Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, Ed.D.



First Advisor

Dr. James Carroll

LC Subjects

College students; Humanitarianism--Awards; Humanitarianism--Religious aspects


In this phenomenological study, seven research participants shared their memories, experiences, and the durability of what they learned as university student ambassadors who participated in a unique philanthropic initiative. Through this philanthropy-university community partnership, participants traveled on site visits to three global locations to witness first-hand the work of faith-based, “unsung hero” humanitarians and to have personal encounters with members of these communities on the margins of their societies. These former student ambassadors shared that during the site visits they had experiences and conversations that challenged many of the preconceptions and expectations that they held prior to the visits. Through critical self-reflection and active dialogue with supportive resources, the former student ambassadors grappled with the challenging elements of their experiences, striving to make sense of what they learned through the first-hand encounters. Five years after the completion of their commitments to this program, participants still attribute some of their acquired dispositions, life choices, and intentional actions to the transformational opportunity and experience of the site visits they made as university student ambassadors. Emergent themes from the former student ambassadors’ narratives include the influence of their pre-site visit personal stories, the powerful impact of site visit experiences, the difficult nature of grappling with experiences of privilege, and the durability of hope as a motivating source of inspiration for the future.


Copyright for this work is retained by the author.