Vocation, Ethics, and Society (VESO) is an interdisciplinary minor intended to help you explore your world as you contemplate your own lives, ideals, and work. Most students come to college asking “What am I good at?”, “How can I make a good living?”, and “How will I get a job?” While these are important questions, VESO minors get to consider their vocations in a broader context. VESO minors end up asking questions like, “How are my perspectives and vocational goals shaped by my socio-economic status and culture?”, “What responsibilities do I have within my society?”, and “How will my life’s work contribute to the well-being of others?” At Millsaps, we don’t only want to help you get a job; we also want you to find your voice.

VESO minors come from all of Millsaps’ divisions: business, natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. The VESO community is one that seeks to bridge disciplinary boundaries so that diverse students may learn from one another and challenge each other to consider new perspectives.

VESO minors take a gateway course (Work, Ethics, and Society), engage in multidisciplinary coursework, complete two internships with accompanying discussion courses, and construct a portfolio explaining the development of their thought and gathering documents to take with them post-graduation. VESO minors may also apply for funding to go to a location or attend an event beyond campus that will contribute to their course of study.

Contact the director for details: Shelli Poe, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Religious Studies; Director of Initiative for Vocational Inquiry; Director of Vocation, Ethics, and Society, poesm@millsaps.edu.

See the requirements and courses on the minor page.

The VESO minor is also a component of the newly formed Institute for Civic & Professional Engagement. Read more about the Institute.

VESO is a Major Experience!

Exploration Trips

VESO students have the opportunity to apply for funding to go to a location or event beyond Millsaps’ gates that will contribute to their course of study. Here are some examples of recent Exploration Trips and what they have meant to our students, in their own words.

Michala Sullivan (2015): “Prior to attending Millsaps I had the opportunity to serve with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). It set me on a path of living an intentional and meaningful life, but it wasn’t until I began my minor … that I fully understood what taking a risk like AmeriCorps had done for me. Having the time to question and investigate what vocational discernment is gave me a foundation for understanding my purpose in life, as well as that of others that I have met along the way. Taking a pilgrimage back to Colorado, where I first began my AmeriCorps journey, was humbling and eye opening. To be able to retrace my steps from the time I began there to where I am today 6 years later gave purpose to these years, and also hope and motivation to continue to live an active and community-centered life.”

Merrit Corrigan (2015): “E.B. White once wrote: ‘New York is to the nation what the white[-painted] church [building] is to the village — the visible symbol of aspiration and faith, the white plume saying the way is up.’ As I walked the steps White once took in his beloved city, I felt that overwhelming optimism and sense of beauty in humanity that White also noted. Surrounded by people but alone in my thoughts, I felt the depth of my dreams and power in knowing that those around me were there to realize their own. New York is a city of risk-takers and creatives, of millions of people sharing the same sidewalks but walking very different paths. I felt a sense of freedom with each step in my urban pilgrimage, thinking about who has stood there before me and where my next turn might be. I recited no prayer nor participated in any religious ritual, but New York instilled a renewed sense of guidance and purpose for me, ‘the sense of belonging to something unique, cosmopolitan, mighty and unparalleled.”

Exploration Grant Application

Students minoring in Vocation, Ethics, and Society may apply for funding, available on a competitive basis, to go to a location or attend an event beyond Millsaps’ gates that will contribute to their course of study. If you have any questions about the Exploration Trip or the application for funding, please contact the Director.