Civetta: “I feel like I’ve made an actual impact on the world”
Christie Civetta, a fifth-year Human Services major, delivered the undergraduate student speaker address at Northeastern University’s 113th Commencement on May 8. She expresses being selected for this honour, “It was an incredible feeling to know that other people thought I would be great at this. I’m pretty excited.” Civetta has known she wanted to work in human services to help those in need ever since she was 15 years old. It was then when her stepfather took his own life, an experience that Civetta said has inspired her to help prevent other families from going through similar tragedies.
Civetta elucidated, “The thing that stops people from getting help for suicidal thoughts is the stigma around suicide. At the end of the day, the last thing you have against suicide is hope. And you can’t give them hope unless they come forward and ask for it.” While studying at Northeastern, Civetta has worked all around the world, helping others through a range of experiential learning opportunities. She worked on co-op in Cape Town, South Africa, connecting with a family preservation organisation to help with counselling and drug abuse prevention.
While participating in an intensive language program at Beijing University during a semester-long internship in 2013, she identified a research opportunity focusing on the suicidal tendencies among female students there. That work, she said, has served as the basis for her senior capstone project. On a Dialogue of Civilisations program in Zambia, Civetta and two other students wrote up the curriculum for a new peer education program for the Serenity Reduction Programme Zambia, which is now being implemented across the entire African nation.
Civetta quoted, “I feel like I’ve made an actual impact on the world and I didn’t think that was a possibility for a college student. However, Northeastern provided me with opportunities to make a tangible impact. I always left an experiential learning experience feeling as if I had done some good.”