Wednesday, February 17, 2016

FWS Student Highlights: Bruno Ortega-Toledo

I am working on a global affairs project that examines the relationship between poverty levels and support for environmental norms. My project is two-fold: first, I will be conducting a general survey on poverty levels and environmental values; second, I will be examining two specific countries to use as case-studies, focusing on state-society relations and its role in environmental negotiations. As my mentor, Professor Byunghwan Son has been instrumental in helping me through my project ideas, asking me to elaborate my ideas, all the while providing his expertise in the form of crucial feedback.

My assignments have involved compiling information, searching through academic papers and news headlines for material relevant to his research project. Not being the most familiar with the Southeast Asia region, I’ve learned a lot about the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB), Korean business, and the benefits of trade for this region. China’s regional influence is of huge concern to America’s allies I the region, like South Korea and Japan, so reading about China’s moves toward regional dominance has been very interesting. Being a global affairs major, keeping up to date on events going on around the world is extremely important for my career—working with Professor Son has solidified my understanding of this dynamic region. The skills I’ve gained include efficient methods of searching, effective representation of information, and helpful ways to catalogue data for easy reference. Considering that entry-level positions in my field are assistantships of some kind, I feel that my time with Professor Son is preparing me for any future collaboration I may have, either with another individual, or with a group of researchers. Either way, our exchange of ideas and knowledge excites me about the future prospects of my career.