Many recent peace studies graduates, like Erin Hivner, spend a year or two volunteering with programs such as the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Catholic Relief Services, or other religiously affiliated programs. Christopher Albanese, a classmate of Hivner's who graduated from ODU in 2009, is also a member of AmeriCorps VISTA, serving as community and faith relations coordinator for Honolulu Habitat for Humanity.
The transition from classroom to full-time work can be challenging, as Albanese has experienced. "I was just so excited to have learned such amazing material from such amazing professors that I hoped I could use every bit of it to save the world," Albanese says with a laugh. "Fortunately, being able to think critically and closely with a wide lens, two aspects of a liberal arts education, helps me in my job at Habitat for Humanity."
Albanese knows he wants to return to graduate school when his AmeriCorps term is done, and he knows he still has a lot to learn about social justice and social change. "I could not have seen myself studying anything else," he says. "This field has changed the way I look at, think, and feel about the world."
This article appeared in the March 2010 issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. 75, No. 3, pages 12-17).