Author Archives: Eve '10

Thesis, more thesis, and a bit of law school news mixed in

I spent so much time working on my thesis that sixth block passed by without me even realizing it. That’s the thing about independent study. I don’t have class, so weekdays, weekends, and breaks all feel exactly the same. Every day, I wake up, go to the pool to swim, arrive at the Econ Lab by around 8:30, work on my thesis until 6 pm (sometimes later), eat dinner, and go home. I have cereal and milk and some dishes stored in the lab if I need a snack, but I spend most of my waking hours running regressions and writing my thesis.

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Slaving away on my thesis in the Econ Lab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although I’ll be stoked when I finally finish my thesis, I’m lucky that I have such an interesting topic to study. I’m writing on high-skilled immigration and its impact on U.S. innovation (i.e., patent activity). This is an area that is just beginning to grace academic journals, so there’s still a lot of research that needs to be done. Colorado College has developed a really cool database using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to show where all of the issued patents are located for the last 30 years. Part of my research includes focusing in on certain metropolitan innovative hot-spots (e.g., the Bay Area, New York, and Seattle) to control for spillover effects (the idea that innovation breeds more innovation in surrounding areas). I’m still in the middle of perfecting my model, so it’s a little early to have conclusive results…but my advisor is confident that we’ll be able to publish my research in an Economics peer-reviewed journal.

In addition to working on my thesis, I’ve been busy with preparing for law school. At this point, I’ve heard back from most of my schools and all of my results have been positive. Right now, the short list includes:

  • University of Pennsylvania (Ranked 8th)
  • University of Virginia (Ranked 10th overall and 8th in International Law)
  • University of Texas (Ranked 15th overall with one of the strongest Immigration Law programs in the country)
  • George Washington University, which offered me $105,500 merit scholarship with  free housing (Ranked 8th in International Law)
  • University of Colorado, which offered me a full scholarship for all three years

The hard part is waiting to hear back about financial aid. While some schools (GW and CU) have already determined their merit scholarships, the others have not. Furthermore, none of the schools have even begun to determine my grant or loan eligibility – and you’re not allowed to work for your entire first year of law school. So I’m stoked that I’ve gotten into all of these prestigious schools, but I have no clue if I can afford to actually attend them. I don’t remember college being quite this frustrating, but maybe that’s because my mom was to there to help me. My advice: have your parents deal with all that confusing financial stuff for as long as possible!

Right now, there’s still a lot to figure out. I’m trying to visit all of my schools in the coming weeks. UT is flying me out in two weeks, and then I have a trip planned to D.C. and Charlottesville in early April. How am I missing all this class on the block plan, you wonder? I’m enrolled in an independent study with a really chill professor (the block plan is more flexible than you think). It’s crazy to think that I’ll have made my final decision within the next month…just in time to enjoy 8th block and my 22nd birthday!

The Wall

This half block, I took Globalization and Immigration on the US-Mexico Border. After a couple days of theory, we spent a week traveling around border towns all over Arizona and Sonora. Although I knew the course would cover a heavy subject matter, I was not prepared for what I witnessed. The Border region is an area where our Constitution is selectively applied as we create a new age of apartheid comprised of constant checkpoints, agents hassling those with darker skin to prove their identity and lawful residence, and extreme poverty bordering wealth and luxury. There is a 20-foot wall that divides communities and presents a host of environmental problems, such as massive flooding. Border Patrol cars line the border, and helicopters fly overhead. Surely this cannot be how things are in the United States of America…but this has become our reality.

The border is beginning to gain political visibility with the introduction of two immigration bills in Congress and two high-profile articles in the New York Times this month, which you can check out at:

War Without Borders: In Drug War, Tribe Feels Invaded by Both Sides (We met with Ofelia Rivas, quoted on page two.)

Officials Hid Truth of Immigrant Deaths in Jail

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A cross on the Wall in Agua Prieta to honor the migrants who have died in the desert while attempting to cross the the border.

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Each ribbon has the name of a migrant who has died.

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The trash-dam along the Wall in Nogales, causing major flooding in Mexico.

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An endless line of Border Patrol agents lining the border wall in Nogales.

Ringing in 2010

I’ve had a whirlwind month. Just when I thought I finally finished with my law school applications, several more top ten schools contacted me saying that they’d waive my application fee if I were to apply…Obviously, I had to apply, and I’ve had my hands full writing supplemental essays for each school. I still think that applying to college is much more daunting than applying to law school, however. For better or for worse, much more of the admission decision is based on your LSAT score and GPA.

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My brother and me at Christmas Brunch

This was my first Christmas without my father, so my family and I decided to start a couple of new traditions. The first was eating Christmas brunch together. The three of us dined at the St. Julien Hotel in downtown Boulder, a few short blocks from my brother’s apartment. To my delight, our table was right next to the dessert station! The other new thing we did was to drive up to Flagstaff Mountain and watch the sunrise over the city on New Year’s Day. After barely sleeping, it was almost impossible to motivate myself to bear the cold and snowy conditions, but it was totally worth it. After everything that’s happened over the past year, it was nice to reflect and set new goals surrounded by people who love me. It’s crazy to think how different my life will be in half a year. I’ll know what school I’ll be attending and where I’ll be living for the next three years. Right now, everything is unclear and undecided. It’s difficult to stay calm and be patient when it feels like I have no control over my life. But then I think back to this time last year and remember how things were even less clear and how much more stressed I was about graduation and law school. I had the LSAT looming over my head, wondering what my score would be and which schools I should research and apply to. I thought that I might want to take a year off in between college and law school, but I wasn’t sure. I eventually found my answers. That’s what I have to remember: be patient, and everything will turn out alright.

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The full moon at sunrise over the Continental Divide

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Another Capital Visit

I find myself in D.C. yet again this block to participate in a conference through the Study of the Center of the Presidency and Congress, one of the country’s most respected think tanks regarding political issues. The Center runs a yearlong fellowship with 85 students (both graduate and undergraduate) to study the US Presidency, the public policy making process, and the Chief Executive’s relations with Congress, allies, the media, and the American public. The fellowship culminates in a 30 page paper discussing presidential policy. I am lucky enough to be Colorado College’s representative.

Wednesday afternoon, I ran from class to the airport, arriving at the gate, just as my plane was boarding. That’s the one nice thing about having a small airport nearby…you can get in and out quickly. I arrived in D.C. late that night…scarfed down my warm welcome cookie, and headed up to my room to meet my roommate, Paige. She’s Texas A&M’s rep, and everything one would expect of a Texas sorority girl: beautiful, brilliant, friendly…and packed six pairs of shoes, all with six-inch heels.

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Outside the Supreme Court...right before we saw Justice Sotomayor walk by

Thursday morning, everyone began arriving. I couldn’t help but to notice that the gender ratio was quite skewed. Women were outnumbered 4:1. The funny thing is that Colorado College has sent female reps for the last four years. For the most part, the students were from big, east coast universities and military academies. I have students in my peer group that are graduate students at Cornell and Yale, and everyone here is absolutely brilliant (example: my roommate is a regional finalist for the Marshall Scholarship). I have to admit, it was quite intimidating having to present my research to grad students, but once I got over my initial insecurities, I began to feel inspired. Being around all these dedicated people has made me reflect on what I want to do next year and challenged me to take necessary risks to realize my potential.

The highlight of Thursday was undoubtedly Bud Krogh. Krogh was an advisor to the Nixon administration and was imprisoned for his part as a “Plumber” leading up to the Watergate Scandal. When the Pentagon Papers were made public, Krogh was tasked with preventing the further leakage of classified White House documents. He went a little too far when he arranged for the break-in of a psychiatrist’s office to gather information on one of his patients (the person who had leaked the report to the New York Times). Although Krogh only spent two days engaging in illegal behavior under the misguided guise of “National Security,” it was enough for him to be sentenced to two to six years in prison. Two days of tacit consent erased all of his hard work and noble accomplishments. And the saddest part was that at the time he genuinely believed that he was acting in the country’s best interest. What was remarkable was the deep reflection Krogh had done since then. He spoke to us about ethics and loyalties and having the courage to voice a dissenting opinion. The rest of the conference was great (trips to the Supreme Court, running into Justice Sotomayor in the corridor, and briefings from Hill staffers), but Bud Krogh’s speech had the greatest impact on me.

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Outside the White House on Friday night on our walk back from dinner and drinks

Although the Center kept us pretty busy, they were nice enough to give us Friday night off. I quickly made friends with several students, and went to eat dinner at Old Ebbitt’s Grill. The restaurant is famous for entertaining several Presidents, and is steps away from the White House. Afterwards, we crossed the street to hang out at Hotel Washington’s rooftop bar and enjoyed a gorgeous view of the city.

Senators, Politics, and Law School Apps, Oh my!

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My Roommate, Doug, and me with Senator McGovern (and his new book) before heading off to dinner (picture from CC Website).

It’s been a jam-packed two blocks full of American History and law school applications. Last block, Senator George McGovern visited CC. At 87-years-old, he was surprisingly witty. He gave an enthralling lecture about his new biography on Abraham Lincoln, followed by an intimate dinner at President Celeste’s house. It was such an opportunity to gain insight into the career of a political icon. We asked him questions like what he wished he’d done differently during his 1972 presidential campaign, what he’d change about his political career, and what it was like to be a daytime bomber during WWII. The Poli Sci major in me was in heaven. I admire the senator’s dedication to stay involved in American politics despite suffering a landslide loss amidst Nixon’s duplicity in the Watergate Scandal. I still am amazed that I spent an entire evening with George McGovern.

Part II of my American History lesson was over block break when I visited our nation’s first capital, Philadelphia. One of my best friends, Kristin, is from Philly, and invited a me and a mutual friend, Branden, to visit her hometown. Branden and I rode our very first train, ate our first genuine Philly Cheesesteak, visited Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, and the Eastern State Penn (where Al Capone stayed). I also visited the University of Pennsylvania Law School. We spent the rest of the break relaxing at Kristin’s family beach house in Delaware.

Block II was a little unusual because it was my first thesis block. As such, I did not have class…just independent research under the guidance of an Economics professor. My flexible schedule permitted me to take a week off to travel with my FYE (First Year Experience) class to Washington, D.C. FYE is the first two blocks every first year student takes at CC, and is freshmen only. Each class has one or two upperclassmen mentors. This year, I am a mentor for the Principles of Economics FYE. The students spent the first 6 weeks of the class learning about economic theory and then had the opportunity to apply it in the form of a policy proposal that they researched in D.C. We had meetings with USDA, NASA, PhRMA, The World Bank, The Fed, Grameen Foundation, Department of the Interior, Colorado Senator Udall, and everywhere else you could imagine.

Now that I’ve come back from D.C., it’s time for me to finish up my law school applications. As you’ll remember, I spent all last winter writing about studying for the LSAT. I got my score back, and I performed well enough that several top institutions contacted me saying that they’d waive my application fees for this year. Initially, I wasn’t planning on applying to more than one or two schools because I was thinking that I’d take a year off in between college and grad school. However, I’d be foolish to turn down an opportunity to apply to top law schools for free. Accordingly, I have a lot of work to do to get all of my applications in order before Thanksgiving Break…which is why I’m spending block break getting it all done. On that note, I’m off to work on my personal statement.

¡Que Chivo!

One of the programs I worked on this summer was the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL). The cultural exchange started in 1966 to increase global understanding in an increasingly divisive world. Top American leaders between the ages of 25 and 40 travel overseas to learn about foreign political systems while key foreign political leaders between the ages of 25 and 40 visit the U.S. to learn about our political process. The CEO of El Pomar Foundation is an alumnus of the program. To show his gratitude, he hosts three delegations to visit Colorado every year. This summer, we hosted a delegation for El Salvador. Due to my immense cultural knowledge and Spanish language abilities, I was the first intern to ever work on ACYPL.

We divided our time between Denver and Colorado Springs, meeting with top state officials and participating in cultural activities. I arranged for the delegates to meet with Attorney General John Suthers, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, and Climate Change Manager (and CC alumna) Ginny Brannon. They also met with top Colorado Springs officials, such as Mayor Lionel Rivera and IFES (International Foundation for Electoral Systems) President Richard Soudriette. We also fit in plenty of cultural activities, such as National Cheesecake Day at The Cheesecake Factory, a tour of the US Olympic Training Center, and a hike around Garden of the Gods.

The Salvadorans were awesome. They remained engaged throughout the day and continuously asked thoughtful questions. El Salvador is a war-torn country, achieving peace a mere 17 years ago. At the end of the Civil War, Salvadorans restructured their political system, and are eager to improve it. It was such a rich experience to be able to get to teach such prominent leaders about the U.S. and our politics, while also getting to learn more about them and their country’s history. I also enjoyed the opportunity to meet with all of the speakers. I would normally not have access to political officials, such as the Attorney General, or meet with them in such intimate settings. It was interesting getting to see their take on the Colorado and American political system.

Overall, it was exciting to practice my Spanish and learn some Salvadoran slang (like chivo means “cool”). The bonds the Salvadorans and I formed will be long lasting, and who knows…one of them might very well become the President of El Salvador within the next ten years.

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Me with some of the delegates at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs

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All seven delegates with Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper

Summer Internship

I have started an internship with the El Pomar Foundation (EPF). EPF has one of the largest endowments in the Rocky Mountain Region, granting approximately $25 million annually to Colorado nonprofits. Most nonprofits focus either on granting out money (like a Foundation) or on community stewardship (like running programs). EPF is unique because it has a dual facetted approach, incorporating both grantmaking and community stewardship. As the programs intern, I work on eight of their programs in various capacities. I conduct Community Impact Visits to organizations that have received grant money, I write reports on past years’ events, and conduct data analysis. It keeps me pretty busy, but I absolutely love what I’m doing.

On top of all that, I love the location. During the school year, I don’t spend too much time off CC campus.. Working at EPF has allowed me to get to know a completely new area of the Springs, which is breathtakingly beautiful. El Pomar is closely tied with the Broadmoor Hotel, and its executive offices are on the hotel’s property. I a block away from the Broadmoor at the Penrose House. It’s just close enough (6.5 miles) to comfortably bike to work. In fact, with all the stoplights and traffic downtown, it takes almost the same amount of time to bike as it does to drive. The Penrose House is the estate of the founders of EPF, Julie and Spencer Penrose. EPF bought the house in the early nineties to use as offices and provide a free meeting space/conference center for nonprofits. Working in such a beautiful place makes me excited to come to work every morning…that, plus I love my job and the people I work with.

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The Penrose House...where I work! (photo from EPF website)

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Two of eight deer laying in the front lawn of the Penrose House

Catching up

So the last few months have been a total whirlwind. I barely remember seventh and eighth blocks. I ended up getting the flu which had me out of commission for the last several weeks of school. Block Plan plus sickness do not mix well. But I somehow managed to rally and pull through it (and clearly that did not include any blog postings).

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Arriving at Reagan National Airport. Don't worry; we bought carbon offsets for our flight to and from D.C.

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Discussing agricultural offsets with Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack

Eighth block I took a class called Global Environmental Economics. For the first two weeks, we learned about climate change economic models and municipal and state responses to climate change. Then, we spent our last week in Washington, D.C. studying the political process of pushing climate change legislation through Congress (i.e. the Waxman-Markey Bill). During the first week of class, our professor made a promise to us. He said that by the end of the three and a half weeks, we would know more about climate change than any undergraduate class in the nation. Initially, I thought he was exaggerating, but upon completion of the class, I really do believe that I now know more than any other undergraduate student at any other school.

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Our first day of classes in D.C. beginning at the World Wildlife Fund

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On the mall in front of the White House

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Enjoying a night off at the State Capital in Annapolis with my classmate, Alli

It was amazing how many connections CC has to the climate change world. We were able to meet with several alums at the World Wildlife Fund, who were instrumental in coordinating the case study. We spoke with several other prominent NGOs, such as the Environmental Defense Fund, the Pew Center, and United States Climate Action Partnership. We also met with top politicians like Congresswoman Diana DeGette (CC alumna) and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (CC parent), who were able to squeeze us in between meetings with the President and security briefings on Afghanistan.

It was a truly amazing class. I had no idea what I was signing up for during preregistration, but it is classes like these that truly define the CC experience. Uninterested in climate change issues, I registered for the class to fulfill a major requirement. Upon completion, I found that the experience instilled in me a passion for the environment I never knew that I had and aided me with myriad connections in the climate change field.

Since then, I have been keeping pretty busy with my internship at the El Pomar Foundation…which I will save for another posting.

Spring Break South of the Border

The view of the main beach from our hotel room balcony

Looking back on everything, I’ve decided that this year’s spring break was the best spring break I’ve ever had. I spent ten days in Mexico, the first half with friends in the beach town of Acapulco and the last half visiting family in Mexico City. After spending 7 months last year in South America, I was desperate for a beach fix.

Chelsea and me with the divers after the show

Chelsea and I chose Acapulco because it’s close to Mexico City, safe, cheap, has a great night life, wicked waves, and gorgeous views. We spent our days on the beach, drinking congas, riding jet skis, and playing in the ocean. At night we’d go clubbing. We also had a chance to visit La Quebrada to see the cliff divers. These young men risk their lives to jump off these ridiculously high cliffs (several hundred feet up) into raging waters. They have to time their dives just right so that they don’t hit the rocks and die. It’s really exciting to watch. We picked an excellent time to visit Acapulco. For most of our stay, the city was relatively empty. Just as we were leaving, the rest of the spring breakers began arriving.

I arrived Sunday afternoon to Mexico City. I was able to spend a few minutes catching up with my Abuelo. When he saw me, he asked me what I had been eating. I’ve always felt really short here in the U.S., but I’m huge by Mexican standards. All of my aunts are 4’10” and weigh 95 pounds…so I, at 5’4″, seem like a giant to them. Everyone was amazed at how tall I’ve become. After spending time at Abuelo’s house, we met up with my aunt Tita and her children for dinner.

The Pyramid of the Moon

Since Monday was a holiday, my dad organized a excursion to Teotihuacan with several of my cousins. Just an hour outside of Mexico City, Teotihuacan is home to some ancient Aztec ruins, including the Street of the Dead, the Pyramid of the Sun, and the Pyramid of the Moon. These pyramids were built in 700 BC and the Pyramid of the Sun is the third largest pyramid in the world. After we had thouroughly explored the ruins, we ate lunch at this amazing restaurant located inside a nearby cave.

Bere, Mari Jose, Sofia, and me at the convent

Tuesday I went to a pewter factory to order some formal place settings for my house next year. Later that night I went to a convent to recite the Rosary with my aunt Bere and two cousins Maria Jose and Sofia. It was a little tough saying the prayers in Spanish, but I caught on pretty quickly to Hail Mary. When I got back to Tita’s house, I was excited to see that my father had dropped by to eat dinner with us.

Wednesday I caught up with my aunt Pollo (that’s a nickname, her real name is Norma, but no one ever calls her that) and cousin Rocio for a delicious lunch in the posh district of Polanco where Rocio works. Afterwards, Pollo and I went to watch a movie at the IMAX.  Once again, my father was awaiting to eat dinner with me when I returned to Tita’s house.

Abuelo blowing us a kiss after discovering the mariachi band

Thurday was my father and my grandfather’s santo (or saint day). Your santo is the day of your saint’s feast day. For me, since Eve is short for Genevieve, it’s the feast day of Saint Genevieve on January 3rd. Because the feast day of Saint Joseph is on March 19, that’s when we celebrate my abuelo (Jose) and my father’s (also Jose) santo. In Mexico, your santo is a bigger deal than your birthday. You have a party and receive presents. It was very exciting for me to be in Mexico for this special day. A few of my aunts and I woke up early to serenade my grandfather with an 11 piece mariachi band. He loved his surprise.

My father with his sisters at the Santo celebration

A little while later, we went to the salon to get manicures, and then arrived at Pollo’s house for the celbritory lunch. Pollo is an excellent cook, and didn’t disappoint with her fabulous paella. We also had a ton of chicharron, queso fresco, the spiciest salsa I’ve ever tasted, and strawberries in cream. After the party, I went to pick up my pewter plates and hang out with my aunt Pame and my cousins Santiago and Maria.

Friday morning, my aunts, abuelo, and I went to breakfast to celebrate Pollo’s birthday. Afterwards, I had to go to the airport. My father and I enjoyed one last meal before saying goodbye, and then I was off to explore Duty Free. I was delayed several hours in Dallas, but I finally made it back to Denver late Friday night. I had the whole weekend to enjoy with my mom and catch up on sleep. The break was a perfect balance of fun in the sun with friends and catching up with family.

Team Tour Guide

So the LSAT is OVER. Thank God. It’ll be another week before I know my score, but I’m feeling pretty good about the test; I couldn’t have been more prepared. It’s been an interesting two weeks slowly re-entering society. I had completely secluded myself, with no company save my LSAT books for the week leading up to the test. I was still in zombie mode for all of block break and most of last week. But now that my stress level has fallen, and I have time to eat and sleep again, life has returned to normal.

On Friday, our tour guide t-shirts arrived. Since my boss likes to use sports metaphors in tour guide emails and thought that his emails were so hilarious, he decided that he’d extend the metaphor to this year’s shirts. They’re pretty sweet, I must admit. They’re baseball tees with the CC logo on the front with “Team Tour Guide” printed underneath. On the back they have our nicknames and class year for the number. Mine says, “Captain” (because I’m the Tour Guide Coordinator) and my boss’s says, “Coach.”

Their arrival couldn’t have been timed more perfectly. The last two home hockey games of the year were this past weekend, an opportune time to premier our shirts. My boss’s extact words were: “I have your t-shirt which you are expected to wear at all times for the rest of your life becasue it’s just that awesome.” Following his instructions, I sported the tour guide apparrel to the hockey game to cheer our team on.

Chelsea and me (in my sweet tour guide t-shirt) at the hockey game

Right after the team scored, making it 5-3 (Tigers) with 30 seconds left in the third period