Cultural Appropriation, Appreciation and Exchange…What does it all mean?

by MSC Student Life Intern, Daisy

As a person of color and an aspiring fashion designer I get asked a lot about cultural appropriation in everyday life, Halloween, and in fashion. Cultural appropriation can be very confusing, especially when trying to distinguish it from cultural exchange and appreciation.

To start of lets define some terms:

As a Mexican American, I have seen people paint their faces as sugar skulls and wear sombreros and ponchos on Halloween while yelling out “I’m Illegal, deport me!” While these may be very obvious and blatantly racist and disrespectful forms of cultural appropriation, other forms of cultural appropriation are not as easy for people to identify and understand.

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Cultural appropriation is harmful because it perpetuates stereotypes, exercises modern day imperialism by treating other cultures as something that can be taken and commoditized, exotifies cultures, disrespects and steals from minority and marginalized groups.

A helpful way to look at this may be to call it social plagiarism. We all know that it is not okay to take something that is not yours when it comes to academia. Why should it be any different when it comes to cultures? It is important to do your research and credit where something comes from.

I often get questioned on why it is okay for people to wear French berets as a fashion statement and not a Native Headdress to a music festival or a Mexican sombrero to a drinking party. Or why is it okay for people of color to wear jeans and suits but not okay for people of privilege to sport box braids and “ghetto fab” clothing.

Cultural appropriation involves a dominant majority culture taking something from a marginalized group. This often has a double standard attached to it as well; for example how is it that when someone of privilege sports dreadlocks or gelled down baby hairs because they think it is cool are viewed as edgy and hip whereas someone part of the culture is be seen as “ghetto” or unprofessional.

It is also important to realize that in many cases of cultural appropriation all that is stolen is the pretty and aesthetically pleasing aspects of it. For example, when someone wears a geisha costume (like Katy Perry in her 2013 AMA performance) and uses it as a costume or prop, all cultural significance and meaning is stripped away. But it is so beautiful, what is wrong with appreciating its beauty and wanting to wear it? The problem here is that while Katy Perry may look beautiful, at the end of the day, she gets to take off the costume and does not have to deal with the stereotype and exoticism she just reinforced.

click the image to read more about Katy Perry’s culturally appropriative VMA’s performance.

A culture is not a prop, it is not something to be taken and altered for your pleasure, it is not something to wear for personal expression because you think it is cool, it is not a fashion statement.


For more literature on understanding cultural appropriation read this zine, Cultural Appreciation or Cultural Appropriation

Job Board: February 14, 2014

Information or Tour Guide at UW Campus and Visitor Relations

Application Due: 2/17/14

Description: Campus and Visitor Relations is now hiring campus tour guides and information guides for summer and fall 2014. Both positions offer great leadership opportunities, while helping students strengthen and enhance their communication, interpersonal and customer service skills. For more information click the “Read More” link below.

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Statistical Computing/Help Desk Specialist at

Social Science Computing Cooperative

Application Due: 3/7/14

Description: The Social Science Computing Cooperative (SSCC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has an immediate opening for a Statistical Computing/Help Desk Specialist. In common with all positions at the SSCC, this position combines technical duties with direct user services in support of faculty and graduate student research and instruction. For more information click the “Read More” link below.

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Senior Supply Chain Manager at Generac Power Systems

Application Due: N/A

Description: As the Senior Supply Chain Manager, you are an integral operation partner providing leadership to help improve customer service levels (Fill Rate), working capital (Inventory Turns) and drive material margin improvements (Sourcing Savings). Your role is responsible for driving business solutions and practices utilizing GENERAC’s Operating Model to develop a demand driven Supply Chain approach. The Supply Chain Manager will organize and implement strategic initiatives and standardized approaches in Demand Management, Tactical Purchasing, Materials Management and Distribution/Logistics.

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VoIP Software Engineer at American Family Insurance

Application Due: N/A

Description: The Communications/Collaboration Technologist is focused on building technical expertise by providing second level technical support and assisting with the installation, maintenance and configuration of communication and collaboration technologies and solutions used throughout the enterprise. This includes telephony and customer contact management technologies and systems, social networking technologies and solutions, interactive multimedia communication technologies, and overall human productivity technologies and solutions. Employees in this job are responsible for identifying ways networking technologies and solutions that can be leveraged to improve customer experiences and employee productivity.

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Customer Database Administrator at American Family Insurance

Application Due: N/A

Description: The Customer Database Administrator serves as the primary business systems strategic interface between Customer Relationship Marketing and all business partners and I/S. Identifies and articulates the vision of the business partner and customer`s desired future state (for assigned areas), establish business systems strategies to achieve them and oversee/provide guidance during projects to implement them. The Customer Database Administrator keeps apprised of all customer systems and serves as the expert in understanding integration points and use of common data cross systems in order to create a consistent 360 view of our customer across the company. This position proactively works with marketing project teams, key business partners, and I/S to identify integration points, potential issues, opportunities and to build solutions.

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Executive Assistant Job at Novo Nordisk

Application Due: N/A

Description: The Executive Assistant performs a wide range of highly diverse and complex assignments of a responsible and confidential nature for a VP requiring a high level of tact, discretion, persuasion and/or negotiation. Monitors access and redirects correspondence on behalf of the executive based on priorities he/she sets.

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Mktg Partnerships & Alliances Associate Vice President

 at American Family Insurance

Application Due: N/A

Description: This position leads the enterprise-wide marketing partnerships and alliances, strategy and execution, including the identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of affinity partnerships and marketing alliances consistent with the organization`s growth and revenue goals across the enterprise`s direct product offerings. Drives business results by developing profitable marketing partnerships that produce positive ROI, and increase the number of customers the enterprise protects through leveraging partners and alliances communications channels, membership / employee bases and sales channels.

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Enterprise Data Strategy Manager at American Family Insurance

Application Due: N/A

Description: This position is accountable for the development and execution of an integrated Enterprise Data Strategy for structured, unstructured as well as semi-structured data. Facilitates Data Architecture Review Board (DARB) and consults as the subject matter expert (SME) on major enterprise data initiatives. Collaborates with business and Information services, senior leaders and external vendors to ensure goals are understood and capabilities are implemented. 

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Oracle Database Administrator (Database Specialist) 

at American Family Insurance

Application Due: N/A

Description: This Database Specialist provides the highest level of expertise in the architectural design, installation, performance, integrity, and support of the database structures and technologies utilized by the organization. Conducts product research, manages database administration projects, manages vendor relations and establishes and follows standards and procedures related to database management. Plays an integral role in backup and recovery, performance tuning, capacity planning, security, and disaster recovery strategies within database management. Supports application development in the design, deployment, implementation, and problem resolution of the solutions utilized by the organization. It is expected that specialists stay current on trends in the industry and make recommendations for changes and improvements.

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Summer Diversity Internship Program at Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Application Due: N/A

Program Eligibility Requirements: A student may be considered for the Incentive Grant Program, the WisDOT Student Diversity Internship Program, and/or the UW Internship Program dependent upon whether they meet the eligibility requirements identified below. Please note: All three programs require that the student has good academic standing as indicated on the required transcript provided as part of this process.

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Fabrication Engineer at Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Application Due: N/A

Description: Positions are responsible for performing professional engineering entry level duties and applying engineering expertise for multi-modal transportation programs. Positions will work in one of the department’s engineering program areas that may include: Design, Construction, Structures (structure design as well as hydrologic and hydraulic design), Soils, Planning, Traffic and Maintenance of transportation facilities in addition to other areas of focus.

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Product Support Representative-Riding Lawn Equipment at John Deere

Application Due: N/A

Description: We need a solid communicator, who thrives on solving problems and working in a team environment. Ideally, you will have a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering/Technology, Education, or any Business related discipline, or equivalent work experience. For more information click the “Read More” link below.

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Job Board February 7

Metadata Specialist at American Family Insurance

Application Due: N/A

Description: The Metadata Specialist is responsible for establishing and implementing the methods and procedures for proper use and maintenance of the enterprise metadata environment. Collaborates with the data governance area to develop guidelines for how technical, business, and process metadata is defined, managed, and transformed as it moved through various data repositories. Collaborates with IT and the business to develop a common understanding of metadata and ensure effective and accurate decision making by the organization`s data users

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Joint Facilities Coordinator at Alliant Energy

Application Due: 2/16/14

Description: Alliant Energy is currently recruiting for a Joint Facilities Coordinator to work in our Madison, WI office. The ideal candidate will have a Bachelor’s degree AND two or more years experience in joint facility and related contract administration OR six years of professional experience in joint facility and related contract administration. No relocation will be offered for this position. To apply for this challenging opportunity, please complete our online application for job #549BR at http://www.alliantenergy.com/careers.

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Senior Policy Representative at The Nature Conservancy

Application Due: N/A

Description: The Sr. Policy Representative supports The Nature Conservancy’s conservation goals by serving as advocate, liaison and informational contact between The Nature Conservancy and primarily the executive and legislative branches of state government as well as federal, state, county and local municipal agencies and private groups. S/he tracks government policies and decisions that directly affect TNC conservation goals, and serves as research coordinator on other issues of public policy and legislation. S/he may provide services that assist in influencing the outcome of legislative planning and policy initiatives at federal, state, county and municipal levels. S/he is a point of contact to inform the public, Conservancy partners and elected and appointed officials of Conservancy policy and positions in the realm of government relations.

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VoIP Software Engineer at American Family Insurance

Application Due: N/A

Description: The Communications/Collaboration Technologist is focused on building technical expertise by providing second level technical support and assisting with the installation, maintenance and configuration of communication and collaboration technologies and solutions used throughout the enterprise. This includes telephony and customer contact management technologies and systems, social networking technologies and solutions, interactive multimedia communication technologies, and overall human productivity technologies and solutions. Employees in this job are responsible for identifying ways networking technologies and solutions that can be leveraged to improve customer experiences and employee productivity.

Read More…

Credit Analyst at John Deere

Application Due: N/A

Description: As a Credit Analyst at John Deere Financial-Revolving Credit Services department located in Madison, Wisconsin. You will review and analyze credit applications to make credit decisions pertaining to Revolving and Turf and Utility Installment products following policies and procedures established by the company.

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Metadata Senior Analyst at American Family Insurance

Application Due: N/A

Description: The Metadata Senior Analyst is responsible for supporting initiatives to describe, manage, expose, and share metadata with information consumers throughout the enterprise. Assists in establishing and implementing methods and procedures for the proper use and maintenance of the enterprise metadata environment. Consults with business clients and internal staff to determine metadata management needs and objectives. Seeks to continuously improve metadata analysis, data sources and organization, and project workflows.

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Reference Data Specialist at American Family Insurance

Application Due: N/A

Description: The Reference Data Specialist is responsible for establishing processes to identify and maintain cross company reference data sets to ensure they are consistent and up to date across the enterprise data repositories. Collaborates with the data governance area to develop guidelines for how reference data is defined and managed as an enterprise standard. Collaborates with the data quality area to review and solve issues related to reference data variations and inconsistences across systems. Works with IT and the business to manage changes to reference data across systems.

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Learning Designer at Internal Communications Systems

Application Due: N/A

Description: UW-Extension is seeking a highly creative individual to join the Instructional Communications Systems (ICS) team as Learning Design Specialist. ICS is located at the Pyle Center on the Madison campus. The Learning Designer works in collaboration with faculty, instructors, and presenters to imagine instructional possibilities and implement innovative solutions for teaching and learning at a distance. This individual tests, evaluates, and makes recommendations about appropriate educational technology solutions for clients of ICS. S/he develops new services based on these technologies. S/he consults with faculty and staff to design distance education events or programs, develops learning resources, and leads demonstrations and seminars.  S/he promotes, develops and supports the use of distance teaching and learning technologies (web, video, audio, streaming, digital media, etc.). The Learning Designer manages learning design and technology projects, working closely with ICS staff and clients.

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Technical Support Technician at Generac Power Systems

Application Due: N/A

Description: Join the leader in the power industry! Our Whitewater, WI location is seeking a Technical Service Specialist for our Parts, Service and Warranty Division. In this high impact position, you will be a critical team player in a key department that serves our independent and industrial dealer base. Due to the nature of this role, you should be able to travel 10-20%.

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Civil Engineer Transportation Advanced at Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Application Due: N/A

Description: These advanced level positions provide advanced professional engineering expertise in their assigned program/project(s). Positions at this level function as the primary engineer for a specific aspect of a department program/project or function as a program engineer in responsible charge of major projects within an assigned geographic area, or are in responsible charge of multiple complex projects. Engineer positions at this level perform the most complex, difficult, and advanced engineering work which includes multi- and cross-program issues and which often include policy-making responsibilities. Employees at this level have engineering responsibilities that require continually high-level contacts with public and private officials and engineers/engineering consultants on highly sensitive and complex engineering reviews.

Read More…

2013 Homecoming Round Up!

by: MSC Communications Interns, Steven Rodriguez & Eric Newble

This year marked the first annual UW Madison Multicultural Homecoming and there was quite a lot to celebrate! The weekend consisted of several events including an Alumni Reception, Brunch, and a game watch party to cheer the Badger Football team on to victory. The Alumni Reception Friday night and Saturday morning brunch made space for multicultural alumni from over the years to come together.

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The events also served as a great time to reconnect with former classmates, friends, colleagues and interact and network with other UW Multicultural Alumni. The Game Watch Party was a great success as we watched our Badgers triumph over the Northwestern Wildcats 35-6. Friday nights step show proved to once again be a great success, as multitudes of people arrived and enjoyed all the performances that occurred.

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On Saturday night the weekend culminated with the 2013 Stomp Da Madness in the Overture Center for the Arts, which featured performances by Step Afrika and various other student Multicultural Greek organizations. Stomp Da’ Madness, a long-running National Pan-Hellenic Council Step Show tradition here at UW-Madison, made its triumphant return as a part of the UW Multicultural Homecoming Celebration this year.

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Although, the step show has been absent for the past few years, the spirit of stepping has not left UW Madison’s NPHC fraternities and sororities. This year’s event featured an opening performance by Step Afrika!, a sorority step show competition for $500, and a fraternity step show competition for $500.

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Step Afrika!, the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping, opened the event with a showcase promoting how the values of teamwork, discipline, and commitment are essential to success in stepping and throughout life. Their performance was heavily based on the history of stepping, crowd participation, and how stepping was influenced by African culture. Considering that several members of Step Afrika! started stepping during their college careers as part of Black Greek Letter Organizations, they perfectly set the stage for the two step show competitions that followed.

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Stomp Da’ Madness was successful not only because of how intense the competition was between the fraternities and sororities, it was a success because of what the audience symbolizes.  It was amazing to see the current community of multicultural students bridged together with alumni and young, future badgers.  Furthermore, the fact that there were so many people in attendance who traveled from other cities to support their fraternity brothers or sorority sisters speaks volumes about what having an event like Stomp Da’ Madness means.  In my opinion, it deserves to be a staple of the UW Multicultural Homecoming Celebration.

Also, if you were one of the 1,000-plus people who attended Stomp Da’ Madness, you are automatically eligible for a scholarship that they award to undergrads pursuing their academic goals.  More information on the scholarship can be found here: http://www.stepafrika.org/arts-education/scholars-program/

Click here to Check out this video, made by the MSC Communications Team & don’t forget to check out the FULL homecoming photo gallery at flickr.com/uwmulticultural

How can we make the UW Multicultural Homecoming even better next year?  In order to make the UW Multicultural Homecoming Celebration a successful event that is inclusive to all students, the Multicultural Student Center acknowledges your input is open to any suggestions and new event ideas for next year (especially those that extend beyond the reach of Greek Life).  Let’s strengthen the tradition in 2014!

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Student Spotlight: Barbara Gonzalez

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Barbara interning with Seventeen.

Barbara Alyssa Gonzalez is a junior with intentions of majoring in Journalism with a certificate in Chican@/Latin@ Studies. She came to UW-Madison by way of New York City through the First Wave Hip Hop Arts Scholarship. Additionally, she is a sister of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc., a contributing writer for MODA Magazine, and serves her campus community as a Greek Life Specialist Intern at the Multicultural Student Center.

This past summer, Barbara landed a highly competitive internship with Seventeen magazine in New York City.  Her application process began on ed2010.com – a website primarily geared towards posting internship opportunities that specifically relate to magazines and journalism.  After submitting her résumé, cover letter, and summer availability, she received phone call from Seventeen stating that they wanted to schedule an interview with her. Just a few weeks later, she received the exciting confirmation that she was chosen to be The Bookings Intern of Seventeen’s Photo Department!

“Working as a Bookings Intern for Seventeen meant that I worked mainly with the models. At Seventeen, not only do they hire models that are signed with agencies, but they also recruit “real girl” models who are readers of the magazine who send in pictures in hopes of being casted in the beauty shoots for the magazine.”  This meant that it was up to Barbara to conduct go-sees with the signed models, propose “real girl” models who would be a good fit for Seventeen’s beauty shoots.  She was also in charge of keeping the files with all of the model books in order, maintaining the monthly model board, staying in contact with the “real girls,” and any other duties that her supervisor assigned.

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Barbara with model Bella Kane.

“My internship tied directly into my student life at UW when it came to cultural awareness.  I had a very straightforward, clear commitment to promoting inclusivity of models from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds.  This ties directly into everything I’m involved with on campus, from my work with First Wave to my internship with the MSC,” she says.

Barbara also describes the differences between her Seventeen internship and her Greek Life Specialist internship with the MSC. The internship with the MSC helped facilitate Barbara’s transition to working at a fast-paced level.  At the MSC she typically works on long-term projects, but at Seventeen she was required to complete long-term projects while working on several small projects each day.

“I learned a lot about professional development as far as regular office things, such as time management and organization, but I also learned that as long as you have a clear goal set in your mind it is very possible to achieve it, no matter what obstacles try to get in your way,” she says.

However, working at such a fast-paced level did have its perks; Seventeen introduced Barbara to a whirlwind of celebrities.  “I met Aliana Lohan (Lindsay Lohan’s little sister), Nikayla Rivera (Naya Rivera’s little sister), Becky G (up and coming Latina rapper and singer), Keke Lindgard (world famous super model), Scotty McCreery (American Idol Winner), and I saw Carly Rae Jepsen in the office once!”  On top of that, Barbara also caught a glimpse of Oprah Winfrey.

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Barbara with Becky G.

With this experience, Barbara is more motivated than ever to pursue her journalistic ambitions.  “Working with Seventeen is something that I will cherish forever and has inspired me to even possibly create my own teen publication one day!”  We, here at the MSC, would like to congratulate Barbara on her success and wish her the best of luck with applying to the School of Journalism.

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Barbara chilling underneath the Hearst.

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Please visit http://www.seventeen.com for more information on Seventeen magazine.

Please visit http://www.ed2010.com/ for more information on journalism-based internships.

Please visit http://www.msc.wisc.edu/about/mission for more information on the work Barbara does with the Multicultural Student Center.

Blog post by Steven Rodriguez, Communications and Technology Specialist Intern of the Multicultural Student Center of the University of Wisconsin.

Weekend Job Board: July 13

Full time jobs with higher education, non-profits, teaching, government, and communications/journalism.

HIGHER EDUCATION/UNIVERSITY JOBS (9)

Open Positions at the UW-Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment:

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Health Promotion Coordinator (Depaul University): The Health Promotion Coordinator will be responsible for implementing and evaluating health promotion and wellness education consistent with DePaul University’s Catholic, Vincentian, and urban mission which seeks to ensure the dignity and respect of all people.  This education includes outreach to student leaders, student organizations, all First Year Program courses, and underserved student communities (e.g. LGBTQA students, students of color, women, low-income, first generation, people with disabilities, etc.).  The Coordinator will also create, supervise and evaluate a Peer Health Educator program.  Finally, in collaboration with the Director of Health Promotion and Wellness, the Coordinator will assist in conducting the National College Health Assessment, compiling the results, and presenting the data to the university community. All interested and qualified candidates should submit application materials to DePaul University Human Resources department at https://jobs-depaul.icims.com/jobs/17200/job.

Continue reading

Director’s Blog: Congratulations Graduates!

Congrats to all our Graduates!!!   Many of you have plans to do work in community organizing, community service and human rights, all over the country and the world (New Orleans, Los Angeles, Oakland, El Salvador, Southeast Asia, Argentina). More than a handful are joining the Teach for America as corps members. Some of you will be starting careers in health care, genetic counseling, non-profit leadership, engineering groups, banking and finance, public service…

A number of you will be attending graduate school: Fashion Institute of Technology, MFA at Arts Institute of Chicago, Depaul Law School, MBA at Old Dominion, Counseling Psychology at University of Hawaii… a number will be applying to medical school. A few of you are staying on at UW for graduate studies in the departments of Social Work, Gender and Women’s Studies, Public Health, Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.

For those of you, currently, on the job market,  in these final weeks of school, we  encourage you to:

  1. Pay a final visit to L & S Career Services (or the Career Services office of your particular schools or College) and update your resume and cover letter templates
  2. Register for or update your account on Buckynet.org or WAA’s Badger Career Network
  3. Check the MSC Blog Tapestry for new job postings , Like Us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter
  4. Sign-up with several temporary agencies in your local area
  5. Consider volunteering with an organization that you would like to work with or for
  6. Maximize your resources by maintaining any established  relationship you have with mentors or seek out new professional mentors
  7. Invest time and effort gaining new knowledge and skills in your desired career area
  8. Find places and opportunities to network with other folk who are successful in doing the thing you want to do

Best of luck and congratulations on all of your achievements.