Meet a Peace Studies Major


Kathleen White ’14

Extra-curricular activities: 

  • JustPeace
  • L.O.V.E.
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Campus Ministry & Social Action
  • Center for Academic Success

Why did you choose your major? 

I chose to major in Peace Studies because I have always been interested in human rights and social justice and wanted to take this passion further. Peace Studies has given me that academic opportunity to explore issues of war, injustice, genocide and violence and work towards finding solutions.

What has been your favorite class? 

One of my favorite classes was Introduction to Peace Studies (PEAC 201) because it was an elective that I took before declaring my major and it convinced me that Peace Studies was the right major for me. This intro class explored the nature, scope, and methodology of Peace Studies while also looking into some contemporary issues of the field. It demonstrated to me how diverse Peace Studies can be and how necessary it is as an academic field. I recommend students of all majors take this class as an elective!

Have you done any internships or major research projects?

During the spring 2013 semester, I was privileged to work in the archives and research the history of the Peace Studies department for the Pacem in Terris library exhibit. For this project, I worked in the archives and pieced together the history of the department and put together a visual and textual exhibit. This exhibit was displayed in the library so others can learn about the birth, history, and legacy of the Manhattan College Peace Studies department. It was an interesting research opportunity to learn more about my major and apply archival skills I learned from my double major of history.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I hope to work in the research and strategy department of a nonprofit or human rights organization. I also hope to work doing international service and field work, and eventually work towards a master’s and Ph.D. in human rights.

What are the faculty like?

The faculty members are wonderful, they are a very outgoing group of individuals and are always willing to help their students. As an interdisciplinary major, I have the opportunity to work with faculty members of multiple departments who share the same passion for peace and justice. This has been exciting for me to learn about human rights and social justice from many different perspectives.

What’s your favorite thing about this major?

My favorite thing about my Peace Studies major is that it has proved to me that people who are conscious about the world around them can make a difference. Although I have learned it is not an easy task, I have been privileged to meet so many amazing people who share the same passions that have taught me peace and justice are possible.

What’s the most difficult thing about this major?

The most difficult part about my major has been learning about all the situations and places in the world where peace and justice do not exist and human rights fall short. Sometimes it is easy to get discouraged because many people do not realize the importance of working towards peace and social justice, but these difficulties have only fueled my passions and pushed me to work harder.

What advice would you give to new students trying to select a major?

Choose a major you love — it makes all the hard work worth it. Also, if you are not sure what major to choose, talk to different professors and your advisers. Don’t just choose a major you are unhappy with because you think it will be easy or get you a job — in the long run you will be unhappy with your classes and yourself. Always choose something you have passion for!