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Students choose post-grad service

Amanda Gray | Friday, May 14, 2010

Graduating senior Beth Neiman said the opportunity to volunteer after graduation just fell into her lap.

“I heard about Americorps through the [Center for Social Concerns],” Neiman said. “I’ll be teaching at an Indian reservation.”

Neiman is one of about 10 percent of seniors going into the volunteer force upon graduation and one of five Notre Dame students who will be teaching on the same reservation.

“This year-long program will give me time to decide what to do,” Neiman said.
Neiman said she hopes the time she will spend volunteering will teach her life lessons.

“This volunteering isn’t really in my field, but it will teach me good life skills,” Neiman said. “I’ll be more able to understand life.”

She said the Center for Social Concerns (CSC) aided her search for a volunteering spot.
“The CSC is so helpful in sending out lists. I applied to many different things,” Neiman said. “It was a lot of trial and error.”

Michael Hebbeler, director of Senior Transitions at the CSC, said volunteer service can be beneficial because it is a way to learn more about the world before pursuing a more permanent career path.

“Some students are pretty set on medical school, but they want to do some pretty meaningful work for a year, or they want to gain some sense of focus or direction with their work,” he said.

Hebbeler said he sees volunteer service as in agreement with Notre Dame’s mission statement.

“In the mission statement, there’s that line about service becoming learning and justice. We’re looking toward building a just world. This is a very hands-on, concrete way of doing it,” Hebbler said.

Senior Mary Kate Battle said she wants to go into international development, and her service work at Farm of the Child in Trujillo, Honduras will help.

“I wanted to do service before graduate school, not as a break, but as giving back,” Battle said. “The best way to do a job in [international development] is to do service in it.”
Battle said the Notre Dame atmosphere fosters a call to service.

“Notre Dame is educating the mind in the classroom and the heart through loving service,” Battle said.