Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?

Hurricane Irene had a big impact on me and the area that I live in. There was flooding everywhere. Its made me appreciate the power of nature more than ever.

I think the legalization of gay marriage in New York affected me in a very positive way. I'm not gay but I'd say gay rights is the biggest social issue I care about. It breaks my heart to see people in love discriminated against. The fact that the greatest city in the world stood up and said NO MORE made me feel wonderful in my heart.

The earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan really drove home for me how tenuous Life can be. We had friends working there at the time and waiting to hear their fate was excruciating! Watching and waiting made me grateful for the age of technology in which we live while humbling me to fact that all plans & technology can be for naught in the face of Mother Nature.

Economic Crisis - Fear of civilization crumbling. Close to home: husband terrified of losing job. Riots and revolution all over the world - the death and destruction balanced with the spirit and passion of so many people around the globe, gives hope. To witness people surviving and struggling with so much less than what we have, and be so committed to an ideal.

I think the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It made me take a moment to think about the last ten years of my life, how much I've grown and changed since I was 17.

It may not have made world news headlines, but the death of my friend's daughter, Simi, just 1 year old from leukemia has affected how I approach life. I'm much more happy and content with small joys.

The war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I've spent 3 years periodically researching it and advocating on behalf of the victims. This culminated in the research, writing and defense of my senior thesis.

The killing of Osama bin Laden impacted me much more than I thought it would this past year. My young adult life has been framed by the war on terror, the new fear of terrorism and the search for bin Laden.

The london riots were pretty upsetting. Seeing the city that I now call home just rip itself apart is something very enlightening. I hope never to see something like it again but who knows.

Occupy Wall Street. I realized that so many people feel that same way I do about the power on Wall Street. My family is very much a working class family, and we have felt the consequences of a corporation's ruthless scramble to gain more money. Before I was born, six members of my mother's family were killed when a coal waste dam broke. The corporation had built the dam on loose sediment instead of rock because they didn't want to spend the money to dig down to rock. My mother's memories of that has always been a strong part of my identity, and I have never quite gotten past my distrust of corporations. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one.