Meet Our Office Staff - Gillian Sharkey
Gillian Sharkey has been the director of civic engagement since August 2015. In just 3 years, Gillian has heavily impacted the Moravian College community through her dedication to students and undying passion for community service.
All of the skills students are learning through community service are all of the skills potential employers are looking for. Gillian’s responsibility as a director for this department is to open up opportunities for students so they can get as much hands on experience as they can, before they start moving into internships/externships resume building. Volunteering helps students discover what they like and what they don't like, which helps them align all of those skills with what they hope their future career goal is. Civic engagement and career building are closely tied together and directly correlate with one another.
The volunteering events that help student shape their path include programs like the 1742 Experience, America Reads, Alternative Break Trips, and Staycation. Students apply for these programs and go out into the community to serve, while developing a deeper understanding of what it means to be well-rounded and selfless.
An annual service event at Moravian College is Heritage Day. This day of service took place on September 20 and to allow everyone participate, Moravian College cancelled a day of classes and closed offices. Approximately 1,271 volunteers racked up 2,540 hours of service in over 40 sites in celebration of this year’s Heritage Day. Last year there were 27 sites, approximately 1,000 volunteers, and 2,390 hours of service. It is safe to say that Heritage Day has grown in prominence and impact in the local community.
“If I don’t offer opportunities that are diverse and push guardrails and allow people to experience what they don’t normally seek out, how would they know about it, how are they gonna do it? You don’t know what you don’t know.”
Gillian’s previous experiences with education and community services traces back to her senior year of College at Temple University, when she landed a work study position through the non-profit organization Americorps. She worked with kids in an under resourced school in North Philadelphia. “I felt a true pull in my soul to give back and to do service and I had never felt that before,” Gillian states, “That was the first step and Americorps was kind of shaping my path.”
From there, she went from being a Kindergarten teacher, a community service director back at Temple, and then working for a non-profit in New York City, practicing her passion.
“The piece that was always missing was directly working with students. It was how inspired I was by seeing the power of service within college students and what it can truly do, seeing what’s in the shadows of your community, and how to be agents of the community and contribute to the greater good, is what inspired me and influenced me to where I am now.”
It is vital for students, especially first-year students, be aware of the resources available. One of the biggest resources that The Center has is experiential hands on learning outside of the classroom. The primary job of staff in this office is to provide resources, activities, and experiences for students who are fulfilling what they need to do outside of the classroom to have well-rounded and robust resumé.