Friday, July 28, 2006

Dumplings on the Cuyahoga

This summer, I've been involved with Summer on the Cuyahoga, a program that encourages college students from Case, Colgate, Cornell, Princeton, Smith and Yale to explore professional careers in Cleveland. The selective program places students in valuable summer internships and includes a variety of social programs too. During the summer, all SOTC students live in one of Case's residence halls. Each student is paired with an alumni host who helps them get acclimated to Cleveland. The Plain Dealer recently covered the program.

As an alumni host, I was paired with Case student, Josh Shaw, an economics pre-law major. Josh is awesome! He's sharp, thoughtful, funny and just an all-around great kid who also happens to be good friends with two of my interns, Joan Chase and Janine Kaiser. Yesterday, all three of them came over for dinner. Joanie and Janine came over early to help me cook, as Joanie has been asking me to teach her how to make Chinese dumplings. The three of us made flower dumplings and pearl balls together. I also made sesame peanut noodles too. (These aren't the recipes I used, but they're kinda close. Also, I generally use ground chicken instead of ground pork.)

We had a nice dinner together. These students are so impressive! All three of them are econ majors (they might be double or triple majors, actually) who read the Economist regularly and are keenly aware of global issues. These students are so focused and so engaged, so connected to the people and places around them. It's inspiring, really. I love talking with them about their plans for the future: Josh applying to law schools, Joanie gearing up for her Experiential Learning Fellowship in Amsterdam this fall, Janine preparing for another Engineers Without Borders trip to the Dominican Republic soon, etc.

Another thing that struck me is how well-mannered Josh, Joanie and Janine are. I hired, trained and managed Joanie and Janine so I already know how they behave in a work setting, but to see them in a more social setting is something else. All of them, including Josh, are very gracious and polite. I guess because I'm a mom with a four-year-old, I'm very aware of good manners right now. We're trying to teach Nico to be courteous and thoughtful, beyond just saying "please" and "thank you". Clearly, Josh, Joanie and Janine have great parents who raised them well.

I had a very enjoyable evening with these guys. I'm convinced that each of them is a rising star that will make Case proud some day.

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