Advocacy is something International Studies major and sociology minor Elise Harry '14 knows very well. In the interim years between high school and college, Elise worked as a victim’s advocate for the Crime Victims Center of Chester County and spent time volunteering abroad. When her interest in advocating for others, particularly victims of human trafficking, encouraged Elise to pursue a degree, she was happy to find professors at Arcadia that would work to advocate for her, by pushing her to succeed.
"Because I didn’t do well in high school, I didn’t think I would do well in college," Elise explained. “Arcadia’s given me the opportunity to prove to myself that I can do this.”
It was on Dr. Hilary Parsons Dick’s recommendation that Elise applied to intern with the Nationalities Service Center in Philadelphia. Working with refugees and people seeking asylum, often the victims of torture, was a new challenge for Elise.
“There were days where I would cry, “ she admitted. “It is a little more intense working one-on-one with someone than it is just reading about these things. It is just a different experience.”
As difficult as the job could be, it was full of rewarding moments, from writing case studies for the United Nations to helping a young man fill out a FAFSA form and apply to college. That practical experience, as well as course work and international experience with Dr. Angela Kachuyevski’s global field study course Politics and Ethnic Conflict Management in Ukraine, have built upon and expanded Elise’s previous experiences and interests. Applying some of those skills and perspectives, Elise is working with sociology professor Dr. Ana Maria Garcia to organize a panel discussion on the subject of human trafficking at Arcadia in the spring of 2014.
The encouragement of professors such as Dr. Dick and Dr. Garcia have pushed Elise to go beyond what she thought she could do in college, and now they have her looking into grad schools.
“I have fallen in love with school here at Arcadia,” Elise said, smiling. “I like what I am doing; I like what I am studying. I am passionate about it.”
Historical & Political Studies
Easton Hall, Room 231
Dr. Peter Siskind, Dept. Chair