Rustin Dudley '14
"[E-town] professors know who you are, you really feel like they care about your well-being, and they want to see you succeed."
A commitment to service, a small, personable campus, and the opportunity to pair experience with her passion for helping others: the reasons junior Social Work major Rustin Dudley chose to attend Elizabethtown College. She has aspirations of dedicating her life to helping others, and her choice of extra-curricular activities is indicative of such.
The theme among Rustin's interests and activities? Working and learning to help others, a perfect example of the College's motto, and commitment, to "Educate for Service." Along with her coursework, Rustin is a member of and historian for SWSA (Social Work Student Association), a member of Honors Council and the vice president of E-town's "UChapter" of TWLOHA (To Write Love on Her Arms). TWLOHA is a national non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. Rustin and her co-founder attended the organization's conference in 2012 to get guidance in starting the chapter.
Rustin knew she wanted a small liberal arts school in Pennsylvania, and she found just that at Elizabethtown College.
"My uncle is an alumnus of E-town," she said. "[He] suggested I tour it, so I did. I fell in love with it!"
She explained how after attending E-town, she realized how the College helped her develop a sense of self. She feels as though it was confidence that has allowed her to open her mind and learn about societal issues that she hopes to be a part of rectifying as a social worker.
"I thought I knew who I was and what I stood for," she said. "But being exposed to different ways of thinking made me analyze my own beliefs and determine what was important to me."
Rustin spoke of how she has become a strong feminist and how she has grown in her awareness of oppression and inequality in society, and how her actions can perpetuate such things. After graduation, she aspires to attend graduate school to get her Masters in Social Work, and to eventually become a counselor either working with victims of sexual abuse/violence or military members.
Originally from Waldorf, Md., Rustin's accomplishments are representative of her academic achievements: she's an Emergent Scholar for 2012, on the Dean's List, a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, a Presidential Scholar for 2011, a presenter at Scholarship and Creative Arts Day and the Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Research Conference, and a recipient of the Academic Excellence Award for the Social Work Department for 2012. Rustin also works as a student research assistant for the Social Work department, where she helps professors with literature reviews and data compilation for their research projects.
"You're more than just a number here," Rustin said of her E-town experience. "Professors know who you are, you really feel like they care about your well-being, and they want to see you succeed."
Succeed she has. After a trip to Vietnam in 2011 (location of photo above), she has made plans to return in 2013, with aspirations of continuing work at the orphanage she worked for. It's efforts like these that demonstrate the College's and students like Rustin's commitment to service and global social change.
--Brianna Wiest '14