VISTA Member Spotlight
Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus
Could you tell us more about your VISTA role and service project?
I am the program coordinator for the Early College Scholars - Science & Technology Entry Program. In this role, I’m managing the operations of the program such as the supportive services, creating an intensive curriculum for mentoring that is more interactive and managing and training student workers to assist in our mentoring component and the program as a whole.
Why did you choose to serve with AmeriCorps? What does VISTA mean to you?
I joined Americorps as a stepping stone into my desired career. I want to be an EOP counselor so getting close with the students and the departments to see what a glimpse of that looks like is amazing. VISTA is so much more than volunteerism - we go where we are needed and fill in the holes of a university, making it a bit more complete and easier for our populations to achieve their own goals in life. It’s beautiful.
What is the most memorable moment from your service year?
This year’s Orientation was very memorable. We spent weeks planning our orientation and how it would transpire. We had so much information that we wanted to go over with our students but sometimes things don’t go as planned. Registration took three hours to get done because we were using the paper method and needed to verify information. With registration taking longer than expected, parents were getting irate, wondering if the program always ran with so much disorganization. A couple students spoke with the parents who were yelling explaining to them that they’ve been in the program for years and that how the staff makes them feel loved and this isn’t an accurate depiction of how the program actually is. With the conversation with the students kept in one parent’s mind, she requests a meeting with the associate director and explains to him the conversation she had with those students during Orientation and after consideration, that she still wanted her son to come here and that she’s putting her faith in to us to help her son get into college.
If you could only choose one word to describe your service year, what would it be and why?
Fruitful. I would say it’s been fruitful because there’s been a lot I had to adapt to and a lot of skills I’ve developed through these past 7 months. The associate director asked me when he first met me what skills I wanted to develop while here and he helped me with developing all of them already. Now I feel after this year, I’m truly prepared to go out into the workforce confidently.