Class of 2022
When I started at Marquette as a first-generation, Latina student, I knew I wanted to use my education to explore issues, such as U.S. immigration policy, that have affected my family and me. Before I finished my first semester, I had already declared a Peace Studies major and participated in the Center's immersion trip to the U.S.-Mexico border.
That was just the start. As a sophomore, I received a summer fellowship to practice being an ally to Indigenous communities engaged in healing, resisting colonialism, and struggling for sovereignty in Manitoba, Canada. Now, as a junior, I am responsible for organizing virtual gatherings where students come together to learn about nonviolence and build community during the pandemic.
I am grateful to the Center for Peacemaking for providing me a safe space to learn and opportunities to grow as a leader, student activist, and peacemaker.
Class of 2021
My experience at Marquette changed the day I discovered the Center for Peacemaking. I was immediately captivated by the different peace strategies and wanted to learn more about addressing structural violence.
Within a week, I declared a Peace Studies major. A few months later, I applied for a summer fellowship to intern with the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America.
At the height of feared plans for mass deportations in the city of Chicago, I worked in the field with community advocacy groups and sat in on meetings with Chicago's legislature to advocate for the welcoming city ordinance. This was especially important to me as the daughter of immigrants and a life-long advocate for migrant rights.
Overall, my engagement with the Center for Peacemaking has been as rewarding as it has been meaningful. The fellowship helped me develop an understanding of nonviolence, community advocacy, and diplomacy; while the major engages me intellectually and speaks to my lived experience.
I'm so grateful to have found a niche where I am thriving as a student and can use my privilege and position to promote human dignity.
Class of 2019
My first involvement with the Center for Peacemaking was with the PARC research team. I worked with a professor to analyse the relationship between evictions and criminal activity in Milwaukee. Through this project, it became clear to me how critiques of social institutions can lead to policy changes in our society.
This experience led me to apply for a summer peacemaking fellowship to design my own independent research project. Last summer I examined the impact of evictions on maintaining gender inequality in Milwaukee. I began to see how the research I was in engaged in gave voice to populations that are generally underrepresented.
This October, I was asked to lead a team of my peers during Domestic Violence Awareness month. We organized several events and distributed resources throughout the Near West Side on domestic violence and sexual assault.
The resources and opportunities I have gained from the Center for Peacemaking over the last three years have prepared me well for engaging in research that influences policy and social equity. Thank you for influencing my career path and helping shape how I want to live my life.
Class of 2019
Peace Works has given me a unique opportunity that I would not have had anywhere else. For three years, I've taught skills in conflict resolution and nonviolence to elementary and middle school students. This experience has solidified my love for teaching and shaped my passion to make a difference in urban settings.
I feel honored to have been a part of teaching important lessons to these students. And I know that without Peace Works, many of them would never learn these skills and lessons.
Some of the lessons are simple, like using "I" statements and expressing gratitude. It has also be humbling for me to help 5th grade girls understand the difference between empathy and sympathy, or to help 4th grade students learn how to communicate with people who have different perspectives in life.
As I get ready for graduation, I know that my experience with Peace Works is one of the reasons why I am so prepared to be a teacher next year. I am so grateful for these experiences that have shaped my values and my time at Marquette. You have helped me become the person I am today. For that, I am forever grateful.
Class of 2017
As I get ready for my impending post-graduation move to Washington, D.C., I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for making my experiences with the Center for Peacemaking possible.
I first came to the Center two years ago to work as a Research Assistant for the Promoting Assets and Reducing Crime (PARC) initiative. Through PARC, I learned how civic engagement can reduce violence in communities. It also encouraged me to explore my interests in human rights and social justice, leading me to switch to a Peace Studies minor.
Earlier this semester I participated in the SOA-W Border Convergence in Nogales, Arizona. This experience opened my eyes to how I could pursue a career dedicated to promoting human dignity. I am proud to share the next step in my journey is staring my Masters in Public Policy to focus on promoting human rights and immigrant rights through law and policy.
The Center for Peacemaking helped me discern how to act on these passions. Without these experiences, I would not have even dreamt of pursuing my passions in the way I am today.
Class of 2014
I just wanted to express the gratitude I have for all of you and your commitment to the Center for Peacemaking.
I still remember going to my first Soup with Substance event during my freshman year and feeling so overwhelmed that there was a place on campus that not only asks the same kind of questions I ask, but also moves beyond dialogue and into action.
Then you went even further and provided the means with which I was able to pursue my own interests and develop my own passions in our ever-changing world. From going to Columbus, Georgia for the SOA-W vigil to attending the Soup with Substance lunchtime speaker series and ultimately to my amazing opportunity with the Szymzak peacemaking fellowship, I feel blessed to have been able to live an authentic life in college.
Finally, you provided me with the questions and tools to shape my life around peacemaking and my gratitude cannot be overstated. I know that my life at Marquette would have lacked so much without the Center's presence. You have changed my life—forever.