Miss Kenya USA speaks on passion, purpose

first_imgWendy Oduor, Miss Kenya USA and a 2014 Saint Mary’s alumna, spoke to the importance of relationship-building and mental health in her keynote speech at the annual Martin Luther King dinner Wednesday night in Rice Commons.Miss Kenya USA is an annual pageant held in Houston, Texas. According to its website, the organization pairs contestants with organizations working to combat inequalities Kenya and the U.S.Though she holds degrees in biology and psychology, Oudor currently works in fashion in New York City. After graduation, Oduor spent time at home working in the medical industry before making the decision to apply to the Parsons School of Design in Manhattan.“My acceptance to Parsons was a green light from God,” Oduor said.Taking this sign, Oduor packed her bags and moved to the Big Apple.Oduor attributes her four years at Saint Mary’s as the foundation for what she has accomplished today.“If you were to ask me four years ago, I would have told you that my degree from Saint Mary’s was a waste because I was not directly using the biology or psychology — but today, I know that it is so much more than that,” she said.She said returning to campus and speaking to a new generation of Belles was a meaningful experience for her.“Being back on campus is so surreal, it is a truly humbling experience,” Oduor said. “The fact that I am able to be here tonight is a testament that God is a man of his words.”Oduor said she urges current Saint Mary’s students to curate relationships, whether it be the girl you pass in the hall or your future bridesmaid.“It is so important to make time for relationships,” Oduor said. “It doesn’t matter how close you are or not, [if] you don’t know what they are going to be doing one year [or] five years from now and how that could benefit you.”Odour said this mindset helped her maintain a years-long relationship with Interim President Nancy Nekvasil, a longstanding Saint Mary’s biology professor.After losing her brother to suicide during her senior year, Oduor became an outspoken mental health advocate.”I use a lot of the psychology that I learned at Saint Mary’s in the work that I do surrounding mental health advocacy,” she said. ”Acknowledging the grief allowed me to heal and move forward and establish where I am today.”In addition to speaking at social events, Oduor utilizes Instagram as a platform to share stories and engage with her followers about mental health. She hosts weekly Mental Health Monday livestreams to spread awareness of the issue.Oduor said she places a high value on finding and pursuing ones’ passions.“It is God’s version of my vision. I would not have been able to heal if I did not find my purpose and allow God to work through me,” she said. “Passion is for you, purpose is for others. God gives us the tools to turn our passions into our purpose.”Tags: Martin Luther king dinner, Miss Kenya USAlast_img read more

Emma Russell sends Syracuse to ACC championship with game-winning overtime goal

first_imgAn overtime, game-winning goal from Emma Russell lofted No. 1-seed Syracuse (17-0, 6-0 Atlantic Coast) over No. 5-seed Virginia (14-5, 3-4 ACC), 3-2, on Friday afternoon in the ACC tournament semifinal game. Russell scored twice in the match and Alma Fenne added one goal of her own to help the Orange remain undefeated.Syracuse will now play the winner of No. 3 North Carolina and No. 7 Boston College Sunday at 1 p.m. for the ACC championship in Charlottesville, Virginia.The postseason heroics are nothing new for Russell, who’s now notched nine goals and two assists in six-career ACC tournament games.“Emma loves the ACC tournament,” said head coach Ange Bradley. “… We talked yesterday at practice and it’s like this is Christmas time for (her) … I was so glad she was able to do that and really helped us through this day.”The Orange jumped out to an early lead behind Fenne’s goal 9:30 into the first half. She netted a back-handed chop from the left of the cage that catapulted into the top right corner of the goal.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOther than the score, Syracuse dominated the first half, taking 11 shots to Virginia’s one. Both teams managed two penalty-corner opportunities but were unable convert either in the opening 35 minutes.Russell scored a little over two minutes into the second half to give the Orange a comfortable two-goal cushion. Freshman Zoe Wilson assisted on the play with a baseline feed to give Russell an easy look.Virginia stormed back with two goals of its own in the second stanza to force overtime. Just more than 10 minutes into the latter 35 minutes, Virginia’s Caleigh Foust scored on an assist by Taylor Brown and Foust followed with an assist on the game-tying goal from Riley Tata.“We were up two at that point and I think we just got a little bit … relaxed,” Bradley said. “You can’t do that this time of year. You can’t relax until that final whistle blows.”Both teams traded blows in the waning minutes, pushing the ball up the field aggressively in last-ditch efforts to end the game in regulation, but nothing came of it.Headed into the 15-minute overtime period, Bradley’s message to her team was simple: Win. Syracuse started the period up a player for 40 seconds due to a Virginia yellow card and the emphasis was to notch a quick score.Virginia’s defense stifled the Orange’s advances until the game’s 77th minute. Laura Hurff ran the ball up the field 40 yards and forced Virginia’s goalkeeper Rebecca Holden out from the cage. Hurff fell to the turf directly in front of the goal where she would remain.Lies Lagerweij trailed the play to collect the rebound. She drove the baseline and found Russell on the backside of the goal for her second goal of the day.“It was awesome,” Bradley said. Published on November 6, 2015 at 4:51 pm Contact Liam: lpsull01@syr.edu Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img read more

The Paris Massacre—What Next?

first_imgBefore midnight last Friday the world was alarmed by the massacre of over 123 people as a result of a spate of indiscriminate shootings and suicide bomb blasts in the center of France’s glittering capital, Paris.As people enjoyed a casual Friday evening witnessing a concert and having dinner and drinks in one of the world’s most beautiful cities, gunmen and women, who claimed to be Islamists, with deadly automatic weapons, stormed the Bataclan Theatre and neighboring cafes, shooting people at random. In the end, 123 people were counted dead and over 352 people wound, 99 of whom are in critical condition.As predicted by most political and security watchers, the Islamic State (IS), whose trademark is ruthless kidnapping, killing and indiscriminate destruction, immediately claimed responsibility for the massacre.How long can the world be expected to put up with this Islamic State which, since it declared itself a caliphate in June 2014 after acquiring huge tracts of land in Syria and Iraq, has been noted for barbarity, mass killings, abductions and beheadings?But before tackling this question, we must ask another: how did the Middle East become so terribly destabilized? Without claiming to be experts in international affairs, we can say without fear of contradiction that the root of the problem has been the shortsighted policies of some Western governments, notably the United States, which perennially and blindly backed some of the most oppressive Islamic regimes, such as Iran. The USA’s backing of the Shah of Iran for so long because of oil, led to the popular Iranian Revolution in 1979 and the invasion of the US embassy in November of that year, the taking over 60 hostages, leading to the fall of the Carter administration.The second major American mistake was President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, against the better judgment of many other nations and tens of millions of his own fellow Americans. But no, GW had to invade Iraq, to avenge the alleged attempt by Saddam Hussein to kill young Bush’s father. And GW carried out his ruthless invasion under a false pretext, that Saddam had a stockpile of “weapons of mass destruction.”One of the most painful consequences of that invasion was what happened to the Christian churches in many parts of the Middle East, especially Iraq and Syria. These churches had existed since the time of Peter and the other early Christian fathers. Remember, Saul, who later became the eminent Apostle Paul, was, shortly following the crucifixion of Christ, on his way to Damascus, the Syrian capital, to kill Christians. Saul was suddenly struck down by a voice from Heaven asking the very serious question, “Saul, Saul, why persecuteth thou me?”The rest is history. Saul was led to a man named Ananias, who restored Saul’s sight, renamed him Paul – who went on to become the church’s greatest Apostle. Christians have had a presence in the Middle East ever since.Say what you may of Saddam Hussein, but though himself a Muslim, he was committed to religious tolerance and vigorously protected the Christians in Iraq. Today the Christians have been run out of Iraq, and Syria, by the Islamic State. Does this make George W. Bush look like the anti Christ? Only history will tell.Another problem that has caused the Middle East to be destabilized is America’s blind support of Israel and its ruthless atrocities inflicted upon the Palestinians. This is one of the primary causes of the hate and resentment Washington experiences throughout the Middle East and the Islamic world. Heaven knows when this will end, for America seems to believe that Israel can do no wrong. Washington has done nothing to stop the Israelis from occupying Palestinian land.Perhaps the most serious cause of instability in the Middle East is Syrian President Assad who, because of his lust for power, has effectively destroyed his country and caused his own people so much pain, distress and anguish. It is he more than anyone else that has given rise to the ruthless and bloodthirsty Islamic caliphate.Finally, we lay a lot of the blame for the power that IS now has at the feet of President Barrack Obama and his timid approach to the Syrian crisis. Surely the USA is the world’s most powerful nation and leader of the also powerful Western alliance. We firmly believe that Obama, backed his committed partners, Britain, France, Germany, the EU, could have nipped IS in the bud from its very beginning. But oh! The problem of indecisiveness and the terrible consequences it is now wreaking.How long will indecisiveness cause innocent people to suffer and die?France and all other European nations, the USA and Russia must mount a joint response to terrorism from wherever it comes. Evil can be defeated, and defeated it must be. But also, America and its allies MUST be more sincere and more proactive and decisive in their dealing with the Palestinian issue. There can be no real peace in the Middle East—or anywhere else—until the Palestinian problem is fully and decisively resolved.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more