I recently attended the International Studies Association- West region from September 22-23, 2023. In a panel theme on Human Displacement and Migration, I presented a paper on “The Slow Progress for North Korean Refugees Despite Accelerated Technological Innovations.”
In this blog post, however. I would like to share my experience of how I jumped from just a conference presenter to a board member of the association for the 2024 calendar year. After the conference program ended, I could have rushed home, however I decided to stay for the “business council” meeting. It was during that meeting where the board members asked for a volunteer to help with organizing and disbursing the association’s budget to assist in funding and stipend for undergraduate/graduate students. After clarifying that the role was a board member position, I accepted the nomination for the role and the ISA members voted me in.
The desire to be a part of the board, getting nominated and being voted in did not occur out of nowhere. Reflecting on my time at the conference, I attribute being able to serve in this new role was a result of God’s providence, having a good attitude, connecting with others, engaging in conversation, and willingness to put myself out there. On the first day of the conference. I attended all the panels and tried to meet as many people as I could. On the first night, I stayed out late to grab dinner with the core members of the conference, many of whom were board members. I could have chosen another great decision to call it an early night and look over my notes for my presentation one last time. But I’m so glad that I went because during that dinner, through conversation, more collegiality, trust, connections, and most importantly, friendships were made!
I also ended up attending panels throughout the conference that were led by many of the board members as well, which gave me more opportunities to spend time with the board members where I got to know more about them and they learned more about me. After staying for the last panel, I was planning on going home, but one of the board members asked me to stay for the business council. In my head, I knew that I had my two young kids, and my husband were waiting for me, but I felt convicted by God to stay. In the end, I’m glad I did because I was able to say “yes” to an opportunity that I wasn’t expecting. I’m excited to step into this new role and create more opportunities for Vanguard students and faculty to present, partner, and influence the dialogue of international studies with a Christian perspective that is infused organically in our work and mindset.