The Liberal Arts Advantage
Stephen Stoddard ’16
Environmental policy & economics major gains nonprofit know-how
Like many nonprofits, Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley (Habitat LV) relies on the talents of staff members who wear many hats. And as Stephen Stoddard '16 learned, it can be the perfect place to use a liberal arts education to its full advantage.
Familiarizing himself with the fundraising efforts of Habitat LV required Stoddard to not only employ what he learned within his environmental policy and economics major, but also the writing skills he developed through all of his courses.
Among his many responsibilities, Stoddard spent much of his internship in Habitat LV’s development office writing grants to support home building and repair programs.
“Without the liberal arts education Moravian provided me, I do not feel as if I could have adapted so quickly to writing and researching about these various topics,” Stoddard says. “Furthermore, without the strong writing background I gained from in the classroom, the ability to translate the mission of Habitat LV and its correlation to other organizations offering funding opportunities would have been missed.”
Stoddard says that because his courses were interdisciplinary he could easily identify the interconnections between concepts such as healthy homes and the impact on low-income families.
“In drawing these connections, my internship added significant value to my education, as well as allowed me to further develop myself as a professional in the workforce.”
“My internship with Habitat LV allowed me to try different things and challenge myself to go for and strive for new opportunities.” — Stephen Stoddard '16
In addition to grant writing, Stoddard also stretched his skills by analyzing the cost savings of using environmentally-friendly home construction products and the impact of using LEED certified building standards, assisting with special event planning, and producing marketing and development materials.
“My internship with Habitat LV allowed me to try different things and challenge myself to go for and strive for new opportunities,” Stoddard says.
His time spent at Habitat LV opened his eyes to how a nonprofit operates and its value in the community, but more importantly to the personal satisfaction that comes from helping others, he says.
“Through this internship, it helped me to realize how much I enjoy serving others, and how important it is for me to have a career where I can help people achieve their dreams and make their lives better.”
Stoddard hopes to continue to make a meaningful impact within his community and beyond. He’s considering pursuing a master’s degree in environmental policy design, working for a nonprofit or government agency at the national level, and—perhaps one day—at the international level within the United Nations.