Northeastern University

Kayla Cormier - Class of 2011

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

I chose to be a Sociology major because I wanted to learn more about society and its’ intricacies in a way to create positive social change. I chose to add a Human Services minor for a more hands-on practical understanding of the theories and ideas put in front of me.

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

I chose NU because of it's co-op program and if I had to do it all over again, I would make the exact same choice. As an incoming freshman, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to major in. My biggest fear coming into college was studying something for 4 years and then graduating and realizing that I was going to have to go to a job that I hated everyday. I loved the idea of Northeastern letting me test out the waters a bit.

In fact, I transferred to NU because of the co-op program as I wasn’t entirely sure of what I wanted to do with my future. I wanted to get my hands dirty and really get some experience before I am thrown into the workforce not knowing what to expect. The network that I have developed through my experiences through my co-op on campus has created many connections that I believe will take me far in my future.

How many co-ops have you completed?

I have completed two coops.

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

My first coop as a Program Assistant with the Northeastern University Center of Community Service, opened doors to many new networks arising many new opportunities that I was sure to commit to.

In fact, I am finishing up my second coop with a non-profit organization that I connected with through my network in the Northeastern Center of Community Service. I am teaching bilingual computer classes part-time as Action for Boston Community Development Parker Hill/ Fenway Neighborhood Service Center, (ABCD).

If you participated in co-op, what were the highlights/great learning opportunities you gained?

In my first coop, it was great to be able have a more hands-on, behind-the-scenes knowledge about how service programs are developed for people. It was also great to learn about all of the available opportunities for civic engagement available throughout the Northeastern community and the Greater Boston area. It is so easy for people to get involved and make a difference and ever since I have been doing my best to get others involved.

In my second coop, I gained confidence in my teaching abilities and in my communication skills. As I am only working as an intern at ABCD, I am working to coordinate schedules and communication with a variety of different staff members in different programs to better my program and my students. There really are so many opportunities available, it’s just a matter of keeping the lines of communication open to learn about and develop them.

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?

Through my coop in the Center of Community Service, I connected with the Service-Learning program where I worked as a Service-Learning Teaching Assistant aiding with an International Business Spanish class coordinating details of the Service-Learning placement and led the learning process in the classroom.

Also through my first coop, I began my involvement in the Northeastern University Alternative Spring Break Program, (ASB), in which I acted as a team leader for a service trip to Ecuador during Spring Break last year. This year, I was chosen for the ASB Co-coordinator position in which I am working with my co-coordinator to develop trips, coordinate with respective team leaders and volunteers, and to make the program an overall success for the year. It is a lot of work, but it has been a great experience overall.

Also, with the help of my experience in the Center of Community Service, I was chosen as part of the group of 22 students to travel to Costa Rica on a Human Services Dialogue during Summer 2 2010 where we participated in Service- Learning with a local non- governmental organization and then implemented a capacity building project to assist the organization in its mission. It was an amazing opportunity in which I learned a lot and was able to practice my Spanish language skills and to learn about NGOs internationally. This summer, I will also be working as a TA for the Costa Rica 2011 summer dialogue and I can’t wait for this opportunity to see how the dialogue works from behind-the scenes.

I have also participated in the Center of Community Service’s services days and the nuSERVES program with incoming freshman that have definitely given me a lot of leadership experience in different capacities.

Have you Graduated from NU?

I will graduate from Northeastern this spring of 2011 and I plan on applying to the Peace Corps or an Americorps program, specifically the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship, in addition to some jobs in the non-profit industry. My coop opportunities and education at Northeastern has opened co many doors for me and has more directly defined my career path with all of my different experiences.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

(Thank you for all of your help and support, Lisa! I couldn’t have done it without you)

Questions Answered as of 11/18/2010

Kayla did some excellent work on Alternative Spring Break