LEARNING, Pixar in a Box

Three Favorite Films

“Pixar in a Box” is a collaboration between Pixar Animation Studios and Khan Academy, sponsored by Disney. It explores how Pixar artists use math, science, computer science, and humanities to create amazing movies. Check it out here: https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/pixar.

Topic 1: The Art of Storytelling

Activity 2 – Exercise 2: Your Three Favorite Films

This is easy. The three films I would take to a deserted island are The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

I think I connected with these stories because in the face of a great and powerful evil and amid much despair and death, it is the smallest people – the Hobbits – who change the course of the future.

My world is vast and deep and large, full of powerful and smart and difficult people, burdened with impossible situations and hopeless events. I often feel inadequate. I don’t think I have what it takes to succeed, to make a difference, to leave a mark, to live a life that matters.

But whenever I read or see the Hobbits’ stories, I am given the courage to keep on.

The three films that make up The Lord of the Rings trilogy have much in common – the same main characters, one strong story line, a consistent theme, memorable soundtrack, stunning effects, etc. Yet, they are different in that they make up the beginning, middle, and end of a complete story.

LEARNING, Pixar in a Box

Expressing Memories

“Pixar in a Box” is a collaboration between Pixar Animation Studios and Khan Academy, sponsored by Disney. It explores how Pixar artists use math, science, computer science, and humanities to create amazing movies. Check it out here: https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/pixar.

Topic 1: The Art of Storytelling

Activity 1 – Exercise 1: Expressing Memories

The memory that I remember most vividly is watching The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy for the first time. One Christmas, my younger siblings and I watched High School Musical (2006), Shrek (2001), and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) back-to-back in that order. An unusual combination, I know.

This was back in the day when Netflix mailed out DVDs in its signature red envelopes.

Placing an order for a DVD online and then waiting in eager anticipation for it to come in the mail was one of the highlights of my childhood.

While it was well after 3 a.m. in the morning on the day after Christmas when my younger siblings and I finally went to sleep, the vast mythical land of Middle-earth and the epic struggles and triumphs of its peoples remained very much on my mind. I wanted to know how the story ended. Did Frodo and Sam make it to Mordor? Were they successful in their quest to destroy the One Ring? What happened to Gandalf who fell into the abyss with the Balrog? And what became of Gollum? What were the journeys of the other members of the fellowship? Did they perish like Boromir or did they survive?

To see the answers to all of these questions and more, I had to wait two weeks…because, first, I had to send back the old red envelopes containing the DVDs for High School Musical, Shrek, and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Then, I had to wait for Netflix to send new red envelopes containing the DVDs for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

It felt like an eternity…

…but the wait was worth it.

Joy is the emotion I connect to this memory because after watching the movies I knew that storytelling, script-writing, and film-making was what I wanted to do with my life. I was—and still am—fascinated by the story and world of J. R. R. Tolkien’s imagination and by how Peter Jackson brought both to life in such a believable manner.

Photo credit: Khan Academy / Gif credit 1: Favim / Gif credit 2: Gifs Gallery / Gif credit 3: Giphy

LEARNING, Organizational Design & Structure

Literature Review: Shaping Cultures and Ethics of Organizations

This literature review examines organizational culture and ethics from the perspective of organizational design and structure.


Corporate culture has been defined as “a system of shared meaning held by members that distinguishes the organization from other organizations.” Because corporate culture is not written down, but more caught than taught from the founder’s traits and from the traits of people who are hired over time, leaders must shape what type of cultures their organizations have. Culture can be designed by determining which culture is the best culture for an organization, and how it impacts the motivation, productivity, leadership, management, and decision-making processes of an organization. Ethics can be structured by knowing why organizational ethics are need, by establishing an effective organizational ethical environment, and by determining if ethical officers, training, etc., is needed. Continue reading “Literature Review: Shaping Cultures and Ethics of Organizations”

Business Research Methods, LEARNING

Literature Review: Achievement Motivation Theory (McClelland)

This is a literature review on psychologist David McClelland’s achievement motivation theory as it relates to business.


David McClelland was a psychologist most known for his 1961 work, “The Achieving Society,” which built on psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy or theory of needs. Maslow identified five basic needs that he believed all humans have: physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem and self-actualization. From Maslow’s hierarchy, McClelland identified three motivators that he believed all humans have: a need for achievement, a need for affiliation and a need for power. According to McClelland, we are not born with these motivators, but learn them as we progress through life, and regardless of our cultural/social/racial/religious background, these three motivators will drive us, with one of them being the dominant driver. What will be the dominant motivating driver for a person depends on his or her life experiences. This paper examines the first motivator: a need for achievement, and takes a look at literature related to the achievement motivation theory and how this theory affects different aspects of business including business management, small businesses, business employees and economic growth and development. Continue reading “Literature Review: Achievement Motivation Theory (McClelland)”

International Business, LEARNING

Global Business Cultural Analysis: Russia

This is a paper I wrote for a course on international business. It examines the major elements and dimensions of culture in Russia, including: Hofstede’s five cultural dimensions, communication, ethics, and religion. Also examined is how locals integrate culture in business. A comparison between U. S. culture and business and Russian culture and business is given. Finally, implications for U. S. businesses wishing to conduct business in Russia are given; along with a SWOT analysis and a foreign direct investment (FDI) analysis of Russia.



Russia is the world’s largest country with territory that stretches across nine time zones. Rich in natural resources, its land contains the world’s largest forest reserves, huge reserves of oil and minerals, and nearly a quarter of the planet’s total freshwater. Russia has a rich cultural history with a reputation that is rather frigid and unfriendly. The people are largely hardworking, disciplined, and innovative in their approaches to work. Since emerging from World War III, Russia has become a formidable global economic, political, and military force. Even though Western influence has been integrated into Russian society and despite growing diversity due to immigration, the country maintains a strong sense of its distinct identity. This paper explores the culture of Russia and the opportunities it presents for U.S. businesses looking to expand into Russia. Continue reading “Global Business Cultural Analysis: Russia”

LEARNING, Theology and Cinema

Christian Involvement in Cinematic Arts

This is a paper I wrote for a cinema course which I enjoyed immensely and which reconfirmed my desire to be involved in film-making.


Before taking CINE 340, the only thing I knew for certain about movies was that I loved them. I liked being taken behind the scenes to see the messy work that made the magic on screen. I liked seeing how sets were built, costumes designed, and prosthetics applied. Deleted scenes, bloopers, and director’s commentary were fascinating. Most of all, I liked seeing a well made completed work of art from beginning to end. Continue reading “Christian Involvement in Cinematic Arts”

LEARNING, Theology and Cinema

‘The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers’

This is a paper I wrote for a course on cinema regarding Peter Jackson’s 2002 film, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. My favorite book and movie trilogy of all time!


The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is the second in Peter Jackson‘s masterful movie adaption of The Lord of the Rings trilogy by British author J. R. R. Tolkien.

Continue reading “‘The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers’”