Ana Ruiz and Judith Warchal know each other so well the pair can usually finish each other’s sentences. Working closely together for 20 years, the two academics think alike, talk alike and sometimes even dress alike.
They also share an unusual passion — for service learning — that has shaped their relationship and their work to understand its impact on Alvernia students and graduates. The duo conducted their first survey regarding the effects of service learning on employment choices and community engagement among Alvernia graduates in 2004. Results were illuminating, but the pair of psychology professors was surprised only by the modesty of the respondents.
Some Alvernia graduates “didn’t think that what they did was community service,” says Warchal, a professor of psychology and counseling, and a licensed psychologist. “They considered it natural to help their school or church because their school or church helped them.”