Story in the College of Arts & Sciences
Vanessa DiCarlo '08
Religious Studies major
Through the Arrupe Center, alumna grasps the importance of community-based learning as elementary school volunteer.
The favorite part of Vanessa DiCarlo’s education came from working with younger students. Through the University’s community-based learning programs, the Arrupe Center intern worked as an elementary school volunteer, an academic counselor at a summer enrichment program for children, an early childhood education assistant, and an after-school tutor in San Jose.
“Through these experiences I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude from and for the community,” she says. “I think it is absolutely necessary for a well-rounded education that students go outside of the classroom.”
DiCarlo adds that what’s most meaningful to her is developing personal connections with people. “It is through conversations with people I meet in the community that I gain the most insight,” she says. “Santa Clara made these types of experiences extremely accessible and offered students countless opportunities to work in local neighborhoods.”
DiCarlo, a religious studies major and sociology minor, says the experiences in the community gave her the determination to work toward “lasting change” after graduation.
After her graduation from SCU, DiCarlo went to the University of Massachusetts, Boston for her master’s where she was introduced to the Collaborative Institute for Oceans, Climate, and Security. Through this institute, which raises awareness and fights for the stabilization of our atmosphere, ecosystems, and overall global human security, she continues to lend a hand to local communities.
DiCarlo’s years at SCU really cemented her understanding of promoting lasting change socially and, now, environmentally. “My Santa Clara education reinforced the need for each person to be a mindful global citizen and to go confidently into the world to work on behalf of others.”
DiCarlo is expecting a master’s in Conflict Resolution, Human Security and Global Governance.
She has also given to the Santa Clara fund in 2010 and to the Special Assistance Fund in 2009.