Non-traditional student discovers new personal potential and develops larger goals
Earning a degree in political science all started with a Moms of Preschoolers meeting. Political Science major Wendy Gallagher '14, who was employed at an oil refinery and was helping to run the group, was asked to facilitate a discussion on human trafficking and, in the process, found a new direction for her life.
“I made the decision that I need to do something about this,” Wendy recalls.
After the refinery closed its doors, Wendy decided to pursue her growing interest in women’s issues and human trafficking by returning to school. Once at Arcadia, she felt the best way to become a part of the University community would be to “jump in with two feet rather than one.”
Wendy not only joined the political science and international studies honors societies, she also found her niche in the Honors Program, organizing a forum on human trafficking as her personalized Honors Project. In fall 2013, Wendy presented her work with the Polaris Project and the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women at the annual National Collegiate Honors Council conference in New Orleans.
In addition to her work with human trafficking, Wendy took Arcadia’s Model United Nations course, instructed by Dr. Angela Kachuyevski. Students in the course learned about how the U.N. functions and then travelled to the national conference, where they worked as a team to represent the country of India. For Wendy, the experience was eye-opening, broadening her narrow conception of foreign relations. One of the most exciting aspects of the conference was the opportunity to sit on a committee discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where she applied her previous experience with women’s issues in the conversation.
“Before coming to Arcadia, I would not have thought about maybe going into a career with the U.N. or an embassy,” Wendy acknowledged. “Arcadia has helped me build my confidence to where I believe my goals can be met.”
Through courses like Model United Nations and participation in the Honors Program, Wendy has cultivated skills in public speaking, research, and writing, which she hopes will prepare her for the Foreign Service Exam and a dream career with the State Department or the United Nations. “I have built on the thoughts and ideas that I had when I came here,” Wendy attests. “They’ve expanded to include perspectives that I wouldn’t have thought of before. And I think that is one of the most wonderful things because your whole world is becoming larger.”