Isabel Watts headshot

Isabel Watts

Social Justice Is My Ambrosian Value

Bachelor of Arts, Sociology and Theology, Class of 2019

“My education here was truly an education and it truly opened my eyes."

At St. Ambrose University, Isabel became an educated and dedicated social justice advocate who knows who she is, for what she stands, and the unlimited potential she holds and will pursue.

Hometown: Rock Island, Illinois

Isabel wasn't very motivated in high school, but while writing a paper for her SAU Theology course, she realized a new dedication to her education. "I attended Catholic schools since 7th grade," she says, but this course challenged her to think more critically about the subject. "It shifted my perspective and fascinated me. I realized 'I am having fun right now. I am enjoying this.' I started approaching all of my assignments as a challenge to get the highest score I could possibly get."

Photo of holding hands

How did SAU deepen your values?

Focus on Service

Isabel had a long history in community service and a strong interest in helping people in poverty before coming to SAU. Here, service and social justice are themes woven into every course, no matter the subject. "I had no idea how bad things were in some realms, especially when it came to social inequalities," she says. Wanting to do more to impact lives and the world, Isabel added a second major in Sociology, and later launched the student club Ambrosians Against Racism.

students at SAU

How was your education tranformational?

Isabel's drive to do and be her best was elevated by faculty who challenged her to think bigger. Professor Archer's classes and lectures sparked her interest in sociology. Professors Kiel and Powell encouraged her as a person and as an academic and helped Isabel realize all she could accomplish. "Graduate school wasn’t really a thought in my mind until they brought it up. I hadn't even considered it until they started telling me I could do it," she added. "I've never had academic support like this."

photo of Isabel Watts

How will you use your education moving forward?

Isabel enrolled in the Master of Science in Inequality and Society program at the University of Sunderland in England. Until she leaves the U.S., she is working as a community resource specialist for the Quad Cities Open Network and as a resource and development intern at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Rock Island. "I want to test out the different realms of community work I can enter. I hope to do many different things, work in a lot of different communities, maybe even in the criminal justice system."


SAU monument

Why choose the SAU Sociology and Theology programs?

An education that connects

Isabel believes her two majors "are beautifully interconnected. A lot of my theology classes brought sociological aspects into the discussion and incorporated liberation theology, which is rooted in social dynamics and social inequality," she says. The two programs were a perfect educational foundation and the spark to go forward and shape the world. "I am very passionate about poverty, racism, and social justice. It is on my mind every day."

Theology Program at SAU

So, what's next?

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