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Catholic Studies Enables Student to Think Globally  

Lindsay Smetanka"The Catholic Studies program has always supported my endeavors and has been an asset to me throughout my college career. The program helped me achieve the confidence and experiences to succeed in my internships." — Lindsay Smetanka

Many Seton Hall students decide to supplement their primary majors with a minor in Catholic Studies. Lindsay Smetanka is one of these students. Lindsay is a senior at Seton Hall, majoring in Diplomacy and International Relations with minors in Arabic and Catholic Studies.

She most recently interned at International Crisis Group in New York City, in Government and Foundation Relations. International Crisis Group is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict. Through field analysis, field advocacy, and policy suggestions, Crisis Group directly handles crisis and educates decision makers on future steps to resolve conflict happening throughout the world.

Her day-to-day activities included tracking grant obligation outputs (advocacy meetings, reports, and briefings), working on database management projects, engaging with donors, and researching donor prospects. One part she enjoyed was the advancing of the Crisis Group's monitoring and evaluation method to accurately measure the impact that the NGO's outputs have in the international system, especially in areas experiencing crisis. With the rise of social media and technology, international NGO's need to advance as well by using these methods to track who is viewing their content, where and if it is making the impact originally proposed, and how to improve engagement with donors and stakeholders.

Lindsay states: "My coursework prepared me to think critically, write concise briefs, and meet deadlines. Combining a Catholic Studies minor with Diplomacy and International Relations immensely benefited my learning process at Seton Hall. Through the Catholic Studies program, I was able to travel to Italy, visit the Vatican, take courses like Modern Ireland that were relevant to my major, and strengthen my understanding of the Catholic Church on a global level."

"Religion is a huge component in international relations. Similar to culture and politics, religion plays a role in interstate and intrastate conflict, dialogue, and diplomacy. Religious leaders like Pope Francis are instrumental in shaping transovereign policies concerning climate change, immigration, and diplomatic relationships. Religious NGOs like Catholic Relief Services serve a global population. As a young Catholic woman and student of Catholic Studies, I have a unique lens in which I view the international system. It is important for students of international relations and diplomacy to understand the international system through multiple lenses, especially religious ones."

"As an Arabic Studies minor, I studied abroad in Morocco. Through this experience, I increased my knowledge on the Islamic religion and North African politics. I was able to volunteer at an At-Risk Youth Center in Meknes, Morocco, and teach English through music and art. Although I was in a location that seemed far away from the Catholic Church, I was able to attend mass in French every Sunday at one of the 20 Catholic churches in the country. This experience reinforced my confidence in my Catholic Studies minor because the Catholic Church is truly a global institution. I was able to learn about Islam while also continuing my Catholic identity, which is important in today's polarized global climate. The Catholic Studies program has always supported my endeavors and has been an asset to me throughout my college career. The program helped me achieve the confidence and experiences to succeed at my current and previous internships."

"I believe that my Crisis Group internship assisted in my goal to obtain a position in a non-profit as a development officer or program assistant after graduation. Many jobs in the field require applicants to have experience with prospect research, Raiser's Edge, donor engagement, and project management – all of the skills that I gained at Crisis Group. Even if I am not working for an exclusively Catholic NGO, the skills and experience that I gained from the Catholic Studies program at Seton Hall University will help me in my future career."

The Catholic Studies program is celebrating its 20th anniversary as an integral part of the College of Arts and Sciences, offering a B.A., minor and certificate through the College. The degree is an interdisciplinary, liberal arts, and integrated learning degree with special tracks in social sciences, education, nursing, history, literature, religion, philosophy and theology.

Categories: Faith and Service , Nation and World

For more information, please contact:

  • Gloria Aroneo
  • (973) 275-2808