Asian Correspondent » Pepperdine University Asian Correspondent Fri, 03 Jul 2015 10:16:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Be Positive, Be Strong Wed, 14 Jul 2010 03:38:09 +0000

Today I received a package of birthday gifts from my parents in China.  I was so happy.  It was the first birthday in the U.S.  However, my parents still shipped gifts for me. 

 I’ve been telling myself to be positive and be strong since I started my study life abroad.  There are difficulties happening in my life everyday.  However, I can feel that I am becoming more and more strong.  I tell myself to let my parents proud of me.

I saw some words in a frame on my supervisor’s wall.  I would like to share with my friends.

Watch your thoughts, they become your words;

Watch your words, they become your actions;

Watch your actions, they become your habits;

Watch your habits, they become your characters;

Watch your characters, they become your directions;

Watch your directions, they become your destiny. 

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The Land I Love Mon, 12 Jul 2010 19:36:46 +0000

When people talk about their most influential experiences, travel is usually listed at the top. Nothing is more eye-opening than discovering firsthand what comprises a culture, from a country’s politics to economic policy to food preferences to clothing choices. Even trends in entertainment (vampires, anyone?) say something interesting about what makes that culture unique.


And while many people contend that America lacks culture, or consists of a medley of cultures without its own, distinct identity, I would argue that the sprawling United States is a complex and exciting landscape, precariously occupying a spot as “leader of the free world” and a young country coming of age at a pivotal time in history. In my opinion, there is no better time to visit this marvelous, dichotomous place.


What can we offer you (besides Twilight)?


·         Beautiful terrain: Los Angeles has snowy mountains, dry desert, dynamic oceans, and lush greenery.


·         Fantasy: At the nexus of the film/television industries, this is truly a place where dreams are made.


·         A sense of community: Despite the vastness of the city, residents create an atmosphere of closeness by supporting local businesses and neighborhood restaurants.


·         A stellar education: Pepperdine is led by a distinguished faculty who are experts in their discipline. If you want to learn from the best, this is where the best reside.


·         Entertainment for dinner parties: Stories racked up from the road make one a great conversationalist!


Jaya Bhumitra is the public relations manager for the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) in Los Angeles, and a recent graduate of the GSEP master of arts in psychology program. Previously, she was manager of public affairs in the New Delhi office of APCO Worldwide, a global communications consultancy. 

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The future of hybrid military operations Sat, 10 Jul 2010 20:41:55 +0000

Thailand is experiencing an insurgency led by its “Red Shirts,” who partially support the deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. I don’t know the dynamics of the politics, so I’ll stay away from that issue. But I have been doing a lot of research on the development of modern counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine used by the United States military as part of my internship over the summer. There is an interesting point that seems to be agreed upon in the COIN literature: soldiers aren’t just for fighting anymore.

Successful COIN operations involve winning over the “masses” (as they’re labeled in the manual written by Generals Petraeus and Amos). To do that, you’ve got to secure the three P’s: persons, property, and promises. You’ve got to offer economic and social stability to the level where the population doesn’t want a change in leadership. It has to be clear to the average person that what you’ve got right now is worth more than an uncertain change.

Providing economic and social stability is not easy; it takes a lot of money, manpower, and time. Here’s the kicker: who really has all three available to them? More and more frequently, militaries are the only organizations capable of providing them.

The U.S. military is not famous for being a bastion of innovation; indeed, most large bureaucracies specialize in stifling innovation. As such, it usually takes a while for good ideas to become institutionalized. The idea that troops must do more than just capture and kill insurgencts was not one the U.S. military wanted to embrace. But good ideas rise the top much faster when it’s clear that opposing ideas are falling flat. That’s what we’ve seen in Iraq. U.S. military operations will focus much more on “hybrid operations” (overwhelming military force + social and economic support) in the future, as will other military operations around the world.

Does anyone really know what will happen with the insurgency in Thailand? Probably not. But whichever side is able to provide non-military solutions and stability just might get the edge.


-Tom Church is a Master of Public Policy candidate at Pepperdine University.

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Recent time… Sat, 10 Jul 2010 05:42:33 +0000

I was told that many friends of mine graduated and started their new lives recently.  Some of them find a job; some of them continue their graduate study in China; some of them choose to study abroad like me.  I still remember that last year I was so busy and nervous that I would start my new life in the U.S.A. 

After receiving an email about the graduation ceremony, I suddenly realized that I am going to finish my M.S. in Applied Finance program in less than one month.  It’s been almost one year since I came to the U.S. this time.  I have experienced different things, which enable me to grow up quickly.

Remembering last August, it was my second time to come to LA.  However, I had the clear feeling that my role this time had changed from a visitor to a student.  I keep myself busy all the time: getting driver’s license, taking mid-term or final exam every three weeks,  attending career events, going to networking events, celebrating the Chinese New Year first time without my parents, going back home to visit parents, taking internship interviews and starting my summer internship… 

Now, I am taking summer school, having a good internship at Warner/Chappell Music Inc., preparing for the MBA program in the fall, organizing picking-up for the incoming Chinese students and just started my graduate assistant job last week.  I know it will be a busy fall for me this year.  But I get used to this busy, which make me more comfortable.  I am happy with my life. I know I need to work even harder to achieve my goals in the future.

From the courses I have taken at business school, I not only learn how to manage a business, but also learn how to manage my life.

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Agents of change Wed, 07 Jul 2010 22:31:45 +0000

My favorite part of my job is probably gathering stories for the Pepperdine Colleague, the magazine for the Graduate School of Education and Psychology community. I’m always impressed by the range of ways that our graduates use their education, and the impact they are making on individuals and families both in this country and across the globe, so it is fun to highlight their work and motivate others.


In the last issue, I wrote about Dr. Bruce Rush, an alumnus of the doctor of psychology program who is helping children cope with and “kick” cancer by teaching them philosophies and techniques from karate.


I also featured alumni from the Educational Leadership Academy who are working with a unique charter school to help at-risk youth who would otherwise be at risk of dropping out and missing all the opportunities that come with an education.


Another feature spotlighted doctor of psychology alumna Dr. Atorina Benjamin, who established a mental health department in a Kuwaiti hospital, where diseases such as depression are often stigmatized. 


Scott Mortensen, an alumnus of the online master of arts in learning technologies program, authored a first-person Perspectives piece about his experience with relief work following the terrible earthquake that struck Haiti in January. An alumna of the same program, Sandra  de Bresser, penned another Perspectives piece about bringing information technology to classrooms in Fiji.


We also added a new column to this issue, on the conscious practice of self-care. This is a really important concept in both the fields of education and psychology which can sometimes be challenging, though equally rewarding. Marriage and family therapy alumna Kei Dalsimer described how she centered herself by hiking the Inca Trail in Peru, and provided better service to her clients as a result.


I am now developing articles on several other inspirational students and alumni for the fall/winter issue of the magazine, out this October. In the meantime, use our new comment feature under each of the stories to tell me what you think. Who do you feel is making the biggest difference and why?


Jaya Bhumitra is the public relations manager for the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) in Los Angeles, and a recent graduate of the GSEP master of arts in psychology program. Previously, she was manager of public affairs in the New Delhi office of APCO Worldwide, a global communications consultancy.  

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Where Knowledge and Friendships Flourish Wed, 07 Jul 2010 00:25:43 +0000

Best friends are easily made in college. But I never thought I would develop such meaningful friendships in graduate school. Prior to my program, I had associated higher education with rigorous exams and compromised sleep. So, I was surprised and delighted to meet Nasrin, Kristin, Roxy, Nicole, Missy, and Michelle – just a few of many names that have become so important to me.


Not only did we have a love of learning in common. We shared other things too: ambition, optimism, a strong work ethic, and lots and lots of laughter. Between study breaks during late-night cramming sessions and snack breaks during class, we transitioned from colleagues to lifelong friends.


Cohort models of classes are especially conducive to creating the kind of strong bonds that I was fortunate enough to establish. So much more can be gained from classroom lessons when you can debate them in tightly-knit discussions and cross-collaborate on team-oriented assignments. Perhaps most rewarding is the professional network building. As my friends and I progress in our careers, we can turn to each other for guidance, support, and assistance. We will always be allies in addition to friends.


Jaya Bhumitra is the public relations manager for the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) in Los Angeles, and a recent graduate of the GSEP master of arts in psychology program. Previously, she was manager of public affairs in the New Delhi office of APCO Worldwide, a global communications consultancy.  

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My Fourth of July Trip… Mon, 05 Jul 2010 21:26:32 +0000

While most people wrapped up their Thursday and Fridays early to quickly go home and relax for the upcoming Independence day weekend, I spent all day working from 7am-5pm and then attending school from 6pm-10pm, just to get home and frantically pack and drive 300miles into the barren desert where a small casino town is located in Laughlin, Nevada.  Don’t get me wrong, I would have much rather taken my time and stayed in beautiful Santa Monica, but I home-stay with a crazy Indian family that think it’s better to caravan with 20 family members out to nowhere and swim in a lake that has no shade from the scorching hot 110 degree sun. 

If you haven’t heard of Laughlin, Nevada, you’re not missing much.  It is a much smaller version of Las Vegas, only having 5 major casino hotels, and not to mention that only super old, over-weight people go there to indulge in the calorie-dense buffets and families that drag their kids along.  If you’re looking to party, Laughlin is NOT the place to go, but if you feel like being in the heat and wasting your time, Laughlin is perfect. 

I must admit there was one very nice aspect of going out there, it was when you soak your body in the cool, refreshing lake and snorkel across to see schools of fish, it is like being in another world.  You forget about the heat, the sun, the people and just hear yourself breath and your heart beat.  It is pretty relaxing and helps calm the mind.  And about after 5 hours of swimming around all the buffet food gets to be very inticing and each bite is worth the 100 calories. 

So overall, it was an interesting vacation, but not one that I would do every year for 18 years like the family I went with.

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Twitter in Asia Fri, 02 Jul 2010 20:34:09 +0000

This article about using Twitter in Indonesia is fascinating to me. I don’t have a sense of how popular Twitter is overseas, so I was surprised when I read this:

The social networking site [Twitter], which currently has more than 100 million users across the globe, continues to take Indonesia by storm. Earlier this year, Sysomos, an international social media monitoring firm, ranked Indonesia sixth globally in terms of number of users, after the United States, Brazil, Britain, Canada and Germany.

The article describes tensions among Muslim scholars who use Twitter. Some are more moderate, some are more conservative. The article notes, “The battle between moderate and conservative Muslims on Twitter is a microcosm of the global difficulty of fostering constructive dialog among opposing religious views.” I think it is fascinating that a few years ago, the debate would have been restricted to millions of fewer people than it is today. Twitter is easy enough to use that even traditionally late-adopters (read: adults and non-nerds) have taken to Tweeting.

Not everything that is said on the service is good or right, yet the ability to discuss issues freely should be celebrated and promoted. I’ll take the bad with the good, as long as it all leads to better, freer societies.

Do you agree? Let me know on Twitter (@tvchurch).

Tom Church is a Master of Public Policy Candidate at Pepperdine University.

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Vacation time Wed, 30 Jun 2010 18:05:06 +0000

Vacations are probably people’s favorite time of year because they get to do what they want. Here at Pepperdine, students are given two unbalanced vacations. The first is winter vacation, which lasts 4-5 weeks, and the second is summer vacation, which last 18-19 weeks. Yes, we do get a thanksgiving break and spring break but those last only a few days. As a current Pepperdine student I am one of those people who likes long breaks. The reason is not because I like to be free for long periods of time (trust me this can get really boring sometimes), but it gives me time to do things that I probably can’t do during the school year or even during a short break.  

The first idea that would come to a vacationer’s (college student) mind would be to get an internship. Yes, internships are great and look good on your resume and you can learn a lot. But in my opinion, internships are not so great unless they make you do something exciting that would not only require you to apply what you have learned in school, but also explore and learn new things. On the other hand, things such as traveling or even going to school can really give you a better payback for your time. If you do things right, and spend some time researching your options, you can achieve a great payback for your time.

Going back to my case, this is why I like long breaks. Not only do I get a time period to explore all my possibilities but I also have the opportunity to fulfill and enjoy them.

Esteban Cho – Seaver College

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Semantics Wed, 30 Jun 2010 05:40:04 +0000

“Entrepreneur” is one of those business buzz words. You know, like “flexible,” “adaptable,” “initiative,” “synergy,” and “glocal.”

But what is an entrepreneur, really? A self-starter? An innovator? A risk-taker? A revolutionary?

I would describe an entrepreneur as someone willing to lead. And not necessarily when there is money to be made. Many people want to lead when there is a profit. However, when the stakes are high and financial rewards intangible, fewer people are interested in enacting change. This is especially true in the social sector, and why issues such as homelessness, hunger, and disease remain international plagues.

Though the payoff from addressing these situations may seem less lucrative to a typical corporate climber, it is huge to a social entrepreneur. This is a person whose end goal is not merely to improve the bottom line, but to find sustainable solutions to pressing challenges affecting citizens across the globe. Evaluating and amending the root causes—whether political, economic, religious, or cultural—of the problems is a complex task, and it takes a passionate personality to devote their service to others in need.  

A true entrepreneur does not seek wealth. A true entrepreneur wishes to empower, teach, develop, and support communities struggling to thrive.

Do you agree? What is your definition of an entrepreneur?

Jaya Bhumitra is the public relations manager for the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) in Los Angeles, and a recent graduate of the GSEP master of arts in psychology program. Previously, she was manager of public affairs in the New Delhi office of APCO Worldwide, a global communications consultancy.


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Welcome to America, have a double-double Mon, 28 Jun 2010 16:15:18 +0000

I mentioned earlier that I spent the past week at an IHS conference. Several of the students were international and spending their first week ever in the United States with us. One was from Iraq, a few were from Europe. The conference provided all of our meals and our housing, but a few of us took it upon ourselves to allow the first-time visitors to truly experience America. This included, among other things, taking a student from Belgium to In-N-Out.

If you’re not familiar with In-N-Out, know that almost anyone born and raised in California considers it the best fast food around. I’m not from California, but I’ve reluctantly come to enjoy the In-N-Out experience. Our Belgian friend did enjoy the food, but his reaction to the actual restaurant was what will stick with me. He ordered, and then watched the frantic, yet orderly process of 10 people working in tandem to give him his double-double, animal style. He looked at us and said, “Never in Europe have I ever seen people work so hard. And this is just to make fast food!”

People do things differently everywhere. Sometimes more efficiently, sometimes for different purposes. But traveling around and actually experiencing those differences is always eye-opening, and worth the stories you get to tell about them later.

-Tom Church

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As A Second-year Student Mon, 28 Jun 2010 06:20:08 +0000

Today, I finally finished the long article I was writing to the income students.  This purpose of this article is to give new students some of my experience and lessons that I’ve learn from one-year study and living at Pepperdine University.  I believe that many incoming students will find out it’s very useful, especially those students from overseas.

I have to say again.  Time files.  I remember that a second-year student was helping us a lot before we came.  However, we have never seen him, because he went back to China before we came to the U.S.  It’s almost like a tradition at our school that the second-year MBA students help with new students’ orientation.  We have selected “Emerging Leaders” to work as a team to organize different activities for new students.  We have some second-year MBAs a tutors to help on academic side.  We also have volunteers to help them on life side, such as how to rent a room, how to buy a car, pick them up at the airport and so on.

Our “Emerging Leaders” start very early (about 3 months before the students’ orientation).  So we have enough time to contact each incoming students and answer their questions.  Many students who are not “Emerging leaders” also join the group to offer help to new students.   


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The World Cup Sat, 26 Jun 2010 21:52:50 +0000

It was 6:30 am here in Calabasas and five friends from Pepperdine University came over to my apartment, three wearing red shirts reading “Power Korea”, and the other two with sky blue and white shirts. Today was first game of the 2010 Fifa World Cup knockout round in South Africa. The scene in my apartment was an intense shouting match between the two fan groups during the 90 minutes of well-played soccer between Uruguay and South Korea. Although the result of the game was not what I had hoped for I was grateful for exciting morning shared with my friends from Pepperdine University. Pepperdine is a school, which emphasizes diversity amongst the community. It promotes different clubs and hosts various events to help unify its diverse culture. It was through these kinds events where I was able to meet these friends and share the exciting morning. 


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The Scholar-Practitioner Model Fri, 25 Jun 2010 23:04:48 +0000

Last Thursday and Friday my colleagues and I attended the third annual Action Research Exhibition Conference to support and celebrate the yearlong work of the master of arts in learning technologies program’s cadre 12.


At the conference, students presented their portfolios of customized action research, developed to improve their work site using the latest tools in information technology. Some of my favorite sessions included Development On-Demand: Media and Harmony in Corporate Education, Group Dynamics and Fostering Collective Efficacy within a Multi-Divisional Corporation, and Social Entrepreneurship: Engineering a Movement


Without having much background in learning technologies myself, I appreciated the way that the speakers were able to break down the technical information and demonstrate through case study how the lessons they learned actually work in the marketplace.


This scholar-practitioner approach to learning, in which students are taught theory in the classroom and then requested to put it into practice in the real world, is effective. Seeing how the techniques and tenets mastered in the program benefited real schools and communities—from helping impoverished children overcome disciplinary issues to  focus on learning in Hawaii, to empowering women and protecting the environment in Honduras, to enhancing communication in a department dedicated to preventing identity theft right here in Los Angeles—was inspiring. Moreover, the diversity of applications was impressive.


Students using their knowledge to improve their own work situation or address an issue about which they care is a fulfilling way to cap the program. Even more worthwhile is the opportunity for students to present their ideas in front of a body of accomplished peers, program alumni, and professors that can advise on the projects’ strategy and implementation, ultimately helping students perfect their processes so they can make as great an impact as possible.


It would be interesting to survey the students of cadre 12 one year from now. Would the students, teachers, and community members they touched still be profiting from the programs put in place the year before? My guess is that they would be. What do you think?


Jaya Bhumitra is the public relations manager for the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) in Los Angeles, and a recent graduate of the GSEP master of arts in psychology program. Previously, she was manager of public affairs in the New Delhi office of APCO Worldwide, a global communications consultancy.

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Getting that extra push to participate in seminars, conferences, and educational opportunities Thu, 24 Jun 2010 21:29:31 +0000

The School of Public Policy requires each of its students to complete an internship while obtaining their Master of Public Policy. I am at the Hoover Institution for the summer, but I am also participating in a week-long IHS conference. IHS has a strong libertarian bent, and it is always fun to get together with academically interested students and talk policy.

The IHS conference is intense; usually four two-hour lectures a day about a diverse set of topics. We’ve been talking about free market environmentalism, economic and public policy fallacies, copyright law, and the politics of government failure, among others. I’ve reinforced my belief that libertarianism is one of several useful lenses for viewing various government policies.

Looking back at the conference, I’ve got to remind myself that participating in events like this is absolutely worth it, even if I am initially uncertain about whether to do it. I’m pretty sure that if Pepperdine wasn’t pushing me to paticipate in internships and seminars, I wouldn’t be here right now. Sometimes you need that extra push; I’m glad Pepperdine encourages its students to get out there, meet people, and educate themselves.

-Tom Church

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10 Things You Can Do in Less than One Year Sun, 20 Jun 2010 17:00:38 +0000

People across the world differ in culture, politics, religion, and customs. But there is one thing on which everyone can agree: time is short. Listed below are 10 ideas on how to maximize your year ahead.

1.     Take on a cause.

2.     Visit an exotic destination.

3.     Hone your writing skills.

4.     Nurture your relationships with family and friends.

5.     Explore a new path.

6.     Gain business experience.

7.     Expand your professional network.

8.     Affirm your faith.

9.     Start a dialogue.

10.  Get a graduate degree in learning technologies or education.

Jaya Bhumitra is the public relations manager for the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) in Los Angeles, and a recent graduate of the GSEP master of arts in psychology program. Previously, she was manager of public affairs in the New Delhi office of APCO Worldwide, a global communications consultancy. 

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A person who I would like to thank Sun, 20 Jun 2010 05:07:07 +0000

I’ve been asked why I chose to come to Graziadio School of Business and Management (GSBM) many times by different people, such as family, friends, teachers and even Visa officers. Everytime, I gave different people different answers. However, there is a reason that made me like this school from the very beginning — the recruitment director of GSBM school, Paul. I would like to thank him today in this blog for helping me always.

“We are glad that you are interested in our school… we encourage every applicant to come to the school and have an interview…”

This was an email sent by Paul. Although I was in China, I wanted to take this chance. I replied and asked whether I could get an online or a telephone interview. I didn’t hope much that I could be offered a chance. However, I was surprised to receive an email from Paul that he would like to interview me online after two weeks.

On the day of the interview, he gave me a big smile, which released my anxiety. The interview was very different from what I thought. In my imagination, the recruitment officer should be serious and picky. I might be asked many tough questions. But Paul didn’t. He asked about my experience, my future plans and why I chose this school. The last exchange was one I would like the admission committee to know. I said, “I’m a positive person”. He said, “Great!” Then we ended the interview.

After this interview, I was convinced by Paul that Pepperdine is a great school. He gave me a chance to talk to him, although he didn’t know me at all. He gave me a wonderful impression about the school.

Now I’m not only a student of this great school, but also going to graduate soon and become one of the alumni. When I face difficulties, I remember Paul’s smile and positive attitude, which gives me the strength to hang there. I know as long as I keep positive, I am a winner in my life. What’s more, I can make the world better by giving everyone a smile.

I believe that life is all about attitudes! Thanks Paul for making such a good impact on my life!

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Lesson Learned Fri, 18 Jun 2010 14:17:41 +0000


Learning begins the day we are born. We are taught by parents and siblings, grade school teachers, high school professors, and university lecturers. We are also taught by our peers, significant others, colleagues, and even competitors.

All experiences are important. But for me, the most significant lesson I learned was in my graduate program: invest in yourself, and others will invest in you too.

By choosing to educate myself with a master’s degree and committing myself in my courses, I not only gained knowledge, but also mentors. Recognizing my passion for learning, three particular professors of psychology reached out to me to help me direct my efforts both in and out of the classroom.

As a result, less than one month after graduation, I am already achieving my goals. Utilizing the advice of my mentors, I have determined how to apply the psychological concepts mastered in class to better understand human thought and behavior both in my profession in public relations and as a part of my public outreach efforts in animal advocacy.

My choice to invest in myself with an education turned out to be a choice to develop connections with three brilliant sages that will last for many years to come. I am thankful for those relationships and the guidance I have received, and most importantly, for the lesson.

Jaya Bhumitra is the public relations manager for the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) in Los Angeles, and a recent graduate of the GSEP master of arts in psychology program. Previously, she was manager of public affairs in the New Delhi office of APCO Worldwide, a global communications consultancy.  


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GSBM’s WaveMaster – the Beginning of My Career Wed, 16 Jun 2010 19:10:18 +0000

Tomorrow, I will be the Topic Master for the first time at our Bunker Hills Toastmaster.  Our topic is the “World Cup” this meeting.   I am excited about every Toastmaster meeting that I attend.  I am the Treasure of Wave Master (Pepperdine’s Toastmaster) and a member of Bunker Hills Toastmaster (Downtown LA).  I am glad that I have been attending Toastmaster meetings consistently since I came to the U.S.A.  It enhances my communication skills and enables me to build my network. 

During the new students’ orientation of Graziadio School of Business and Management (GSBM) last year, I heard “Wavemaster” many times.  Then I was told by a second-year MBA that it was a speakers club where people improve their presentation and communication skills.  Having English as my second language, I decided to join the organization.  From that on, Toastmaster became one of my favorite social events at Pepperdine University. 

At Wavemaster, we meet every twice a month to practice table topics and to give speeches.  Then our member will give us comments on our content, hand gestures, volume, eye contact and the number of “en” and “huh” we have used.  Such a detailed valuation enables us to know the shortcomings that we do not notice by ourselves.  It also helps with my networking skills. 

I got to know a member of Bunker Hills Toastmaster at the Toastmaster officers training.  Then I joined my second Toastmaster group, which is also a good place for me to do networking.

GSBM’s Wavemaster opens the door for me to have a successful career in the U.S..   



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Developing America’s fiber optic broadband capabilities Wed, 16 Jun 2010 16:33:45 +0000

Count me as envious. Singapore is rolling out a national plan to put fiber optic broadband connections everywhere in its small country. Claims about the speed of various networks are always on the optimistic side, but even if its citizens get a few hundred megabytes per second, there won’t be much complaining. It really is insanely great.

So why don’t we have this in the United States? Several reasons.

First, the obvious: The United States is slightly larger than Singapore. Heck, Rhode Island is almost twice as large as Singapore. And more size means much larger infrastructure investments.

Second, telecommunications companies spent billions in the latter half of the twentieth century investing in infrastructure that supported traditional phone lines and supported great cable internet speeds. Many up and coming countries around the world benefited from our early development and adoption by observing our technological progress and jumping in at the end of the process, when early kinks had been worked out.

Third, the United States government usually relies on private companies to make these investments and innovations. It doesn’t provide seed money, it gives tax breaks to help offset the cost. It’s a little different than in Singapore, because someone else has to come up with the money.

Finally, there’s the political situation and regulations regarding local and national franchising. In my mind, this is the most important factor, simply because in America, if someone can make money off of something, they will. And there is plenty of money to be made from offering great broadband service (seriously – I’m willing to bet the majority of Cable and DSL owners hate their service). I’ll let CommonCause explain national franchising:

Currently, cable companies negotiate local franchise agreements with local governments to offer video (television) service to communities.  Telephone companies would like to begin offering video services to compete with cable TV.  However, they say the local franchising process is too burdensome – that it would take decades to negotiate thousands of local franchises.  This bill would create a national franchise that would set a single standard for every community in America.

Why doesn’t America have widespread broadband? Short answer: because the people who want to offer it face prohibitive costs. That means the current Internet providers experience a sort of local monopoly. Hence, high costs for consumers and less than excellent service. (For more on national franchising, see this article by Matthew Lasar.)

Great phone technology will still originate in the U.S., like the iPhone and the Google’s Android phones. And eventually, the United States will catch up to the rest of the world in broadband access. But not until we solve the franchising problem.

Tom Church is a Public Affairs Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a Master of Public Policy candidate from Pepperdine University. He blogs at Red White Waves and Blue.

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What a weekend! Wed, 16 Jun 2010 07:48:37 +0000

So, this weekend was fun, exciting, chilling and sad. It all started on thursday. I went out and grabbed dinner with a Pepperdine friend in Santa Monica at URTH CAFE. Then we watched a movie at the AMC. Friday, I was suppose to play golf with some other Pepperdine friends but I didn’t because I didn’t wake up in time. hahaha. Friday night my Pepperdine friends and I went out to Hollywood to a club called PLAYHOUSE. Unfortunately we got there late and were not able to get our table because it had been sold to someone else. Friday was fun but towards the end it was kind of ugly. Saturday I met up with my Pepperdine Korean friends and we went out to a club in Koreatown. It was my first time going to this club and I had fun. Unfortunately one of my friends was sick (had a fever) so we just decided to go back home. Sunday was very relaxing but also very sad. On sunday I knew that the next day two of my closest friends were going back home to South Korea and Myanmar (Burma). I was glad that I had a chance to hang out with them during the weekend but yet again i was sad that I was not going to see them for at least three months. So on monday night I went to the airport and dropped off my friends and off they left. 

On my way back from the airport, I started to think. I realized that it was all thanks to Pepperdine that I was able to meet such awesome friends from all over the world. I realized that having friends from different countries really made me feel fortunate. I thought about how amazing it was for me to be able to be friends with people from such far nations. I also thought how I am from South America and never back home would I have met these friends. It was a very interesting feeling. I thought and thought more and the only thing I could think of was that this was my DESTINY! I realized how glad I was to have chosen Pepperdine. I truly felt special; all because of Pepperdine. 


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Averting Empathic Exhaustion to Serve the Greater Good Sun, 13 Jun 2010 18:33:00 +0000

As an active animal advocate working to progress legislation, litigation, and public education on a variety of urgent issues, I sometimes come into contact with the term “compassion fatigue.”

Also known as secondary traumatic stress disorder, this condition occurs when professionals who are exposed to trauma experienced by those in their care become so overwhelmed that they themselves experience fear, pain, and suffering.

This feeling is familiar in all areas of the nonprofit sector, as agencies working to correct pressing societal problems from poverty to injustice are very often under-resourced, and without the financial and social support networks necessary to successfully effect change.

So, how does a person with strong ideals and visions of reforming imbalanced systems at the local and global levels actually achieve any good?

Preparation helps. Just as Pepperdine University established the Urban Initiative to train a new generation of education and mental health professionals with the skills and will to work effectively in underserved urban communities, the new master of arts in social entrepreneurship and change program empowers students to explore the root causes of crises while developing models for sustainable solutions.

With a course curriculum that builds business, management, and leadership proficiency; field experience with established influencers; and a cohort of colleagues who champion you, burnout is much less likely and victory much more possible.

What are the causes that inspire you? And how do you cope with compassion fatigue?

Jaya Bhumitra is the public relations manager for the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) in Los Angeles, and a recent graduate of the GSEP master of arts in psychology program. Previously, she was manager of public affairs in the New Delhi office of APCO Worldwide, a global communications consultancy.

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How about some more high-tech visas? Sat, 12 Jun 2010 23:45:34 +0000

Karl Smith points out Gallup’s new poll, which looks at how many people around the world express a desire to move to America (In light of our recent tie with England, I wonder if that number would be higher if we had a top-notch soccer team). Apparently, if everyone who has indicated the desire to move here did so, America’s population would increase by 60%. Transportation costs, U.S. immigration policy, and the desire for the familiar prevent the majority of those people from moving to the United States. And our infrastructure would probably sputter and fail if 180 million people showed up tomorrow. But the poll points us to a good question: What should the U.S. policy be on immigration?

There is still a lot of debate about the immigration policy in the United States. Not surprisingly, it tends to fall on partisan lines, and I don’t want to dive into effects on culture and the various other points in contention.

One part of the debate I would like to chime in on is the United States’ policy toward H-1B Visas. These are the so-called “high-tech” visas because you need to work in a specialtly occupation to get them, usually involving mathematics, computer science, or engineering, among others. The U.S. currently caps them, but various people, like Bill Gates, have called for removing the limit.

I’m very sympathetic to removing the limit. America is where most cutting edge research happens, and we should encourage efforts to keep it that way. We can do so by welcoming students and professionals from outside the United States with the opportunity to work here. I’m currently living in Mountain View, home of Google, LinkedIn, and tons of other famous technology companies. They provide valuable services to everyone in the United States, regardless of where their employees are from. Hopefully we can recognize that, and continue to promote it.


Tom Church is a Public Affairs Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a Master of Public Policy candidate at Pepperdine University. He blogs at Red White Waves and Blue.

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From My Property Valuation Model… Fri, 11 Jun 2010 15:23:34 +0000

After the Multi-enterprise Accounting class, I discussed the Rental Property Valuation Model with my professor.  My friends and I built this model to valuate the real estate property; calculate the returns on investment if we rent it out for several year, then sell it. 

            The professor was very happy that I was able to build such a good model using the knowledge that I learned from school during ten months.  He also gave me some advice to improve the model. 


            Time flies.  I’ve been studied at Graziadio School of Business and Management of Pepperdine University for almost one year.  When I just came to the school, I only had some basic concepts about finance and accounting.  As an international student, I need to learn new live skills and catch up my study.  The professor and faculty members helped me a lot.  After ten months study in finance, I have gained more profound knowledge in financial field.  In our model, we’ve used cash flow prediction and net cash flow calculation that I learned from finance class, accounting ratios from financial accounting class, amortization model from financial modeling class, etc.  I appreciated that our professors not only teach us the knowledge, but also let us know how to put it into practice. 

            The summer is coming to Los Angeles.  My life is getting busier and busier after I started my internship.  But I enjoy driving to school on PCH and seeing the ocean view from our Drescher Campus. 

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Pursuing my passion Thu, 10 Jun 2010 19:03:47 +0000

I am exactly twenty-one and a half years old today. Just like many 21-year-olds, I still have not found my passion. I am still exploring to find one. Luckily, Pepperdine University has allowed me to do that with a four-month summer vacation. Unlike many of the Universities around the city of Los Angeles, Pepperdine’s summer vacation starts in late April and it goes all the way to late August.

So far, I have been playing and practicing golf, which I believe is one of my potential passions. I have recently been interested in golf because of my dad and I realized that there are many amazing golf courses around Pepperdine University.

Pepperdine University’s summer vacation has also allowed me to pursue an internship. I started my internship three weeks ahead of other college interns and I believe that this early start has given me a tremendous advantage by providing me with the time to gain my employer’s respect and trust. The most important thing is that there isn’t much time left before I go out into the “real world” and I need to take advantage of what life gives me and I am extremely thankful to Pepperdine University for giving me a chance to pursue my passions.


Steve Kim

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