Senior Program Manager is awarded Ed.D., doctoral award

African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC)

Dr. Rosemary Shaver, ASEC Senior Program Manager, successfully defended her dissertation on September 23, 2022.

HESA and Scholarship Senior Program Manager Rosemary Shaver, Ed.D. received her Doctorate in Education from Wilkes University after successful defense of her research on the perceived impact of service learning programs on higher education learners. Through her research she was able to find that it is a transformative experience that promotes self-examination, dialogue, and skill development among participants.

Dr. Rosemary Shaver, Senior Program Manager of HESA and Scholarships, presented her research titled The Perceived Influence of Participation in Undergraduate International Service-Learning on Recent United States College Graduates’ Post-College Readiness on September 23, 2022. The research explored the ways in which higher education institutions prepare students for life after graduation focusing on the transformative experiences from service-learning trips abroad. She was successful in defending her research and was awarded with a doctoral degree in Higher Education from Wilkes University. 

Through qualitative research, Rosemary found that these experiences do have a transformative impact on participants in many ways. Perhaps the most notable is the exposure students gained to cultures different from their own and the self-reflection ignited by the experiences. 

One research participant, Ashton, explained the struggle to grapple with knowing there is a great need for support and resources in the world, and yet it can feel overwhelming to consider the seemingly small impact of one person. While he wasn’t able to find a way to increase the impact one human can have, he identified learning that even small acts can have a lasting impact that is worth it. He explained, 

“We see problems and we want to do something about it. But then to be able to do a small thing in that moment to address the problem is really great because it’s easy to look at a problem and be so overwhelmed by its immensity … But to be able to address it in a small way right then and there is I think … all of what a lot of us can do right? We can hope and try to push … bigger systemic change through … civic actions … but to be able to say like … a kid learned his multiplication tables better because the notebook a guy gave him, that’s pretty cool.”

Rays of Hope ebook

Read Rays of Hope

Learn more about Catholic Sisters transforming poor, rural communities across Africa in our FREE Rays of Hope ebook.

Read It Now »

Participants also expressed having to work through cultural shock and a recognition of privilege during and after their experiences. One participant, Reed, described a deeper reflection he made after coming back from his trip:

“A few weeks after getting back to the United States … I would look around and see different things that would stress me out and different things that would worry me, and I think to myself, this is nothing compared to what they are experiencing.”

Aside from examining the influence of service trips and abroad experiences on students, Rosemary also presented the idea that perhaps higher education institutions can some day provide resources to students to help them integrate the experiences they had in different cultures – maybe in the form of support services upon returning home.

Dr. Rosemary Shaver was also awarded the Diane Place Distinguished Doctoral Graduate and Dissertation Award for her research. The award was created in honor of Diane Place, a Wilkes University student who fought brain cancer while completing her research at Wilkes University. The criteria for the award is: 

PERSEVERANCE in completing the doctoral study

COMMITMENT to lifelong learning

RESILIENCE in the face of adversity

STRENGTH OF CHARACTER to advance In life through education


LEADERSHIP in education

EXCELLENCE in academic standing 

Great work, Dr. Rosemary Shaver! 

The Perceived Influence of Participation in Undergraduate International Service-Learning on Recent United States College Graduates’ Post-College Readiness

Be a Ray of Hope

Communities across Africa are counting on Catholic Sisters, but 71% lack the education needed to carry out their important mission work. You can be a Ray of Hope for a Sister who needs you by donating to her education today.

Donate Now »

This article is addressing the following UN Sustainable Development Goal(s):

Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
Rosemary Shaver, EdD

Rosemary Shaver, EdD
Profiled in article
Senior Program Manager, Programs  

Monica Simon

Monica Simon
Former Web Content Manager - USA  

Leave a comment »

Keep Reading...

Late Sister, ASEC Founder to Donate Body to Science

When Sr. Margaret Gannon's decision to donate her body to science was announced at her memorial, some wondered, "Can she do that?" The official answer from the Catholic Church is, "Yes, yes she can."

COVID-19 Case Study Published in Review of Religious Research

At ASEC we understood clearly that the pandemic would mean some serious changes for us and our goals. We also understood that COVID-19 may make our pending goals to transform education in Africa even that much more needed. As a research organization, we did what we do – research.

Visiting Scholar Researches How Social Media Can Help Congregations in Ghana

US Staff hosted ASEC’s 8th Visiting Scholar, Sr. Victorine, on a virtual visit to their Marywood University office.

Back to news »