We Are the Future | Hood Magazine Spring ’23
On Oct. 24, 2022, Alyssa Taylor ’23 made history as the first Hood College student to speak at the United Nations Headquarters as part of UN Day.
Alyssa Taylor ’23 is a voice for students at the United Nations
- Global Studies (B.A.)
- Global Languages & Cultures
- Political Science
A global studies major, Alyssa Taylor examines international politics and the cultural dimensions of myriad countries. She is passionate about promoting human rights and education for underserved communities. Taylor also participates in Hood’s Model UN Club, among other campus organizations. In this conversation, Taylor discusses how she prepared to give her speech at the UN Headquarters as well as her plans for after graduation.
Watch Taylor's full speech here starting at the 1:46:06 mark.
Why did you choose to study at Hood College?
I originally wanted to go into the military straight out of high school, then my mom got sick, so I delayed my military career. I was three years into the workforce without a degree, and I decided it was time for me to at least go to college. I applied to several Maryland schools, and while researching Hood, it sounded like the place I wanted to be. It’s close to home but far enough that I can be an adult and have some independence. I decided to apply, and Hood immediately wrote me back. It was one of the first schools that said, “We want you. Come take a tour and visit. Here are all the scholarships we’re willing to offer.” I was touring the campus, and I noticed the “Hood Hello” and the community of Hood. It was just amazing that I could stop someone walking on the sidewalk, and they had no problem talking to me about their experience or their life. Hood was one of the first schools that sent me an acceptance letter, so I didn’t need to look anywhere else.
How did you become interested in global studies?
I was always interested in international affairs. Languages and culture have been a focus since I was in middle school. We had a couple of international students at my high school, and I was fascinated with why they chose to come to the United States. Languages interested me because I had studied Spanish and Chinese. When I came to Hood, I chose to major in global studies immediately. Once I met Professor Paige Eager, the deal was sealed. I couldn’t go back.
What are some of your favorite aspects of the global studies program?
All my classes interconnect. I could talk about a certain time period in an art class, for example, and then we’ll follow up the next week in my history class with something related. It doesn’t matter what class I’ve taken. It always circles back to a different subject, so that’s why it’s a comprehensive learning experience.
How did you get involved with the Model UN?
During my freshman year, I decided that I wanted to join some clubs. Hood has the career organization fair. I walked by one of the tables, and they made Model UN sound interesting, so I signed up. Then we had an introductory meeting, and I felt like this is something I definitely wanted to do. This is fun. This adds onto everything I’ve been studying.
What do you do as part of the Model UN?
First, we start off with a position paper. Professor Eager, who advises us, chooses the country that we represent; the country changes every year. This year we represented Iraq. We write a position paper once we’ve chosen our committees. It can range from any committee being a General Assembly or the World Health Organization. We have topics that are assigned to those committees. This year, I was part of General Assembly. The topics that we chose were migration and information technology. Once we have those topics, we sit down and write a position paper—as if we’re actually from the country or a government delegation—of where we stand on the issues. After we submit the position paper, we go to the Model UN conference in Washington, D.C. We meet different schools representing other countries and establish a working paper. We gather all the countries that we need and then start writing a draft resolution. The Department of Internal Oversight Services (DIOS), which is in charge of the committee, will review our papers for mistakes or whether a different working paper can combine with ours. Then the draft is taken to the floor to be argued for or against. If it passes, it now becomes a resolution and is uploaded on the Model UN website. This year when we went to D.C., we got our resolution passed!
How did the opportunity arise for you to speak at the UN in New York City?
I was taking the senior seminar class for my global studies major. Mr. Omar Hernández of United Nations Academic Impact visited our class. He mentioned that he could take one student to the UN, but we had to present a speech. I was a little nervous at first. I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare—just five days. Mr. Hernández gave a rundown of what the speech should include. I walked up to him and said, “I think I can do this.” Within three days, I had my speech ready to go, and my name was on the UN website. That’s been my entire Hood College experience. I decide to try something and then I end up soaring to new heights.
Your speech discussed the value of education. Why do you think education is so important?
I was raised by a single mom. She believed that you can’t go anywhere without having a quality education, and I’m grateful to her for that because otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Once I got into my research and understood that other people might not have it as fortunate as I did, that’s when I began pursuing global studies. I started seeing the big picture. As I got older, it was more of wanting to help those who don’t have access to a quality education. I want to reach out or try to contribute to organizations that promote education.
Tell us about the experience of visiting the headquarters.
It was amazing but also nerve-racking. Going to New York was like a whole new world. Once I got to the UN, I think that’s when it sunk in—this is happening. This is real. Then we got inside, and it was just amazing. The UN was in session, so we got to see people walking in and out of the conference rooms and everything, to see how it actually works.
What was your biggest takeaway from the experience?
People are willing to listen when you have a voice. I’m willing to give a voice to those that feel like they don’t have one.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I’m going to be at Hood again for my master’s in business administration. Then I’m off to law school for international law. I’m thinking about focusing on human rights and refugee law. I realized I can use what I’ve learned in class to help those who need it most. I joked with my mom and said, “Oh, what if I apply to Harvard for fun?” She said, “You should do it!” Stay tuned.
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