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Graduating Seniors Tell Why They Are Going Into Public Service

Publication Date: 5/9/2013

As graduation approaches, seniors are preparing to enter various professional fields. In honor of national Public Service Recognition Week, May 5-11, a few Rhodes seniors share some insight into their future positions:

Annie Bares
ArtsMemphis

“I′ve been working at ArtsMemphis in an intern or part-time role for almost two years now, and so I’m excited about being in the office full-time as a development associate continuing to work with arts organizations and supporters of the arts in Memphis. Mission-driven work appeals to me because in my experience, everyone is really passionate and interested in what he or she is doing. It’s also an exciting field because nonprofits are constantly adapting to best serve community needs. I’ll be working on different projects to promote area arts organizations and their wonderful programming. I also will be working with donors and community stakeholders who are invested in Memphis’ vast cultural and artistic assets. I’ve learned so much in my experience with ArtsMemphis, and I hope to continue learning about the non-profit and arts sectors. Memphis has a vibrant arts and cultural community. I also look forward to all of the exciting experiences that it offers!”

Elizabeth Hollingsworth
Deep Griha Society

“I knew that I wanted to spend my first year after college volunteering abroad, and after taking Professor Mark Muesse′s Religions of India class, I knew where I wanted to volunteer. In September, I will begin working for the Deep Griha Society in Pune, India. Deep Griha is an independent charitable organization that helps serve a variety of needs in the slums of Pune including childcare, child and youth development, healthcare, and women′s empowerment. I will learn what sector I am placed a month before my departure, based on where the greatest need is at the time. My hope is to serve an impoverished community in a meaningful way, make connections with the people of Pune, and gain greater cultural understanding through service.”

Aubrey King
Teach For China

“For the next two years, I′ll be living in a rural community in China, teaching English at an under-resourced school. Rural communities especially lack English teachers, when compared to urban centers where access to English speakers and teachers is far more prevalent. Education inequality leads to greater economic gaps between urban and rural China, and Teach For China works to counter this inequality by sending both American and Chinese graduates into high poverty areas. I was drawn to this program having taught at migrant schools in Shanghai last summer. With such a huge disparity between different socioeconomic classes in a cosmopolitan city like Shanghai, I couldn′t imagine the conditions in lesser developed provinces. In rural regions, only three percent of students get accepted to college. I’ve loved China since I first visited when I was in high school, and I’ve taken Mandarin ever since. I knew I wanted to give back somehow before starting a career, and so with all this in mind, I decided Teach For China is the perfect opportunity for me. I’m really looking forward to working with Chinese youth; it’s so exciting to think I could have such a positive impact on their futures.”

Alex Pappas
Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

“Starting in the fall, I will be working as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) for Presbyterian Church U.S.A. This is a great stepping stone between college and the career I eventually want to go into which is Christian education. I believe there is a genuine need, and even if my contribution is small in comparison to that need, it would be selfish of me to not try and offer my gifts to help others. I have lived an incredibly privileged life and it’s time to give back. I have always been surrounded by people who emphasized the importance of volunteering. It sounds so cheesy, but I really do believe that even the smallest acts can make a difference. Among other positions, I’m currently interviewing for a PR job with Project Homecoming within the YAV program. Project Homecoming is an organization that has been building affordable housing in New Orleans since 2007. I am really looking forward to living in a community of people who have the same goals as me. I hope by the end of the year that I have been able to build relationships and a support system among a new community of people. I also am hoping that by spending a year focusing on others, I will actually learn more about myself and what the next step is in my life of service to others.”

John Sanford
Connecting Schools to the World

“Starting in July, I will be teaching in Argentina for a period of about six months for a program called Connecting Schools to the World. I am being hired as a teacher and will most likely be assigned to a rural, low income area. Teaching will give me an opportunity to perfect my Spanish, gain valuable experience living and working abroad, and will hopefully open doors for other employment opportunities in Argentina. This opportunity is exciting because I love traveling and experiencing new cultures, especially those where I can practice the language I have been studying throughout high school and college. During my time as a teacher, I will be living with a family and teaching at the local elementary school; I could possibly be teaching at more than one school. Upon completing the six months, I hope to be a proficient Spanish speaker familiar with Argentinian customs and traditions. Ideally, I would be able to find a job in the business world and work in Argentina for a few years before returning to the States.”

(information compiled by Rhodes Student Associate and graduating senior Lucy Kellison who will work for Teach For America.)

Tags: Service, Students

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