From First-Year to Senior, Experiences with the J.D. Power Center

As a senior at the College, I have had many opportunities to learn from and engage with my academic course load throughout my time as a student. However, some of the most impactful lessons learned and people met during my time at Holy Cross have been because of the J.D. Power Center’s experiential learning. I am sure most students at Holy Cross have heard about the J.D. Power Center in some capacity, but the plethora of programs the Center provides for students is unbeknownst to many, and it was to me as an underclassman. As a senior, I can now reflect on how the Academic Internship Program and Community-Based Learning made my time as a student at Holy Cross more dynamic and purposeful. 


As a first-year I was tasked with a Community-Based Learning component of my Montserrat class, during which I visited St. Mary’s Healthcare Center, in Worcester. The work I did during my weekly visits that coincided with my class was only a small fraction of the importance of the visits for me. The time I spent with the resident I was paired with quickly became a highlight of my week. I found myself looking forward to Sunday afternoons with Barb. I would never have thought that what I experienced during my time with Barb would follow me to senior year. The first day I met Barb she asked me what someone’s most important attribute is. I had no idea what she was hoping for in my answer, but she quickly corrected me saying, “your attitude is your best attribute.” As a woman approaching 100 years of age, there was certainly some wisdom I learned from Barb that I would not have gained in any traditional course on campus. 


My next experience through the J.D. Power Center started in the Fall of 2021 in the Academic Internship Program Seminar “Policy and Politics in America: Road to Midterms 2022” with Professors Tim Bishop and Peter Flaherty. One year later, I am in the continuation of the course, “Policy and Politics in America: Midterm Elections 2022” and just as engaged as the first time. Professors Bishop and Flaherty teach the course with extreme care for their students and their classroom is filled with energy and enthusiasm about learning that is hard to match. As a senior, I could not be more grateful for the guidance both in and out of the classroom that the professors offer. As a former Congressman, Professor Bishop offers an expert perspective on the legislative process and inner workings of our Nation’s Capitol. Professor Flaherty, on the other hand, offers his campaigning and political consulting expertise for students to learn and develop curiosity from. Beyond their wealth of knowledge, Professors Bishop and Flaherty are some of the most down to earth Professors and people I have met through Holy Cross. As two Holy Cross alums themselves, their investment in the personal and professional development of the students in their class is unparalleled. 

Both the AIP and CBL components of my first-year course have allowed me to develop personally outside of the classroom and have enhanced my time in the classroom. I hope that more Holy Cross students have experiential learning opportunities that impact them in a similarly meaningful way.

Julianna Bender '23 - Center Ambassador
Julianna Bender ’23 – Center Ambassador

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