Peace and Social Justice Studies Program

Student Stories

Sarah McLewin, ‘12

Sarah McLewin explains how Berea’s Peace and Social Justice Program introduces students to a “new world view” through learning about global issues. The program also offers a theoretical understanding of nonviolent solutions. Through looking at the processes of past social movements while also analyzing current issues, students gain an ability to apply theory to action—now, and in their future.

 

Martina Jackson, ‘10

A quote from Martina: “The highlights of my PSJ major are learning to be understanding, patient and persistent. I learned very quickly the importance of various issues and how many others issues, especially at the national level, take precedent. Whatever route I take, I always keep in mind that I have to continue to be persistent in all that I do, but I also have to have patience.”

How her perspective was shaped with action: Martina did an internship with Entrepreneurship for the Public Good Fellowship as the EPG Cohort 6 Member and EPG Fellow. She conducted 10 interviews in with community members, and elected city officials in Berea, KY and Hindman, KY. Also, she collaborated in the development of a training plan for ecofriendly business practice for the Chamber of Commerce of Hindman, KY. Using the skills she gleaned from Conflict Transformation, she facilitated 3 community discussions

What she’s doing now: Martina works as a Research and Material Development Intern for NAACP’S Environmental and Climate Justice Program. She works on developing environmental justice toolkits for youth chapters and community guides on how to organize around coal plant issues.

 

Lolly Saleem, ‘08

A quote from Lolly: “In introduction to peace and social justice studies, I learned to think globally. I was no longer the center of my universe; I was a small peon in a much larger world. Peace and Social Justice Studies has widened my view of society and global issues. I constantly see injustices now whereas before, I would not of recognized them.”

How her perspective was shaped with action: Lolly participated in the Sheppard Poverty Alliance Internship in Helena Arkansas. She was responsible for authoring a code of research ethics for the Tri-county rural health network. In the low-income delta are there has been a history of people coming to do research. However, in that area there were no guidelines that the researchers had to follow that would help protect the subjects and give them a sense of dignity. It was her assignment to create a document that the researchers had to comply with.

 

Corrie Spellman

A quote from Corrie, “Take direct action. Take it out of the books and onto the streets. Don’t get bogged down in the sorrows of injustice but inspired in the creativity and community created by working towards a more just society.”

How her perspective was shaped with action: Corrie was a part of the Bonner Scholar program at Berea. She volunteered at different places in Europe and also in an urban farm in Philadelphia. She was the CELTS program manager of HEAL, a student-led sustainable community development organization.

What she’s doing now: She currently runs a market garden in Philadelphia with high schoolers. She and her team transform vacant lots into urban gardens/farms, improving access to healthy food for communities, creating meaningful jobs for at-risk youth and empowering youth to become healthy responsible young adults and leaders who give back to their communities.

What she’s doing now: Her current position is as program associate for Gear Up Appalachia. She evaluates resources available to a cohort group of 5th and 6th graders to ensure that they will choose to further their education into a post-secondary institution.

 

Wendy Williams

A quote from Wendy, “The strength of Peace and Justice Studies is its interdisciplinary nature. Disciplines are fantastic but I can’t study social class without using sociology and politics. Everyone has their comfort zone and interdisciplinary studies move you out of your comfort zone.”

How her perspective was shaped with action: Williams studied Peace and Conflict as her minor at Swarthmore College. She studied conflict in Northern Ireland between Protestants and Catholics. Researching the attitudes of college students’ about their vision for the future, she found that both Catholics and Protestants could agree on an EU rule that would neutralize the sectarian conflict.

What she’s doing now: Wendy Williams is an associate Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies at Berea College at Swarthmore College. She focuses her research on prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination. In the classroom she uses examples that have real life consequences to explain theories and incorporates service learning projects into her curriculum.

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