The Class that Made a Difference: What is Justice? (Dr. Khristina Haddad)


Photo courtesy of Julia Attanasio

Julia (Gasdaska) Attanasio graduated from Moravian College in Spring of 2007 with a degree in English. She currently lives in Bethlehem, PA, and is the Senior Advancement Officer for Dickinson College, which is located in Carlisle, PA. 

From an early age, I have been curious about the purpose of life and my role in it. My education at Moravian was a springboard for me to discover new perspectives as well as find deeper enjoyment in life by exploring different cultures and philosophies. I enjoyed sharing that experience with inquisitive people as we all grappled with burning questions. 

Dr. Khristina Haddad’s political science course, “What is Justice?” stands out in my mind as one of the most meaningful classes of my Moravian education for a couple of reasons. 

First, the setting of our class. We gathered around a conference table which made the classroom experience personal and engaging. As we spoke, we faced one another and made eye contact, which was a significant change from a typical classroom setting where we were pointed toward a screen or chalkboard. Especially today, in our virtual world, I feel grateful to have had classes that encouraged face-to-face discussion. 

Secondly, Dr. Haddad did not shy away from putting us on the spot to offer our perspective, challenge something we read, or ask difficult questions about the complexities of life.

She used The Allegory of the Cave to help guide our discussion, and through that text I felt like I had entered a new level of understanding about the purpose of life. I appreciated the opportunity to learn alongside classmates who brought forth their own ideas. There wasn’t a “right” answer we needed to find. What we learned was how to share our opinions in a respectful and authentic way while digging into a timeless and important topic. Our curiosity was encouraged all semester long. 

Throughout the course, I refined my listening, writing, and public speaking skills, which I use every day in my work and with my family. Looking back, now I see that the discussions and assignments in Dr. Haddad’s class supported my personal journey just as much as my professional one. I was learning to create a blueprint in my brain to approach problem solving and creative projects. Most importantly, I learned that I could change the blueprint if I wanted. 

In short, that course, and my Moravian education, fostered my deep desire to learn, understand, ponder, and evolve.