Too much time has passed since my recent blog dating back to September when I paid tribute to our deceased daughter. Since that time, I visited by home town, as the featured photo shows, and I’v had a life-changing event: a new job!
Now, I have been on my new job, which was a move from one department to another at the university where I work for nearly one month. I have gone from social researcher and community educator to another exciting job that works to ensure the success of multicultural students. Now remember, “multicultural” means all cultures! One thing that I’ve realized in my work with the many cultures, ethnicities, and dominant populations these past 25 years is that many think the word, “multicultural” means anyone who is not White and middle-class (in the United States). That means finding common definition or understanding to assure that 1) Every human is from a culture, 2) Everyone has an ethnicity (belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural traditions), and 3) Every human can find common ground from which to build a relationship. As you can see, I have my work cut out for me.
One thing I didn’t report, here, is that my former work was at an agricultural experiment station in SW Kansas. Now I am on the campus, which is 4.5 hours away. That means sell a house and buy a house. Wish me luck.
So, in terms of friendships that change because they have become long-distance, I have wonderfully close friends in my former town. I will see them often, for now, because I go “home” on the weekends. I am making new friends, too. I will return to my soon-to-be former home this weekend to eat, drink, and be merry with my friends. I love them dearly. I have gone to a few dinner gatherings since being in the town of my new position. Since many of our readers like food, I will share a newly-created appetizer that I took to one of the gatherings.
It’s a fruit, cheese, and nut medley, and I’ve named it, “Fall Colors”.
1 bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup (64g) coconut sugar
2 teaspoons (8.5g) Chinese 5 spice
One “log” of goat cheese
1 cup (28g) shelled walnuts
Brandy or vanilla is optional (brandy would be added during cooking and vanilla added when removed from the heat)
To make the compote, chop the oranges (peeling and all) and combine with the other ingredients in a saucepan to cook gently until the liquid comes out of the cranberries and oranges and the compote is thickened. Remove from the heat. If you use vanilla, add it now.
After the compote has cooled, place the goat cheese on a plate, and arrange the compote around the cheese, and top with the walnuts.
When you scoop it up, make sure you have a nice distribution of the cheese, compote and the nuts so that you have the advantage of all the flavors. It goes well with nut crackers, and enhances the taste of red wine. I call it “Fall Colors”, because cranberries and oranges are fresh at this time in the Northern Hemisphere.
I am a geographer specializing in human systems. My passion is studying underrepresented populations so that I can assist in their integration into the communities in which they live. I studied Human Ecology because it is a wonderful blend of the disciplines of geography, anthropology and sociology. No matter the context in which I find myself, I am an observer of humans in their environments and how the influences in those settings build and nurture sense-of-self, sense-of-place, and sense-of-direction in educational, familial, and community settings. My work focuses on the cross-cultural and intercultural traditions of multi-lingual populations acculturating into their receiving communities and being successful in educational arenas of higher education. This work includes gathering, analyzing, and writing about health, well-being, and environmental/social connectedness in their communities. My research focuses on Minority-majority, rural, Midwest communities. My role as director of intercultural learning and academic success at Kansas State University allows me to discover more about myself as I work with others in their paths to self-discovery in their own interactions with students and families who come from different parts of the country and the world all converging in educational spaces. Recently, I lived, worked and played in Southwest Kansas, a region marked by Minority-majority populations centers (56% – 68%). Some of my research results are used to address poverty, low educational attainment, poor health outcomes, and cultural norms in multi-cultural settings. I work to assure a representative sample for my research, so I engage in multi-lingual research (English, Spanish, Burmese, French, Tigrinya, and Somali). Building trust and relationships is the key to my success as a multilingual researcher. Presently, my research takes me in the micro-communities of populations represented by nine African countries (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Somalia, and Cameroon), seven Latin American countries, and six Asian countries. Yes, it is rural Southwest Kansas, and many of the densely-settled and frontier rural communities act as receiving centers for refugees and other displaced populations, because of the availability of jobs.
I am the recent recipient of National Geographic Society’s Research and Exploration grant to introduce Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to females of color. This inter-generational, intercultural class hosted middle school, high school, and adult females who learned the basics of GIS with a variety of applications from remote sensing to city planning to Google Earth, and to Pokémon GO! By the time the young ladies finished the class, they were able to build cities, map their communities, log trips from their countries of origin to the Midwest. I am in the mid-year of the grant funding, and my target for completion was July 2018. I have new funding to extend this work to new cohorts.
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