Karla Alvarado, M.A./M.A. ’14
Karla Alvarado spent a year working as a volunteer with the Rostro de Cristo program in Ecuador after she graduated from college. She taught English, ran an after-school program, and spent time listening to the stories of the people she met.
“It was a radically life-changing experience,” she says. “I knew that whatever came next for me, I wanted to continue to align myself with the mission of that program. But I wasn’t sure exactly how to do that.”
Researching graduate programs in an Internet café in Ecuador, she stumbled across Boston College’s dual-degree program in pastoral ministry and counseling.
“The combination of counseling and pastoral ministry really spoke to the experiences I’d had in Ecuador,” she recalls. “The most powerful part of my experience as a volunteer was learning how to be with people and live their stories with them. But I didn’t have the therapeutic skills to offer substantive help.”
After returning to the United States, Alvarado spent a year working as a case manager with homeless families. She then moved to Boston and enrolled at the School of Theology and Ministry, where she found plenty of opportunities to put ministry into practice.
“Some students lead undergraduate service trips; others plan retreat programs or visit a local prison to conduct services for inmates,” she says. “I work for the Hispanic Ministry Program, so I’ve organized prayer services, feast-day celebrations, and workshops for the Latino community.”