By Justin Ballard, University of Michigan

Headshot of Justin Ballard
Justin Ballard

In reflecting upon my experiences in BA 310, especially in the context of the remote internship with a Congressional office I currently have, the first item that comes to mind is gratitude. That is, I am thankful for the critical telework skills I obtained through working on a substantial consulting project with students from the MENA region in this course. In navigating obstacles unique to this type of group work, such as having to reconcile time zone differences, I have found the virtual assignments and group projects I am engaged in now to be straightforward in comparison. 

Additionally, I have observed connections between my Congressional office’s priorities and Professor Branch’s lectures on globalization and global supply chains. Given the shortages of PPE and other critical medical supplies amidst this pandemic due to the U.S.’s reliance on global supply chain networks, my office is working on ways to encourage the federal government to produce these supplies domestically. In receiving assignments related to this goal, I was thus reminded of Professor Branch’s lecture concerning the disadvantages of an interconnected global economy and what happens when a country relies on others for certain products. 

Lastly, the nature of the times we live in has reminded me of a recurring theme in BA 310: culture still matters. Given the global pervasiveness of COVID-19, it is clear that international cooperation will be needed to quell it and its economic ramifications. As a result, leaders from all around the world will have to look beyond their domestic situations and navigate cultural differences in order to rebuild our global community.