Service in Between Schooling
Biology Graduate Spends a Year with Lutheran Volunteer Corps Between PLU and Med School
Anthony Markuson ’13 traveled the world as a Pacific Lutheran University student and moved across the country as a new graduate—and, always, everywhere, a little bit of PLU goes with him.
Markuson, who majored in Biology with a minor in Global Studies and a concentration in World Health, found his current position through fellow Lutes—and it’s a position that’s not so much a job as a service opportunity.
“I see how that (service) works outside the ‘Lutedome,’ and that is something I wanted to do,” said Markuson, who plans to explore service for a year and then attend medical school in Seattle.
He’s now in Baltimore thanks to Lutheran Volunteer Corps, a national volunteer service program that someone recommended to Markuson as a way to help him understand service and figure out the next step of his life.
(PLU has seven alumni serving in this year’s Lutheran Volunteer Corps class—the third-largest group from any college or university.)
In Baltimore, Markuson was connected to AIRS, a nonprofit organization that provides housing for low-income and homeless people and families living with or at risk of HIV/AIDS or other disabilities. Technically, Markuson is a residential aide, attending to the low-income single adults with AIDS who live in the Don Miller Houses, and providing 24-hour care, support and comfort. Logistically, he cooks, cleans and makes sure residents have their medications.
But it’s the personal interaction Markuson likes most.
“What I really enjoy is getting to know the people that live in the group homes,” Markuson said. “They bring a lot of joy to my life, and when we sit and talk and share stories, that’s what I love.”
As a PLU student, Markuson worked as a Resident Assistant for three years; learned about social justice and racism; and took advantage of Study Away opportunities, traveling to New Zealand and Ecuador on J-Term trips and studying for a semester in Botswana.
“For me, studying away was such a great opportunity to understand the global community and other cultures and to put yourself in that place,” Markuson said.
He also embraced PLU’s mission in his daily life—to Markuson, that means care for others—and he continues to do so today.
“After being at PLU for four years and taking that to heart, I think what I am doing now is caring for a community, and it is greater depth of understanding what that means, and there is empowerment in that,” Markuson said.
Recently accepted to medical school at the University of Washington, Markuson is eager to apply what he’s learning over this year of service.
“Now I have this year where I’m not caught up in the science but in the people,” Markuson said. “I think this will help my career as a physician.”