Alumni Describe Answering the Call to Service Work
Providence, R.I.--Three alumni recently participated in the panel discussion, “A Forum on Service and Vocation,” as a part of Providence College’s two-week celebration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King.
The panelists discussed their active citizenship in light of King’s principles of social justice, service, and advocacy. Each panelist answered questions pertaining to their decisions to do service work immediately after matriculation. They also shared their reflections on the nature of service work.
• Kelly Hughes ’11 is currently serving at Capuchin Youth and Family Ministry in New York. Although she seriously considered pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology, she decided to expand on her experiences with PC’s Campus Ministry and pursue service after graduation.
She said, “I came to this realization my senior year, and it was very overwhelming; there is so much need. PC ingrained in me that service is not to fill a résumé for graduate school, but it is a response to what has been given to me.”
Next year, she will attend Boston College’s graduate program to study social work and pastoral ministry. She said, “Vocation is where your greatest desire meets the world’s greatest need. In order to serve well, you must self-reflect and have self-awareness. You can’t put a price on fulfillment.”
• Eve Driscoll ’00 spent her first year after graduation with Covenant House in New York City—a shelter for homeless, run away, and at-risk persons from 18-24 years old. After her year of service, she worked for the organization professionally for seven years.
She expressed how PC’s focus on service inspired her to get involved with service work. She continued, “This is a time in your life that will change you – in time and in perspective. Service at PC is very present.”
Currently, Driscoll works with the McGladrey accounting firm out of its Boston office, where she assists a range of clients including non-profit organizations.
• Andrew Jacques ’09 worked with Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I., through AmeriCorps Vista. As a global studies major, he recognized service as an essential part of his undergraduate studies.
He said, “Global studies is broad in nature, but AmeriCorps Vista gave me the chance to sample different areas of service.”
While at Roger Williams, he shared with students different service opportunities for them to engage in. He said, “Giving the students I worked with the knowledge of different organizations is what gave them a stake in the service they were doing. Fostering the idea of knowledge and education throughout service combats injustice and inequalities.”
Jacques currently works at the Rhode Island School of Design in student affairs as the community service coordinator.
A career in service
Throughout the discussion, the panelists frequently spoke about the difficulty of choosing between the option of getting a job and participating in social service after matriculation.
To illustrate the point further, Elena T. Yee, director of multicultural affairs, who facilitated the discussion, elaborated on her experience with service work.
Yee worked as an engineer for seven years before teaching English in China for a year and Vietnam for a summer as a means to serve students and teachers through education, training and building relationships. She said, “Service engages individuals in life-changing experiences. The path to service is always a journey.”
--Genevieve Marie Ilg ’14