Manchester University / Alumni / Meet Caraline Feairheller

Meet  Caraline Feairheller

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When Caraline Feairheller ’19 ventured to Manchester from her home in Kettering, Ohio, she left her comfort zone in the dust. “I had no idea this small school in Indiana would take me so many different places,” said the peace studies and political science major.

From the start, says Caraline, “the contact I had with admissions was a different experience than any of the other schools I applied to. It really stood out.” Once she arrived at Manchester, Caraline found ways that she could stand out by using her voice and promoting positive change.

Caraline has worked as a photographer for the student newspaper Oak Leaves, and as a student assistant in the Success Center and the Department of History and Political Science. More leadership opportunities opened up by getting involved in student organizations. This year, Caraline is president of the Kenapocomoco Coalition, which meets weekly over coffee and tea to talk about social, environmental and political issues. For two years, she was president of Feminist Student Union, a club that discusses issues of gender inequalities and explores ways to combat those issues.

As a junior, Caraline presented at the 2018 Student Peace Conference at the University of Notre Dame, speaking about the history, consequences and potential peaceful solutions to the South Sudanese civil war. Also that year, Caraline traveled to Birmingham, Ala., to attend the annual meeting of the Peace and Justice Studies Association, a nonprofit focused on bringing together academics, educators and grassroots activists to discuss and promote social change.

Manchester’s membership in the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty provided Caraline with one of her greatest adventures to date. The nonprofit, which promotes poverty studies programs in professional and undergraduate schools, connected her to a summer internship working as a community organizer for Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. The grassroots organization that involves 10,000 people across the bluegrass state is working on a broad range of issues, including coal and water, the transition to new energy, economic justice and voting rights.

While in Louisville, Caraline also participated in the annual Smoketown GetDown for Democracy – a block party celebrating the neighborhood’s culture and history while promoting voter registration, local businesses and organizations.

When Caraline returned to Manchester in the fall, she joined other Shepherd Consortium interns who presented a VIA convocation about their summer experiences. “I’ve learned how to use my voice, and I’ve probably spoken more in college than I ever have in my entire life,” said Caraline. “Opportunities like the VIA have really helped me grow my public speaking skills.”

Caraline has found something even more precious than skills. “Manchester has shown me what a community looks like in a way I’ve never experienced it before,” she said. “It is something that’s intentional, but then at some point you just do it because it’s second nature. You learn how to be there for other people, and you learn how people are going to be there for you. There’s such a solid support system here.”

Looking past graduation, Caraline remains inspired by the work she has done and the difference it has made in people’s lives. “Every peace studies trip has changed me in some way,” she said. “I really liked the work I did for my internship with the grassroots organization. Ideally, I will continue to go down that route in some way, shape or form.”

By Teresa Masteller ’19