Senior Spotlight: Jacqueline Melvin, a Passion for Social Welfare

By Alice Horner

“When my parents dropped me off my freshman year, I remember thinking to myself ‘uh-oh, what did I get myself into?’” said Jacqueline Melvin, who now graduates with several accomplishments and experiences under her belt.

An outstanding student of sociology, Melvin started the Students Against Human Trafficking Chapter at WC. Her passion for studying human trafficking turned into a senior thesis, which explores the difficulty in identifying American children who are sex trafficking victims. “The most difficult part of writing my thesis was accepting constructive criticism from my advisor,” Melvin said. “At times, the criticism was definitely a blow to my ego but I learned to accept it and realize it was necessary in making my thesis the best it could be.”

Despite the challenges, Melvin is extremely satisfied with her college experience. “I met some of my best friends, had memorable conversations with professors, became inspired by countless lectures, participated in student organizations, began a club, interned at some great agencies, and went to a different country,” she said.

Melvin participated in the Tanzania Summer Seminar, an activity she deems her greatest accomplishment at WC. “The opportunities and experiences I had while there are worth more than words can explain,” said Melvin.

She also gained substantial experience in the area of social welfare, and found immense motivation and encouragement in Professor Almon Barrell. “Professor Barrell has been so inspirational to me while pursuing my concentration in social welfare. I could not have asked for a better mentor not only in the topic of social welfare, but also in life in general. His stories, lessons, and advice are ones that I will share with others throughout my life,” she said.

Melvin found a support system at WC  through the Sociology department. “It is so hard to just pick one professor because I have had some great professors during my four years here,” Melvin said. “All of the Sociology professors have provided me a wonderful support system for which I am very grateful.”

After graduation, Jacqueline is moving back to her hometown near Annapolis, MD and is applying for various positions at non-profit and government agencies that provide victim services.

Through relationships with students and professors, Melvin learned a valuable lesson. “It is pretty simple- follow your passion. If you do not follow your dreams, you will not be living up to your fullest potential. You only have one life to live so make sure you are happy with what you are doing. Happiness is a very good thing.”

May 6, 2011
Volume LXXXI Issue 25

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