By Colin Crawford
Class of 2018 alumnus
After graduating from Holy Cross College, I joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and served at a day shelter in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from 2019-2020. During the pandemic, violence broke out at a protest in front of the Albuquerque Museum, over a statue called La Jornada, which depicted the Spanish conquest of New Mexico. I realized the front line of social justice is not only on the street, but also in the archive and the classroom: I resolved to model the peaceful and well-informed citizenship which was missing during the violence at the museum. Through graduate study, I want to develop the historical skills I gained at Holy Cross in order to craft truthful narratives which demand respect for human dignity. I will complete a master’s degree in history at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin this May, and I will return to Indiana to begin a doctoral program in history at the University of Notre Dame.
Through his American history courses, Dr. Angel Cortes made critical reading a habit, and he guided my development as a historian through writing and presenting original work. His lectures and scholarship on religious history were revelatory for me: while we tend to think of religion as an abstract category, he showed me that it affects all aspects of human behavior in concrete and meaningful ways, and that religion is also subject to historical change. Understanding religion is key to understanding people. Dr. Cortes’ insights have guided my projects through my time in graduate school and were key to framing my scholarly interests to the admissions committee at Notre Dame.
My formation at Holy Cross helped me make the most of my time at Marquette. Taking courses in English, Philosophy, and Theology in the wonderful departments at Holy Cross made me a well-rounded contributor to the community in Milwaukee, and I have continued to take advantage of interdisciplinary opportunities in Wisconsin. The sense of responsibility I gained from my undergraduate degree translated into a fully funded teaching assistantship at Marquette, and I will enter Notre Dame with four semesters of student mentorship, assessment, and occasional lecturing experience. Service and immersion experiences at Holy Cross made breaking the campus bubble second nature for me, and in the past two years I’ve travelled to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, The KINO Border Initiative in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and to Delhi and Guwahati, India, through Marquette University Campus Ministry and the Center for Peacemaking. Holy Cross College educates the intellect in ways which make applicants stand out in a highly competitive pool for valuable graduate positions at nationally-ranked institutions. Most importantly, it educates the heart in ways which make me as authentically happy as I’ve been through all of these experiences.
Picture provided by class of 2018 alumnus Colin Crawford.