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Acting Director of Service Learning
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
toll-free: (800) 456-9009
local: (727) 864-7512
Profiles in Service
Graduation Year: 2009
Major: Women and Gender Studies
Minors: Political Science, International Relations and Global Affairs
What types of service/volunteer activities are/were you involved with at Eckerd?
I was the service-learning coordinator for Gamma Knox my sophomore year. I participated in both direct service opportunities, including Habitat for Humanity builds and indirect service, such as organizing awareness campaigns for HIV/AIDS issues and an anti-genocide movement. I also participated in multiple spring break and fall break service trips.
In what ways did your service experience change you or cause a transformation in your thinking, values or degree/career choice?
Service influenced my entire career choice, which is how I ended up pursuing a master's degree in Global Social Work. The idea of social activism and social justice are appealing concepts to my idea of the way the world works as well as how it could work. The service experiences I had at Eckerd heightened my awareness of international issues as well.
Please describe your most significant or important service experience while at Eckerd.
I think that the 4 Days 4 Darfur campaign that I was involved with during my sophomore year really impacted me, because I felt a sense of ownership and leadership with this campaign. As an organizer, it was a great feeling to collaborate with so many people and be able to see tangible results in terms of how many people came out to the events and supported the cause. I think that when students are able to have these kinds of moments when they feel empowered to lead, they will continue to feel more confident to do so in the future. This service reminded me that the work on large scale issues is ongoing and discussions for action must continue beyond short-term campaigns.
If you are a graduate, what sort of service do you now do?
I have tried to make service shape my career as a social worker. Currently, I am spending this summer working for Johns Hopkins University's Center for Talented Youth, at their Civic Leadership Institute in Berkeley, California. My role as a teaching assistant to gifted high school students has been to help facilitate learning about systemic injustices domestically and globally. Part of the learning process has been participating in community service excursions, as this program heavily emphasizes experiential learning.
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.
During one of my service-learning classes, I felt as though the readings from Oscar Romero to Jane Addams really stretched me to start to understand the connection between social justice and service. I think that around the time of this class was when I began to understand the differences of charity and solidarity.
What advice would you give to other current or entering Eckerd students about participating in service?
I would advocate strongly that students not only participate in service but take a service-learning elective if they can. These classes are applicable to any major as they relate to real world problems in our communities. Through the classes I took, I started to make even bigger connections to historical movements involving social justice, which helped me to understand more about the current systems of oppression in place today.