Northeastern University

Lindsey Voet - Class of 2013

Human Services and International Affairs with a minor in Sociology

Why did you choose this major, and does/did it seem like the right major for you? Why?

I entered Northeastern as an International Affairs major. After taking (and loving) an International Relations course in high school, I thought it'd be a good fit for me. After my first year, however it became clear to me I was much more interested in the hands on, non-profit side of International Affairs, and sat down with a counselor to talk about changing my major. Turns out it is really easy to create a combined major at Northeastern, so instead of dropping International Affairs, I was able to create a major that better fit my specific interests. Because a combined major allows several courses to count for each major, I had the time to declare a minor. The beauty of a Human Services major is there are so many other majors you can easily pair it with. The most amazing part about Human Services and International Affairs is you start off with this mentality that there are people out there suffering, with no help, and no hope. But when you get into these places in the field that you’ve built up in your head, you find more often than not, there are already people there who working to achieve the same things you want. Sometimes the best use of your time is to focus on learning from people who have been doing things a lot longer (and often better) than you.

Why did you choose NU? Was/is this the right school for you?

This is such a loaded question for me, because initially, Northeastern wasn't my first choice. I knew that I wanted to go to school in Boston; after touring a few schools in the area I knew it was the town for me, but my heart was set on another school. My decision to go to Northeastern came down to my financial aid package, while Northeastern offered me a scholarship, my first choice school did not. I told myself I'd give Northeastern the year and if I hated it I'd transfer. Turns out it was the best decision of my life. Northeastern has given me the best friends I could ask for, has challenged me academically, and gone above and beyond in the opportunities it has given me.

How many co-ops have you completed?

I completed three co-ops - one in the Boston area, and two abroad.

If you participated in co-op, can you list give a quick synopsis of what you did?

  • (GHETS) Global Health through Education, Training and Service (GHETS - Development Assistant

  • GHETS is a non-profit in the Boston area that awards micro-grants to healthcare professionals in developing nations. What my job entailed was a lot of organizing for grant proposals, website updates, marketing and preparation for an international healthcare conference. I'd had a lot of experience in direct-service, volunteering aspects of non-profit work, but this was my first opportunity to learn more about the managerial aspects of non-profits.

    It was such a wonderful feeling going into work every day and finding my inbox full of e-mails from all over the world. Working for such a small non-profit, it was great feeling needed all the time. I wasn't just the intern who never gets to meet the Executive Director, and because of that, I learned a lot. The highlight was without a doubt our trip to an international health conference in Kathmandu, Nepal. At the conference it was amazing getting to put faces to people I'd been coordinating with throughout my co-op and to hear firsthand about their experiences in healthcare development in their countries... also I got to ride an elephant in the jungle, so dream come true.

  • (FSD) Foundation for Sustainable Development - Volunteer

    It had always been a dream of mine to work abroad, and to be honest, before I left I was in disbelief that I finally had the opportunity to do the things I used to read about other people doing. While in Bolivia, I lived with a host family in Cochabamba, Boliva, completely immersed in the Spanish language.

    Through FSD I was paired with a women's soap-making cooperative and daycare/afterschool center in Cochabamba, Bolivia called Centro Integral WARMI. Working at WARMI, I had the opportunity to create a project, write a grant for it to request funding, and implement it. My grant focused on a publicity campaign for the women's soap in the hopes of increasing their sales market and decreasing dependence on outside forms of aid.

  • Northeastern University’s Program - International Student Advisor

    For my final co-op, I worked an International Student Advisor for the program, a Northeastern University program, which sends 132 first-semester Freshman college students to study abroad in Melbourne, Australia. While there, I worked as an Resident Assistant, Teaching Assistant, and in the study abroad office at the Swinburne University of Technology.

    Did you have any other "learning from outside of the classroom" (service learning, student leadership, study abroad, research, or volunteering) that also enriched your time here?

  • Dialogue of Civilizations in Morocco - Instead of taking summer classes, I got to spend summer of my sophmore year studying abroad in Morocco for five weeks through a Northeastern program called Dialogue of Civilizations. It definitely beats studying in a classroom and because it’s a Northeastern program all of my credits transferred over as if I took classes in Boston, and my financial aid and scholarships covered a majority of the cost. I lived with a host family, rode a camel in the Sahara desert, and even got to spend a couple of days in France, learning about the French influence on Morocco.

  • Service-Learning at the Food Project I had the opportunity to complete a service-learning project through a Human Services course that had me volunteering at a non-profit in the Boston area called The Food Project (which focuses on teaching urban and suburban youth about food systems by working on a farm.) Although I was only supposed to spend 30 hours over the semester there, I stayed on after because I loved the organization so much!

  • Alternative Spring Break in Honduras - I participated in Northeastern's Alternative Spring Break program and spent spring break of my third year volunteering for an organization called Daisy's Children in Honduras. I cannot speak more highly of a program - if you go to Northeastern, you absolutely must participate in ASB at least once in your time here.

  • Service Learning Study Abroad in Cape Town -Through CIEE's Cape Town Service-Learning Program, I was able to take a full semester of classes at the University of Cape Town focusing on issues such poverty and inequality, social research, and community partnerships, while completing over 150 service-learning hours at the largest public Tuberculosis hospital in the Western Cape, Brooklyn Chest Hospital. Because South Africa has some of the highest rates of Tuberculosis, and the disease is mutating to the point of becoming drug resistant, the government’s policy on treatment is strict: containment through isolation. Because children are less contagious (due to Tuberculosis in their glands instead of in their saliva) as a service-learning volunteer, I spent a majority of my service hours in the children’s ward, at the hospital school, assisting. It quickly became evident to me that there were simply too many students for the teachers to handle, many of which experienced significant barriers to learning, including cognitive delays (due to Tuberculosis,) a language barrier, and behavioral issues (as a result of emotional trauma.) Inspired to make learning easier, I designed and implemented a Capstone project at Brooklyn Chest Hospital, aimed at increasing access to educational materials and learning methods in the hospital’s school. After raising over $400 USD through an online social media fundraiser for supplies, and connecting the hospital with a local non-profit which provided technical support, I was able to install a network in the school’s computer lab so that on-site teachers could access educational materials on their hard drive for students, and provide better, more individual ways of learning to students.

  • RSP The Resilient Sisterhood Project – Human Services Intern

    For my Human Services Internship, I completed 100+ hours volunteering with a start-up nonprofit, focused on empowering and educating African American women on women’s reproductive health and rights. Through the internship, I researched grant opportunities, compiled a database of potential funding sources, connected the organization to social media platforms, and assisted in community workshops.

    Have you Graduated from NU? If Yes, please let us know what you are doing and if you think your co-ops and experiential education have helped you in your career path.

    Yes, I graduated Magna Cum Laude in May of 2013 from the College of Social Sciences and Humanities with a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and Human Services, with a minor in Sociology.

    Currently, I am serving as a Team Leader with AmeriCorps NCCC’s FEMA Corps program. This unique partnership between AmeriCorps and FEMA provides the necessary aid and assistance to disaster survivors in areas such as Individual Assistance, Logistics, Public Assistance, Mitigation, etc. Through the program, I will spend the next 10 months traveling the U.S. to areas of disaster with a team of 7-10 Corps Members.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Figuring out what you want to do in life is important, but figuring out what you don't want to do is even more important. I can't stress to you how many of my friends hated their co-ops, but were so grateful for the experience - let me explain. Imagine graduating from college, entering your first full time job and realizing you hate it. What's next? The beauty of co-op is you get to try something else. The beauty of co-op is you get to try out a career before you commit to it.

    I encourage you to use your time at Northeastern University take chances and to try things you never thought possible. You have the rest of your life to settle down, and only a couple of years to really take advantage of these opportunities.

    Lindsey created a Video for the Coolest Co-op Contest!! Check it out!

    The University did a short article on Linsdey. Check it out!

    Lindsey maintains a blog about her travels and experiences. Check it out!

  • Questions Answered as of 10.31.13