After graduation, many students face the dreaded question: now what do I do? For Shaina Affatato, the decision was simple; she wanted to give back and do something different.
Shaina graduated from JMU in May 2010 with a BBA in Economics from the College of Business. As a graduate from COB, Shaina said there were a decent amount of job opportunities but before heading into the workforce, she wanted to give back in a different way. While at JMU, Shaina was very active in community service as a member of Gamma Sigma Sigma, a national service sorority, which ultimately led her to getting involved with AmeriCorps.
“As a first generation college student, I knew the struggles I went through during college, like working full-time while trying to maintain high academic standards, and I wanted to do something after college that allowed me to help students who were in a similar position,” Shaina said.
Because of her drive to give back and make a difference, Shaina became involved with AmeriCorp’s College Forward Program. College Forward provides college access and persistence services to economically disadvantaged and first generation college students. To participate in this program, Shaina had to make the move to Austin, Texas!
Making the Big Move to Texas!
For Shaina, moving to Texas was easy and she transitioned very smoothly.
For Shaina, working with AmeriCorps was a rewarding experience.
“I think seeing the reaction we receive from the students and how appreciative they can be to each member for taking the time to help them, made the experience so worth while,” Shaina said.
Though her toughest challenge was working with the population she was trying to serve, it was the overall cause that kept her going and helped to encourage her throughout her time there. Even when it felt like she was making a sacrifice, it was important to her to fulfill her commitment to the best of her ability.
“I think it is incredibly important to maintain perspective throughout the process and constantly be reflecting to maintain a high level of awareness during your time of service. It is important to really be present and regardless of the reaction we received from the people we served, know that one way or another, we did make a difference,” said Shaina.
Shaina’s work at AmeriCorps helped to clarify her career goals. She decided that though she enjoyed working with the education services, she wanted to work more on the policy side and indirect services instead of working directly with students. She is working for her family’s business in New York but is still considering becoming a lawyer or going to graduate school.
By Desirae Vivian Stevens