Michael Paul Strawser

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Junior, Political Science & Global Studies – International Politics & The Middle East; Aerospace Studies

MichaelAs a “third-culture kid”, Michael strongly believes in the aphorism, never judge a book by its cover. He was born in Charlotte, North Carolina – but a short nine months afterwards his family moved back to Indonesia; when he was five, they moved to Manila, Philippines where he lived until high school graduation. he has been the observer and the observed regarding cultural awareness, and he strives to promote cultural awareness and diversity regardless of his audience. The difference in world-views alone can augment any group by degrees they never imagined. On a more personal level, he knows what it means to be different and in the past have tried to suppress his cultural background in order to conform. Thankfully, he feels he has learned how to celebrate what makes him unique and educate others here at UNC – and in turn be educated by his peers.

“I spent the first four years of my life in Indonesia, and the next fourteen years of my life in the Philippines; upon graduating from high school in Manila, I came here to UNC. After growing up in such an international climate, I think that cultural diversity and awareness are qualities vital to any leader, as leaders need to be sensitive to the variety of individuals who look up to and follow them. Leaders need to be able to foster and promote diversity within their environment as diversity brings a wealth of viewpoints and worldviews, each providing a new dimension to the team. As an ROTC cadet, I am training to become a leader over non-commissioned officers in the Air Force. I want to do my best to not only lead my subordinates in a way that fulfills our mission, but in a way that empowers their opinion and welcomes their cultural differences for each others growth. In my fraternity, I want to be a role model for the members in such a way that we build each other up and encourage each other’s uniqueness rather than ignore the value of our cultural backgrounds. I want to exemplify these behaviors because I know firsthand the importance of being heard when you are different – because I am different. I may look like an average American college student, but I was not raised in America. I know what it is like to be ignored or even spurned because I was so different. However, I also know what it is like to be listened to – incorporated – and in turn make every effort to do the same to all those around me whether they have lived in Boone since birth, or they have traveled all over the world.”