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Jenks Gazette

Jenks Graduate Travels as U.S. Student Ambassador

INTERNATIONAL ASPIRATIONS: Victoria Crynes, a 2014 Jenks High School graduate, is working towards a career as a U.S. diplomat.

Courtesy photo

Victoria Crynes, a 2014 Jenks High School graduate, has set her career sights on becoming a U.S. diplomat and is well on her way.

During the summer, Crynes traveled to Taiwan, representing the U.S. as a student ambassador in the Taiwan-United States Sister Relations Alliance Summer Scholarship Program (TUSA). She spent two months at the National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan, participating in an intensive Mandarin Chinese language course and engaging in numerous Taiwanese cultural activities, including Chinese painting, tea ceremony, calligraphy, Tai Chi, and educational seminars.

A member of the Tulsa Global Alliance, Crynes recently hosted Ying Zih Chiu, legislative assistant to DPP Legislature Lin Ching-Yi, Legislature Yuan, Taiwan. According to Crynes, one of her favorite ways to host international guests, such as Ying Zih, is by cooking a meal together. Ying Zih made her first pizza and blackberry pie in the Crynes’ kitchen as they discussed Taiwanese culture.

Crynes’ interest in becoming an ambassador took root early in her life, she says. She knew at an early age that she wanted to travel the world as an ambassador of goodwill, Crynes notes, with a focus on creating public policy that would benefit the U.S. and other nations. “As the world becomes more interconnected, I believe it is imperative that we create and foster friendships and understanding between nations.”

She credits her family, which hosted many students from various countries as she grew up, for helping her form her outlook. Crynes remembers hosting students from China, Japan, Australia, Czech Republic, United Kingdom and France. “I was captivated by the different cultures, cuisine, languages and way of life. My challenge was to identify a career that would enable me to become a facilitator of global change.”

In summer 2016, Crynes visited Scotland, where she participated in the Fulbright-Scotland Summer Institute. All expenses were covered during the five-week cultural intensive program, hosted by the Universities of Dundee and Strathclyde. “I landed in Scotland just days after the United Kingdom voted to exit the European Union. Brexit was a hot political topic, and I experienced the passionate and heated discussions that followed,” she says.

One of the highlights of the program for Crynes was being selected as a key speaker at the U.S. Consulate in Edinburgh. Crynes hopes to return to the United Kingdom to obtain her postgraduate degree in public policy as a fellow of one of the British Fellowships to conduct research on the economic, social and political impact of Brexit.

Crynes extended her time in Eastern Europe where she attended Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, as an Arizona State University New American Scholar. “I will always remember that my first presidential vote was in the Czech Republic,” she remembers. “As an American student, I was invited to cast my vote in Ambassador Andrew Schapiro’s residence. It was an interesting experience watching President Trump’s acceptance speech via ‘face-time’ in a foreign country.”

Crynes’ other foreign travels to Switzerland, France, Mexico and Canada have expanded her world view as well as provided her with a clear direction for her future. Crynes also attributes her commitment and desire to positively impacting other countries to the support that she received from her high school principal Eric Fox. Fox helped Crynes to create a service project that would academically empower the many Myanmar students at Jenks High School, she says. “Principal Fox has continued to be supportive of my international aspirations and has written several letters of reference on my behalf.”

During Crynes’ last two years of high school, she served as co-captain of the Jenks Mock Trial team – an experience that helped to build in her a passion for law, she says.
Crynes encourages young ones to be open-minded during their high school years and to look into various student organizations, which could ultimately put students down their future career paths. “There are numerous student clubs and organizations (at Jenks High School) along with faculty who can help to guide and direct students into their ideal destiny,” she says.

Updated 07-25-2017

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