friends I’ve made during this program and for having such an awesome teacher. I’ve learned so many things during my time here at Miami and started to polish skills I’m sure I’ll need in the future. I’ve come away from this with a greater appreciation for journalists and the work they do, and will carry this experience with me in the future.
About the author
Morgan Schneider, 17, is a rising senior from Sycamore High School in Montgomery, Ohio, a suburb to the north of Cincinnati. Her academic interests include her English and history classes, playing in her school’s orchestra, and participating on the junior varsity golf team. Outside of school, Schneider enjoys reading, writing, playing in the rock orchestra Sycamore Electric Ensemble, and going for walks in her neighborhood. While at Miami, Schneider finished Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut. She hopes to attend college for English and history and aspires to become a writer after completing her education.