Running Participants (no where near done)

It’s been over a month since my last post and not much has changed. Oh, except that I’ve run about a third of my participants, begun cleaning and analyzing data, and set goals for where I want to take this project and even what I plan on doing next summer. Despite the fact that many other summer researchers are wrapping up their projects, I’m only getting started, so this blog post will be about what I did in July and I’ll add one more post right before the Summer Research Symposium to wrap it all up. Hopefully by the end of September I’ll have run all my participants and can finally stop being so vague about what I’m doing locked in the ISC all day!

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Future Shock

It’s been about two weeks since I have left Ireland, add a few more days and it has been almost three weeks since I left Achill Island. I haven’t had any huge culture shock, but I do greatly miss my field school. When you wake up to a house of fourteen other college students and travel to an archaeological excavation site at precisely 8:45AM for six weeks, it’s strange to find yourself getting out of bed into a quiet apartment without a mountain climb awaiting you. Results from the excavation site have not been released to my group of students yet, but the Facebook group said they will post them soon.

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Summing Up

As my summer winds down, I have to say goodbye to this wonderful journey. What was originally three to five pages double spaced is now nearly two hundred pages of typed interviews, thoughts, and outlines. Colorful photos of vineyards, gardens, and smiles fill my computer. My stories have prompted laughs, arguments, and interest among my friends. I’ve spoken to restaurant owners, farmers, lawyers, shop owners and tour guides and visited cheese factories, vineyards, schools, and butcher shops.  Despite all this information, however, I’m left with more questions than I started with!  All my remaining questions provoked me to change my class schedule in hopes of gaining some insight into the areas that still interest me. What I found most fascinating throughout this summer was Why do we eat what we eat? and Why can fresh, local, organic food be the cheaper option? Because of this, I have signed up for a Biological Anthropology class in hopes of gaining some knowledge about cultures, traditions, and the history of our species. I’ve never taken an anthropology class but it sounds interesting! Also, I signed up for two economics classes. Throughout the summer, the one consistent theme I found was that people’s finances heavily influence their decisions. I would love to do some more research on the government’s role in subsidizing commodities as well as how international trade affects the price of goods sold domestically. I’m finding more and more that although there are some dedicated foodies out there determined to always eat local and fresh produce, the majority of individuals just buy what is cheap, available, and convenient. It would be fascinating to learn more about how all these things numbers take effect in the market. Along with my new classes, my school job consists in increasing Aramark’s procurement of local goods, so I know that this will not be the end of visiting farms and looking into these questions! I truly hope that I will find the support, through friends and teachers, to continue pursing this project that I have come to love. Finally, I’ve included some photos that I took while my mother and I went to visit Benziger Winery, a biodynamic vineyard in northern California. I’ll be showing photos from everywhere that I went when I present my project to William and Mary in the fall. To anyone that read my posts, I hope you enjoyed them and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any comments or are just a mutual lover of food! I also would like to thank William and Mary for providing the support needed to pursue this project. I couldn’t have done it without the donations of generous alumni parents and I am grateful that they made this memorable summer possible.

Becoming a Data Collection Pro

Hello again!

As I sit at my desk surrounded by stacks of papers containing the disclosures I collected from my first round of data collection along with my notes from the analysis of the second round, I cannot believe that tomorrow will be my last meeting of the summer with professor Smith and Irving. I’ll leave a lot of what I have learned thus far in my project, which I am happy to report drove me to pursue an independent study for this upcoming semester, until my final wrap up post. However, I did want to share with you all some thoughts about this last leg of my work.

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Sabac, Ivan, and why I do what I do

I am a social action researcher.  I conduct research to lead to some type institutional change.  My introduction to social action research occurred in fall of 2011, after taking a course with Professor and Director of Engaged Scholarship Monica Griffin.  Working for nongovernmental organizations focusing on human rights, my objective has always been to do work that leads to improving someone’s life.  This summer was no different.  Though I was researching, the objective was no different.  I researched LGBTIQ NGOs to understand the challenges they faced, in order to begin to alleviate those challenges.

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