Where They’re Headed: Madison Arnold-Scerbo ’18

The history major and museum studies minor is off to Portland, Ore., as a Quaker Voluntary Service fellow for Physicians for Social Responsibility.

At the intersection of activism and spirituality, you will find Madison Arnold-Scerbo ’18. Beginning this August, the history major and museum studies minor will be a Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS) fellow with the organization Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR)  in Portland, Ore.

At PSR, Arnold-Scerbo will act as a program assistant, supporting the organization’s effort to bring a scientific and public health perspective to issues like environmental health, nuclear disarmament, and the promotion of peace. QVS is supporting her in this service-oriented role for one year.

“This experience will allow me to explore my role in social justice and spirituality,” said Arnold-Scerbo, “while also allowing me to live in a new city on the other side of the country and form relationships with other young adults who share a passion for making the world a better place.”

Arnold-Scerbo is not the only Haverford alum to participate in QVS, and not even the only one to work with PSR. QVS has been heavily present in Haverford’s opportunities for students to connect with nonprofits and Quaker organizations, so a few other graduates from 2018 are also participating in QVS in the fall. Arnold-Scerbo attended multiple information sessions held by QVS on campus, and met with representatives from the organization at a Young Adult Friends Conference at Pendle Hill. The Quaker Affairs Office provided the funds for Arnold-Scerbo to attend the conference in 2015 and again in 2018, where she was able to connect with other QVS fellows.

For Arnold-Scerbo, this work is an extension of her academic experience at Haverford.

“This position relates especially well to two classes that I took at Haverford, ‘Quaker Social Witness’ with [Visiting Instructor of Independent College Programs] Bridget Moix and ‘Community Engagement and Social Responsibility’ with [Visiting Assistant Professor of Health Studies] Anne Montgomery,” she said. “The latter was a praxis course sponsored by the CPGC that combined in-class readings and discussion with community field placements. This class motivated me to investigate my own role in community engagement and social responsibility, and pushed me to pursue opportunities that could help me continue to address these questions. I am excited to see the way that these topics and discussions will inform my work with QVS.”

In the future, Arnold-Scerbo expects to return to an academic setting to pursue a graduate degree in library and information science. She sees this opportunity with PSR as a chance to step out of the education “bubble” and learn more about herself and the local community in Portland.

“I think that this experience will allow me to do self reflection and give me more clarity about my future,” she said. “No matter what type of work I take on next — most likely I will return to the East Coast and attend library school — I know the lessons I learn through my service year will serve me well.”


Photo by Hannah Weissman ’17.

Where They’re Headed” is a blog series reporting on the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.