Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A STLR Transformation

Yesterday I participated in the Intern UCO end of the year showcase.

            I've served as the Research and Assessment Intern for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for two years. Through Research, Creative and Scholarly Activities, I have gained a greater understanding of Global and Cultural Competencies and Leadership. 
I dissected the structure and objectives of the following theories: Identity Diversity Development, Social Change Model of Leadership, Miami Spectrum of Service, Marginality and Mattering Theory and Intercultural Knowledge Value Theory.
I  discovered how these theories correlated with the mission of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and tied into the levels of transformation utilized in UCO Student Transformative Learning Record.
     I have combined creative and technical skill to fulfill the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s artistic vision: the quantifiable assessment of student growth in “knowledge, skills and attitudes,” which is usually qualitative and often intangible. 

            Through research, attention to details, appropriate contextualization, cross-referencing information, and tolerance for ambiguity in considering various possibilities I have become transformed in the UCO STLR Tenant of Research, Creative and Scholarly Activities. 
         This has been a great experience, and I believe the UCO Student Transformative Learning Record does give a competitive edge in the job market.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Agony of Analytics

I am the Research and Assessment Intern for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion on campus.

I research theories , create rubrics based on these theories and put together assessments to measure student growth.

 I have a knack for seeing trends in sets of data.

I'm an analytical thinker and I process better when I am able to place my experiences within a framework or compare it to a theory.

This makes a perfect intern, but  constrained 21 year old.

My younger cousin described me as, "angsty."

  1. a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general.

Maybe I am, I really just think a lot. I even think about my thinking. 

I consider all life events to be interconnected, serve a greater purpose and a have potential reason. 

I strive to discover, assess and validate this reason, stepping across my responsibilities as Kalen Russell and into the job capacity of a higher power in which I don't understand.

My fellow intern and friend, Jaylon, described me best in saying, "Kalen thinks in rubrics. Everything has to have an explanation and quantifiable cause, effect and response."

Jaylon is not wrong.

Thinking critically is an amazing gift, and it even helps me with many creative pursuits.

But, “When all the details fit in perfectly, something is probably wrong with the story.” ― Charles Baxter

And as I continue to assess my assessments, I sometimes feel I'm missing out on the experience.

Sincerely and theoritically,

Kalen Russell

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Comparison, Competetition and Categorization

I'm an only child.

I don't have siblings to be compared against- therefore, I am simultaneously the best and worst at all I do.

My accomplishments and failures are often augmented/ blown out of proportion, but never used to determine my value or as a tool to compare me to others.

I became independent at a young age. 


  1. 1.
    free from outside control; not depending on another's authority.

I respected my parents' decisions, but I was empowered to make my own choices whenever possible.

I wish to magnify my experience of being an autonomous individual to everyone. My parents realize that there is only Kalen Russell. That of Earth's 7.8 billion people, I am unique. I process information differently, I have a distinct sense of humor, passions and needs that are mine alone.

Though equal, I am incomparable to anyone else.

Each person on Earth is the result of their personal experience and characteristic disposition. There are no means to ever compare two people- nor is there a need to.

Far too often one person is used to represent the ideologies, beliefs and mannerisms of a group. This mindset is often referred to as stereotyping.
A generalization, usually exaggerated or oversimplified and often offensive, that is used to describe or distinguish a group.

Stereotypes rob individuals of their uniqueness, value and sometimes their potential. Stereotypes derive from laziness, as our brain evaluates an entire community based on one individual.
Stereotypes are frequently placed upon minorities, because they are they have a smaller presence in a population in comparison their majority counterparts.
A few populations frequently stereotyped in the United States include:
  • Muslims
  • African-Americans
  • Hispanics
  • Disabled persons
  • Veterans
  • Immigrants
Stereotypes are detrimental to our humanity, reducing beautifully complex individuals to a generic assumptions. 

Removing stereotypes from our ways of thinking is difficult, but definitely possible and absolutely necessary.

In addition to being stereotyped by others, minorities may also suffer from stereotype threat.

Stereotype threat refers to being at risk of confirming, as self-characteristic, a negative stereotype about one's group    

Stereotypes are harmful, to both the person stereotyping and the one being stereotyped. Getting to know someone as an individual requires effort, but the rewards are tremendous, and odds are you will learn something new and maybe make a friend.
I try to limit the extent that I allow societal stereotypes to influence how I view myself and what I assume about others, and you know what they say about assuming..... Don't do it!
What are some days to challenge stereotypes in our daily lives? Comment below.