Politics is a touchy subject considered by many to be ruthless, corrupt and, often, best avoided.
Allison Perry, on the other hand, has learned to see politics not only as redeemable, but as a means of demonstrating the love and justice of Christ to others.
“I've come face to face with what it means to be a Christian in the political sphere in every single political science class I have taken,” says Allison. “Christian morals and values are discussed in class, and the approach to politics is taken from a Christ-centered vantage point. The classes are meant to show students how to grapple with questions of being a Christian and interacting in a fallen government system.”
Stemming from her love for people, Allison declared a psychology major when she enrolled as a freshman with the intention of becoming a high-school guidance counselor. But after only one semester, she felt called in another direction. With counsel and support from the faculty in both departments, Allison switched from psychology to political science and hasn't been quite the same since doing so.
“Geneva’s program is amazing because the classes are large enough that there are opportunities for hands-on activities outside of class, like working for political campaigns in the surrounding area or trips to Washington, D.C.,” she says. “However, the classes are also small enough that it’s possible to have in-depth discussion of the material in class.”
Allison has experienced this hands-on approach in her own education by working on a Pennsylvania senator’s re-election campaign and critiquing child welfare policy in Beaver County. She has also recently added studying abroad to that list.
Allison spent the fall semester of her senior year in Cairo, Egypt, through Geneva’s Middle East Studies Program. The program built upon the foundation laid by her classes dealing with U.S. foreign and public policy, as well as her independent study classes specializing in human rights. While there, she took classes in Arabic, Islamic Thought and Practice, Conflict and Change in the Middle East, and Peoples and Cultures in the Middle East—and also completed service projects with the people of Cairo.
The experience in a country with a political history and makeup so disparate from those of the United States also gave Allison the opportunity to apply the Christian perspective taught in her classes.
“There are many viewpoints as to how to interact with, approach and run government,” says Allison. “I have been privileged to truly discuss, and not argue, with other students and faculty members what it means to be a Christian and to work and interact with democratic and non-democratic government structures.”
For Allison, politics is more than government systems, corrupt candidates and tactless mudslinging – and her study of political science is responsible for who she is today.
“I have been changed not only in the direction I saw myself going, but also in how I approach relationships with other people,” she says. “I've been taught, above anything else, what it means to truly love and care about others.”
- by Brooke Prokopchak ('08)
Psychology students present work at regional conferences annually.