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Ronald Porter
Acting Director of Service Learning

Eckerd College
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St. Petersburg, FL 33711

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Service Learning

Service Learning

Profiles in Service

Emma Rafferty

Manchester, NH

Emma Rafferty
Graduation Year: 2012
Major: Psychology
Minor: Human Development
What types of service/volunteer activities are/were you involved with at Eckerd?

Activator (2009 and 2010), Best Buddies, 2010 East Africa Winter Term, spring break service trips (Ireland, Peru, led one to New Orleans), various day trip service projects (CASA, PARC and others).

In what ways did your service experience change you or cause a transformation in your thinking, values or degree/career choice?

Service opened my eyes to new career possibilities. I loved the experiences I had during my time at Eckerd. I had always considered myself to be a pretty open-minded person, but my experiences while at Eckerd, particularly while traveling, confirmed and even changed to some extent, my thinking as well as my values. Observing absolute poverty as well as other struggles strengthened my desire to help others.

Please describe your most significant or important service experience while at Eckerd.

While all of my experiences were significant and different from one another, my most significant was my trip to Ethiopia and Rwanda in 2010 on a Winter Term. I had traveled out of the states previously, but I had never seen such absolute poverty. Visiting the genocide memorials in Rwanda was also particularly humbling. It was here that I really truly understood how terrible people can be to each other. It made me proud to be contributing towards the construction of a new school for young women directly affected by the genocide.

If you are a graduate, what sort of service do you now do?

I am currently an AmeriCorps VISTA member in Manchester, NH. I work for the YWCA assisting victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. We also are attempting to start some programs for young woman and teenagers who are pregnant or parenting.

Service and justice are two topics that can generate stimulating thought and discussion. Describe a time, event or interaction that really engaged your thoughts on service and justice.

After visiting the genocide memorials in Rwanda it was difficult for our group to discuss what we had seen and how it related to what we were doing. When we finally did talk, someone brought up how it was possible that these sort of atrocities could occur. The discussion that we had was one of the most thought-provoking I had ever been a part of. Service often involves working with people who have been through some hard times, and it was interesting discussing how and why these things happen.

What advice would you give to other current or entering Eckerd students about participating in service?

Participate in as much as you can! Try it, even if it isn't something you would like to pursue as a career. It might just change your career path, as it did in my case. In the end, I can guarantee that you will have an amazing experience. You will feel good about yourself and most importantly, you will have made a difference.

Notes from the Field

Servant Leaders blog
Service-Learning Interns blog
The service-learning student interns are increasing service involvement at Eckerd, becoming successful service leaders and helping students create a community around the values and challenges of servant-leadership.

Service Learning Profiles

Alumni Profiles

Read individual profiles of how involvement with Eckerd Service Learning changed the lives of current students and alumni.  Learn more.