An update from Jessica, who graduated with a degree in human rights in May:

During spring 2013, I completed the vast majority of my service hours at Mosaic Family Services. It’s a domestic violence and human trafficking shelter for women and children. I came to volunteer at the shelter through Dr. Halperin’s Human Rights class, where it is required that we do 20 hours of community service. I chose to volunteer at Mosaic because I am interested in working in women and children’s issues, in particular human trafficking with an emphasis on child sex trafficking.

I came to learn about these issues my freshman year of high school when I read a book about the horrors of child sex trafficking. This would go on to influence my chosen career path to work for nonprofits and NGOs in children’s issues. It would also influence my decision to come to SMU because it was the only school I looked at that had a human rights program that would tie in well with my chosen majors of political science and international studies.

My experience at Mosaic served to reinforce my conviction that I had chosen the right field to work in by having the opportunity to interact with some of these women and children. In regards to my career objectives, it personalizes just what it is I will be working to eradicate once and for all and puts a face on an issue that does not get enough attention, in my opinion.

My service at Mosaic has impacted my experience at SMU by personalizing what it means to serve your community. People can perform community service in a variety of ways, but it doesn’t necessarily have any meaning or connection for them. That was the exact opposite of my experience at Mosaic. Additionally, by serving at Mosaic, it reinforced a notion that SMU is striving to make an important part of the student’s experience: using service to connect students to the community. Serving at Mosaic and other agencies throughout Dallas localizes issues that we would like to think only happen everywhere else but here: “Out of sight, out of mind,” but injustice happens everywhere, even in our own back yards.