Meet a Labor Studies Major


Daphne Marcelin ’13

Extra-curricular activities: 

  • Sociological Society of Manhattan College
  • Steppers

Why did you choose your major? 

I chose the labor studies major because it deals a lot with treating workers fairly. I believe in justice, human rights and equal rights in and outside of the workplace. All of these attributes made me a perfect fit for this major. I want to make a change in the world and by majoring in labor studies, I knew that I could affect many lives.

What has been your favorite class? 

Labor Studies Colloquium (LABR 201) because this class introduced me to the labor movement and had the most vibrant guest speakers that I have ever met. It opened my eyes to the reality of what goes on in the workplace. We read a book called Triangle: The Fire That Changed America, and reading this book brought me closer to the victims of the story who perished in a factory fire. I imagined how rough the working conditions were for those young girls, and it made me think about the injustices that still occur in the world today.

Have you done any internships?

I did an internship with UniteHere Local 100 as an organizer and it was amazing. I learned the many roles of the union and how it functions. I worked in New York City, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., to be a part of delegations, committee meetings, new organizing and rallies. There were hot and rainy days, but being able to work on a team with people that are enduring the same things that I was made it all worth while.

What are your plans after graduation?

After I graduate, I hope to go on to graduate school for labor relations and get a job in labor law, social work or as a government worker. My options are endless with this major.

What are the faculty like?

Dr. Joseph Fahey is my faculty adviser and he is the best. He is understanding, intelligent and experienced. I remember going into his office really riled up after reading a passage in Triangle: The Fire That Changed America. I was feeling extremely angry and all he could say was Great! You should be feeling this way.” To me, that feeling of anger is what a true labor studies major feels when they hear about the corruption and injustice in the world. Dr. Fahey supported my feelings and encouraged me to act on them. He will get you where you want to go in life and always support you in your endeavors.

What’s your favorite thing about this major?

My favorite thing about being a labor studies major is the connections that I have made. There are not many labor studies majors at Manhattan College, and other colleges and corporations want labor studies majors because we are one of a kind. This major has put life into a new perspective. It has made me see that things can change and there is hope for a better future.

What’s the most difficult thing about this major?

The most difficult thing about my major is realizing that no matter how many people you try to help through the labor movement, you cannot help everyone and not everyone wants to be helped.

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

The advice that I would give to new students choosing a major is that if you care about people, no matter what age, race or gender, choose labor studies. This major coincides with many other majors, where you can graduate with a double major. As a labor studies major, you will see the world from its core and work toward a better future through the labor movement.