Christine Ortiz serves as the Academic/Service Learning Infusion AmeriCorps*VISTA at Salve Regina University, working on supporting faculty to integrate service learning into their courses and connecting them to community partners! Read below for Christine’s story of service as a Rhode Island Campus Compact AmeriCorps*VISTA.
VISTA Host Site: Salve Regina University, Feinstein Enriching America Program, Office of Community Service
Where did you go to school? Salve Regina University
What are your personal and professional interests? I’m interested in the well-being of those around me! I have my degree in Biology and am a Pharmacy Technician part-time, which encourages my love of learning about how both life and humans work. I enjoy listening to music, spending quality time with family and friends, as well as my new puppy named Kai. Seeing people happy is definitely my main motivation!
If you could have any super power, what would it be? Singing well or the ability to be Beyoncé.
Story of Service:
As a student at Salve, I learned to really get involved in the Newport community, and made sure my time in undergrad not only benefited me, but those around me. I have been involved with the Feinstein Programs ever since elementary school, and remained involved as a Feinstein Leadership Scholar throughout college. I became familiar with the levels of poverty and homelessness in Rhode Island through Salve’s community partners. One of the most notable moments as a volunteer was being a facilitator for the Service Plunge service retreat run by the office where I got to lead first year students through various service projects in Rhode Island, encouraging them to find their own love of service.
During my senior year, I participated in a service trip to Washington, D.C., which opened my eyes to the wealth disparities among many other social issues found in large cities. While on this trip, I was able to see how Shannon, a previous AmeriCorps*VISTA in the Office of Community Service, was helping us students to get out of our comfort zones by volunteering and serving people and organizations that really need the help.
As I approached graduation, these experiences guided me towards accepting the VISTA position at Salve’s Office of Community Service. I hope to continue paying it forward to current Salve students and the communities in Rhode Island by working with the Salve faculty to develop service learning courses that will enhance student learning while also benefitting the community.
These service learning opportunities can open up conversation and inspire action in the communities that the professors are able to work with. The students are able to learn, if not by first hand, then as close as they can get to the experiences that those in need face. Students can build skill in the field they want, not only to grow professionally, but to make a difference in the lives of those around them.