Futures in Peacebuilding and Social Work

The Department of Applied Social Sciences at EMU prepares graduates for the diverse fields of peacebuilding, sustainable development, and social work.

Here are a few examples of what recent graduates are doing:

2011 Peacebuilding and Developments graduates Jessica Sarriot and Larisa Zehr are spending two years in Colombia through Seed, a program of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). Jessica is working in the city of Medellin developing peacebuilding capacity in a network of churches as well as accompanying an association of displaced persons. Larisa is accompanying a rural community that has been displaced by the armed conflict and collaborating on projects related to food security and community development, including documentation of experiences and history, a community garden, and peacebuilding trainings.

Isabel Castillo is a 2007 graduate of the Social Work program. In May 2011 Isabel was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of San Francisco in honor of her advocacy for undocumented immigrants. Isabel openly shares her family’s story and her own undocumented status as a compelling witness for legislative reform. In September of 2011 Isabel and several other activists were arrested in North Carolina while they were demonstrating against anti-immigration laws; she was released after two days. Isabel currently travels across the country as a speaker and activist, addressing a wide variety of schools, churches, and civic organizations in an effort to raise awareness about young undocumented immigrants.

Maria Bowman and her students display fresh radishes. Maria Bowman, a 2009 Justice, Peace, & Conflict Studies minor, is an Edible Schoolyard Garden Educator through Grow Pittsburgh, a program funded by AmeriCorps. She teaches weekly classes to second and third grade classrooms that explore concepts of growing and harvesting food, the nutritional benefits of eating locally, and cooking classes throughout the school year.

After graduating as a Justice, Peace & Conflict Studies major in 2010, Jenny Hochstetler Spicher spent time improving her Spanish through the CASAS program in Guatemala. After returning, Jenny began an internship at the Fairfield Center in Harrisonburg, Virginia. There she gained practical experience in mediation case management and also completed the training necessary to become a mediator herself. Jenny is currently working as the part-time Case Manager at Neighborhood Dispute Settlement (NDS) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.