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The Blazer

Branson’s student-run newspaper
Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Furhman shares experience of fall semester at S.E.G.L.

Not many Branson students have had the experience of being at the epicenter of American politics during major world events as Reese Furhman ‘25 has.

“They suspended classes,” Furhman said of the Washington, D.C.-based school she was attending when the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel took place. “The school brought in more speakers to talk about what was going on. That issue was honestly very divided.”

Exposing students to difficult and divisive subjects may be part of the picture at the School for Ethics and Global Leadership, where Furhman spent her fall semester.

“Part of the purpose of the program was to bring people from all over the country and the world with different political views together,” she explained.

As someone “really interested in politics,” Furhman wanted to push herself by enrolling in SEGL’s semester abroad program.

“There were people there with very different viewpoints than me,” she said.

But that was exactly what Furhman hoped for from the experience.

“It’s very easy to have echo chambers in terms of political beliefs,” she said. “I wanted to be in a place where people wanted to really talk about all of that.”

While seeking out controversy might seem like the equivalent of deliberately touching a hot stovetop, Furhman insists that her experience was anything but antagonistic.

“The first thing is respecting each other on a human level,” she said. The experience was collaborative, perhaps especially in moments when students found their opinions at odds with one another. “Everyone is really smart, so you respect and value them as people.”

Exchanging ideas with students from completely different backgrounds showed Furhman how much she valued the process of listening, and even reevaluating her own opinions.

“It’s so much easier to hear their side when it’s not under a giant umbrella of ‘this is bad’ or ‘this is negative,’ but seeing the face of someone you respect, you take it for what it is. It made me think differently; not as many issues are as black and white as they may seem.”

Over the course of her semester at SEGL, Furhman created an 80-page case study with policy recommendations on the governance of Haiti, listened to speakers who had argued cases ranging from affirmative action to genocide in front of the nation’s highest court, and even met Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson.

In addition to debate sparring partners, Furhman said that, without a doubt, the program has given her something else: “I know I’ve made lifelong friends.”

While her experience in D.C. seems almost a world away, Furhman says her transition back to Branson was smooth, and she gives the program her highest recommendation.

“My message for anyone at Branson who is interested would be: Email me and I can connect you with people because it is just an awesome experience and I definitely recommend applying!”

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About the Contributor
Saylor Mullarkey
Saylor Mullarkey, Life Editor
Saylor Mullarkey serves as life editor and first joined The Blazer in 2022. She received third place for sports story in 2023 from the Journalism Education Association of Northern California.