Service Learning

Through Emmanuel’s service-learning program, you’ll enrich your academic experiences by applying concepts you learn in the classroom to meaningful, interactive and hands-on projects off-campus. As you support and empower people and communities in Boston and around the world, you’ll see firsthand how the knowledge gained in the classroom, can create and enact positive change.

A sampling of service-learning courses available at the College include:  


The Great American Experiment
This course is a comprehensive overview of the historical, philosophical and societal foundations of American education. Issues of race, class, gender, sexual orientation and learning differences are highlighted within the context of the positive and negative impact the schools have on society.  

Explorations in Science and Engineering: Grades 1-6
The course develops the knowledge, skills and dispositions to introduce the practices and habits of mind characteristic of sci­entific inquiry and the engineering design process into the elementary classroom. The course meets standards for teacher prepa­ration articulated by the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks and the National Science Education Standards. Topics include children's ideas in science, the nature of children's science learning and the implica­tions for teaching.  

Political Science  

Public Policy, the Law and Psychology
Public policy and the law affect, and are affected by, many disciplines, with psychol­ogy playing an increasingly prominent role in the legal system. One cannot truly under­stand psychology, the law, or public policy in the United States without understanding the interrelationships of these three realms of knowledge and practice. This course will explore the evolving interactions at the theoretical and practical level among psychology, law and public policy. This is a service-learning course, which requires two to three hours per week devoted to working at an appropriate site.  

Food Policy and Social Justice 
This course will explore food policy as an issue of social justice. Politics involves conflict over scarce resources. How these resources are allocated and to what programs reveal the values of those making the decisions. Food policy and social justice will be explored through the political, economic, and social concerns of food production and consumption in the United States, and its extension throughout the globe. Students will assess policy issues such as immigration, trade, the agro-industrial complex, labor, poverty, public health, and government initiatives to promote healthier and more nutritious diets. In addition to a comprehensive research paper, this course will include an experiential education component that will take students out of the classroom and into the community to explore how all aspects of food policy affects people's everyday lives.


Seminar: Psychology of Women
The experiences of women, both as a group and as unique individuals, are an important focus of research by psychologists today. In this service-learning course, students will examine critical issues in the field (e.g., gender roles, body image, violence against women), integrate research with applied resources and service in the Boston area, and develop educational programs on these issues for adolescent girls. Classic and contemporary research will guide dialogues about specific issues women and girls face as a group. Examining Boston's resources (e.g., shelters) will allow students to study how theoretical and empirical research is applied to real-world situations and affects real indi­viduals. Finally, students will work with small groups of adolescent girls to develop resources and programs that will ultimately benefit them and their peers. The work accomplished in this service-learning seminar will reflect the core mission of social awareness and social justice.  


Catholic Social Teaching
This course will provide an introduction to over 100 years of Catholic social teach­ing, using papal encyclicals, and pastoral letters from the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops primarily. Analysis of the doc­uments and critiques of the teachings will also be used. Each of the documents will be grounded in its sociological, political, economic and religious context. A ser­vice-learning component will be included in the course introducing students to service to people in poverty in the Boston area. The mission of national and international Catholic social justice organizations will also be highlighted.  

Community Action Research Seminar
The course will move students from the world of academic research to the world of applied research by utilizing the skills students have learned in “Methods of Social Research” and either “Quantitative Research” or “Qualitative Research” and applying them to a real-world problem. Students will work in groups and be paired with a local community organization to help the organization identify a problem or question of interest. Students will then determine the best methodology to tackle the question, collect and analyze data, and present the findings in both a formal oral presentation to the organization’s staff, as well as produce a substantial research report. Particular attention will be paid to discussing how the findings respond to the initial question and how they can be applied to improving some aspect of the organization or program implemented by the organization.

Theology and Religious Studies  

Love and Justice
This course explores how Christians' faith shapes their understandings of what to do and how to be. Attention is paid to the sources and methods in Christian ethics, focusing on the Biblical ideas of justice and love as key themes. A variety of ethical issues such as economic justice, marriage and sexuality, the environment, and topics in health care are examined, drawing on a range of historical and contemporary approaches to these ques­tions. This course includes a required service learning component.  

Southern Africa: Ethics, Religion and Global Health
This travel course and service learning course will examine the connections between religion, culture, and health care in South Africa and Swaziland as a case study in the ethics of global health. How have religious communities have been both an obstacle and a resource in the struggle for racial justice and health justice, particularly during and after apartheid, the AIDS epidemic, and current migration challenges. During the two-week travel portion in May, students will have the opportunity to visit faith communities, health care organizations, and important historical sites. They will also carry out service with a Hospice at Home program for AIDS patients in Swaziland.

Explore Emmanuel

Nick Eline '23: Perseverance in a Pandemic

Nick grew up in a family of medical professionals—his mother and grandmother are both nurses and his father is a paramedic. “I’ve always been surrounded with medical jargon and stories of health incidents, crises, and the rewarding benefits of providing care,” he said.

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Nadel Henville '22: Creating Community Takes Center Stage

For Nadel, the stage is her “second home,” and the community she’s found within Emmanuel’s Theater program, a second family. While she originally thought she would pursue college theater as a hobby, she soon realized the work would define her student experience and provide a foundation for life beyond Emmanuel.

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Gianna Kittle '20: Advocating for Justice

Prior to coming to Emmanuel, Gianna had never heard of the field of sociology, but was very familiar and passionate about issues of crime and justice. Her time at Emmanuel helped her to not only put a name—but also, a purpose—to that passion.

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Research Spotlight: Searching for an Evolution Solution

Propelled by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, students and faculty in the Mathematics Department are studying the rate of evolution in spatially structured populations using evolutionary graph theory, which may inform the estimation of important events in our evolutionary past, such as when humans split from our closest primate relatives.

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Research Spotlight: Powerful Partnerships

In collaboration with Emmanuel graduate, Kierstin Giunco ’17, Associated Professor of Education Christine Leighton and current student Kayla Balthazar '20 are working with local elementary students to deepen reading engagement and comprehension.

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Research Spotlight: Economics Education on a Global Scale

As her research in economics education has focused on innovation in the classroom and finding ways to help students apply economic theories to real-world situations, students are vital in every aspect to Associate Professor of Economics Rebecca Moryl’s work.

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Eileen Milien '22: A Career-Affirming CURE

When choosing a college, Eileen knew two things for sure—that she would be able to get to know her professors and peers and that she wanted to be in an area in which she would have myriad opportunities in the research and medicine.

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Jake Hill '20: Seeing Citizenship with a Capitol C

Growing up in a suburban town outside of Boston, going to college in the city had always been a goal for Jake. After touring Emmanuel's campus he felt it had the perfect mixture of “small campus feel and big city appeal.”

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Melissa Duffy '20: Artist and Appreciator

When Melissa started at Emmanuel, she chose what she believed to be two separate and distinct majors—studio art and history—to fulfill her both her personal and professional interests.

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Kai Uehara '20: Social Justice Scholar

Kai has always had the inclination to try to make any situation better. When he was searching for colleges, Emmanuel's social justice mission resounded deeply with his ideals of supporting those who need the help.

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Robert Columbus '20: The Idea Man

Robert’s interest in the workings of the wider world grew in 2011 as the Arab Spring became international news. “I love history,” he said, “so knowing the history of the states as well as their current affairs made their actions and interactions much more interesting to me.”

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