Hannah Rudkin (Social Work) works on a voter registration app on a tablet during a voter registration drive by School of Social Work and Justice and Peace Studies students on October 13, 2016, in the O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center. Photo by Mark Brown.

Senior Strides: Hannah Rudkin

Congratulations to the University of St. Thomas Class of 2017! As part of the university-wide celebration of its departing seniors, the Newsroom will feature the stories of seniors and their plans for after graduation. We kick off the series with senior Hannah Rudkin, a social work major with a Spanish minor, who plans to put both areas of her study to use as full-time international volunteer at NPH Mexico.

Position title: Librarian/caregiver

Job responsibilities: Rudkin will live and work with orphaned and abandoned children. She will be responsible for overseeing the library and keeping it organized, and also will develop reading programs and literacy activities for the kids. Her goal: Teach children the value of reading and increase the amount of reading overall in the home. As a caregiver, she will assist children with their homework and plan their evening and weekend activities.

When she got hired: Mid-March

Research and/or extracurricular activities at St. Thomas: Interned in social work at Waite House, and in community engagement and programs at Friends for a NonViolent World; studied abroad in Granada, Spain (semester), J-Terms in Rome and Merida, Mexico; member of Beta Epsilon chapter of Phi Alpha (social work honor society), Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish honor society), Students for Justice and Peace, Friends of the Orphans Club (NPH), and Spanish Club; worked part time at Tommie Shop and St. Thomas Campus Store.

Most influential teacher at St. Thomas: Dr. Katharine Hill. "I have taken three of my social work classes with her and I have loved them all," Rudkin said. "I took the introduction to social work course with her my sophomore year and decided it was the right major for me. Her Social Policy for Social Change class inspired me to get more involved in public policy and increased my passion for social justice."

How did St. Thomas prepare you to land a job right away?

"My liberal arts education at St. Thomas encouraged me to take classes I never expected. I think that my classes and study abroad opportunities allowed me to explore a variety of areas of study. Thanks to these experiences I was able to choose what path I wanted to take after graduation."

Do you plan to continue your education?

"Yes, I plan to go to graduate school eventually. I will probably get my Master of Social Work, possibly a dual degree with Master of Public Policy or a Master of International Development."

What will you miss most about being a student at St. Thomas?

"I will miss the opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers and influential people. I am appreciative of all the talks and lectures at my disposal as a student here."

Could you tell me about how this volunteer position fits with the direction you see your career taking and if anyone at St. Thomas helped connect you with this opportunity?

"I first learned about NPH through Friends of the Orphans at St. Thomas that sponsors the organization by raising funds and awareness. Volunteering for a year in Mexico will allow me to become fluent in Spanish. That way, when I return to the United States I will feel confident enough in my language skills to apply for jobs that require the ability to speak Spanish. I think I want to work with immigrants and refugees, so my knowledge of a second language will be helpful. I also am interested in international social work and this volunteer opportunity will be a great experience."