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Patricia Batchelor ‘11C

Ozanam Scholar Learns How to Change the World While Following Her Passion

Being part of St. John’s Ozanam Scholars Program is enabling Patricia Batchelor ‘11C to  transform her commitment to help others into concrete realities. Most recently, she was chosen to present her senior-year, capstone project on human trafficking at the prestigious American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) 2011 colloquium in Philadelphia this summer.

“I am thrilled and excited at the prospect of being able to share my work with experts in the field,” she said. Patricia is also looking forward to sparking more interest in human trafficking abuses, as well as making important professional contacts at the conference.

According to Elissa Brown, Ph.D., Director of St. John’s  PARTNERS Program, it is unusual for an undergraduate to present her work at such a high-level professional conference. “It’s an honor to have a student who is such a lightning bolt of energy pass through my life and to feel that I may have had something to do with her achievements,” said Dr. Brown, Patricia’s capstone mentor.

 The Ozanam Program’s fusion of local and global travel, academic service-learning and solution-oriented community research as well as Patricia’s strong foundation in psychology are paving the way for the clinical psychology major to be able to pursue a career helping trafficking victims rebuild their lives.

Patricia is particularly grateful to the Ozanam Program for reigniting her zeal to provide mental health services to human trafficking casualties. This calling first took root when she saw a movie on trafficking in high school. “I got all fired up. I knew I wanted to help these people,” she said. This passion resurfaced last year when she had to choose a topic for her Independent Research Study (IRS) project. She decided to do her study — which subsequently turned into her senior-year capstone project — on how trafficking impacts its victims.

“The parts continue to fit together for me at St. John’s,” said Patricia. Not only did her capstone project catch fire under Dr. Brown’s mentoring, but through her service with PARTNERS, Patricia has been gaining invaluable experience helping people who have suffered the trauma of domestic abuse. She is also learning about the protocols for human research which she will need to know as she pursues her career plans.

“Trish is an inspiration,” said Dr. Brown. “Our partnership is a gift to both of us. She is talented, smart, compassionate and so driven that I have no doubt that she will go on to raise awareness about trafficking and will make a real difference.” She praised her mentee’s ability to take responsibility for her projects. “My role as mentor, has been to support these ambitious efforts,” she said.

Through the Ozanam Program, Patricia has also been assigned to such service sites as  nursing homes, homeless shelters, the University’s After School All Stars Program and its Advantage Academy. In addition, she has profited from the many Global Studies  opportunities she has had at St. John’s. She has lived, studied and served in Vietnam, Paris, Rome and New Orleans. These experiences heightened her awareness of the universality of social injustice and of cultural differences.

 “When I applied to St. John’s, I was so happy when I read the description of the Ozanam Scholars Program,” she said. “It fit me like a glove. My parents and I recognized it held the promise of  unequaled opportunities and we were right.”

Before pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology, Patricia will apply for a position with a national or international human trafficking organization to gain a deeper understanding of the issue. Her ultimate goal, she explained, is “to help expand the far too small number of clinical psychologists dedicated to helping trafficking survivors.”