About Liz Karam
“I don’t think I could have picked a better major and minor for the work I am doing now,” says Russell Sage College Psychology and Women’s Studies graduate Liz Karam.
Liz is the volunteer coordinator and a case manager at St. Peter’s Crime Victim Services.
She supervises the agency’s volunteer and internship programs, community outreach efforts and educational trainings, and also provides direct support to survivors of interpersonal violence.
And while her chosen major turned out to be a perfect fit for Liz’s career goals, it wasn’t — at first — the obvious fit.
“When I went into college, I knew I wanted to help people in some capacity, but I wasn’t sure how,” says Liz, “so I waited to declare my major. I took classes in a few areas and found I really enjoyed psychology and sociology classes. Learning about people never ceases to fascinate me.”
Courses like Victims and their Experiences and Counseling Skills along with an internship at Northern Rivers Family Services helped her get a feel for direct-service work, she says, while Women’s Studies classes broadened her understanding of privilege, oppression, power and identity — systems that “play into my work in a lot of different ways.”
Now, Liz is getting ready to share her professional expertise with current Sage students.
In spring 2023, she will team teach a Special Topics service-learning class with Professor Janel Leone.
The class will include the history of the victims advocacy movement and will incorporate New York State Department of Health-approved training to become a certified sexual assault counselor. The students will then take shifts on St. Peter’s crisis hotline.
“We hope this partnership not only gives students the opportunity to gain experience in this field but spreads awareness about victim services in general,” says Liz. “We often find that people don’t know what community resources are available to them. This feels like a wonderful opportunity to bridge gaps and establish a strong partnership.”
Liz is considering returning to school at some point for a Master of Social Work, but in the meantime finds her current role fulfilling.
“Whether I’m working directly with trauma survivors as they begin to heal or with volunteers as they find their way in this field, it’s a major privilege to bear witness to people’s growth and resilience,” she says.
She adds a message for survivors of interpersonal violence: “You deserve the chance to feel safe and to heal, imperfectly and in your own time. The community that supports and believes you is large and ever-growing, and we are always here for you.”
More About Volunteering with St. Peter’s Crime Victim Services
“Most volunteer work at our agency happens on our 24-hour confidential hotline. Our crisis services volunteers help survivors of crime by providing emotional support, information and referrals, and medical and legal accompaniments in the aftermath of trauma,” says Liz. “We also have opportunities to participate in our agency as an outreach volunteer or office volunteer.”
More information is available on the St. Peter’s Crime Victim Services Volunteer Application.
“When I went into college, I knew I wanted to help people, but I wasn’t sure how, so I waited to declare my major. I took classes in a few areas and found I really enjoyed psychology and sociology classes.”