Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Jane Gelb

Local meets global: I’ve cultivated an interest in social activism and politics through my coursework in North American and Latin American sociopolitical issues. My experiential learning-based study abroad program in Buenos Aires, Argentina, focused on social movements and human rights. I went to Northern Argentina to teach human rights to young children and to Patagonia to study indigenous land rights. In Buenos Aires, I studied its history as well as contemporary responses to injustices of the past.

Community matters: Seeing the prevalence of ethical consumption throughout Argentina, I conducted three case studies on fair trade stores in Buenos Aires. I found that many customers were both conscious of the stores’ market goals and interested in forging closer relationships with the stores’ vendors and producers. This research led to my Sociology thesis, which focused on how American self-identified ethical consumers define the meaning of ethics and its purpose in consumption.

Continuing education: I developing my thesis by working with my thesis advisor and my senior seminar classmates. We met weekly as a class, and biweekly individually, to guide each of us through the writing process. Working on something that I’m passionate about has laid the groundwork for future inquiries and career goals. I’m considering pursuing an MBA in Social Entrepreneurship, because I’m interested in businesses that use the for-profit model to reap results for social causes or fair trade relationships.

Campus change-maker: My role as Student Government Association’s Programming Council Chair is a dual one. I am responsible for overseeing the Council, planning campus-wide events throughout the year, and managing the Council’s budget. I’m also required to be a non-voting member of the SGA Senate and sit on the Executive Board. I’ve loved working with motivated young people and developing my own skills, such as organization, efficiency, and balance.

Leading from within: Being a campus leader has been incredibly rewarding and a great culmination of my Wheaton experience. I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I work in both group and independent settings. I believe the ability to work with and manage a team, manage a budget, plan large-scale events, and be an active leader will be most applicable to my future career.