Roger Williams University – School of Continuing Studies
Where did you go to school?
University of Rhode Island
What are you personal and professional interests?
My personal interests revolve around music, art, fashion and social entertainment. I own a lifestyle brand with a few of my colleagues called “Trussmé” which encompasses these personal interests. I’ve always loved art growing up as a child, from basic 2D drawing to computer design (mainly Adobe Illustrator). I am also a HUGE football fan, my favorite NFL team being the New England Patriots. Again, as a child, I grew up around football. I began playing pop warner football when I was about 12 or 13 and ever since then, I’ve been in love with the sport.
Expanding my knowledge and gaining a wider perspective on various situations and topics are an interest of mine because you can never stop learning. As they say, “the more you know, the better.” Whether it is my interest in going back to school to pursue my graduate degree, education itself is extremely important. As long as I am learning something new frequently, I will feel comfortable that I am pursuing my interests and expanding my knowledge/skill set.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Telekinesis – the ability to move objects with the mind.
Before entering into the VISTA program, I had no idea what the program was and the impact it had on communities across the country. I was nearing graduation in May from the University of Rhode Island when my father introduced me to AmeriCorps, text messaging me a link to check it out. His co-worker Dr. Palermo needed a VISTA for the year, assisting in program coordination for the Community Development Program at Roger Williams University – School of Continuing Studies. At the time, I wasn’t quite sure what my immediate plans were after graduation, so I embraced the opportunity.
I chose to serve because deep down in my heart, I have a love for helping people in any way I can. I generally care about others and enjoy seeing them prosper in their selective future endeavors. When I heard of the AmeriCorps VISTA program, I immediately gravitated towards the opportunity. Building and strengthening communities is important to me and the impact it can have on people is tremendous. Alongside pursuing my undergraduate degree, I founded a lifestyle brand called “Trussmé” in 2015. The brand was created by a couple of friends and I because of our love for fashion, music, art and entertainment. We all also care about the community and inspiring the youth to do what they want to do in life. I saw VISTA as an opportunity to tie in to the lifestyle brand’s philanthropic aspect.
At this point in my service term, the biggest impact I have made on poverty has been the introduction of a pilot program called the Advanced Coursework Network. The ACN, funded through the Rhode Island Department of Education, is a program for middle and high school students who’d like to get ahead of the game when it comes to post-secondary education. The program is free and allows the opportunity for students across Rhode Island to take courses and earn transferable college credits before they graduate. As one of ACN’s providers, RWU SCS has offered its space and select courses to interested students. For the fall semester, I helped recruit over 200 students across the state. My goal for the upcoming spring semester is to recruit 200-300 students from the Providence area alone.
Although it’s been only a few months, I feel the impact that’s being created through RWU SCS. This is only the beginning and I can’t wait to see how else I will be able to make an impact on poverty.