What Brought Me to Bolivia

I was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. After two years living in the Bethlehem/Allentown area, my family moved to our current home in Easton, Pennsylvania. I still live in the Lehigh Valley, which I will always consider my home. I grew up with my mother and my brother in a growing development of houses and with plenty of children next door. I attended both Catholic grade school and Catholic high school, always wearing some kind of uniform. Almost my entire class of 46 eighth graders from St. Janes Frances de Chantal Catholic Grade School went to Notre Dame High School Green Pond, making it an easy transition from grade school to high school.

I was always an active student in high school. I was in National Honors Society and Key Club. I also participated in my school’s choir and theater productions. In addition, I am a three year league and district medalist in the 300m hurdles on the track team. I helped organize my school’s 24-hour dance miniTHON, and was always in the front row cheering our football team on to victory (and many losses as well).  I worked at a ski resort over the winters teaching children how to ski, along with hostessing at a small restaurant down the street on the weekends.

I only applied to a few colleges with an intended major in engineering. I knew I wanted to stay in the state, and close to home so that I could make trips if I needed. The University of Pittsburgh was the furthest school I applied to at about five hours away. I was very excited to be in the city of Pittsburgh and make my own experiences away from home. I was finally starting my own life with my own choices.

My first semester in the engineering school was hard (to say the least) and I hated my classes. I decided engineering might not be the best fit for me. The second semester I decided to take general education classes that could potentially get me into business school. I was still enrolled as an engineering student, in case I decided I wanted to return. But after the first few weeks, I decided what career path I wanted to follow and I knew I would never go back to engineering. I raised my GPA and transferred into the business school for this fall semester.

I decided to go into business because I always thought I worked well with others. I am one of the few people that likes working on group projects. I always enjoyed brainstorming with other people because they can add things to your ideas that you otherwise would not have considered. My declared majors are supply chain management and marketing with a minor in religious studies. I worked in a hotel over the past summer and absolutely loved every minute. It showed me the inner workings of a different type of production line and how to properly interact with people. I have always liked looking at the production line and working towards making it as efficient as possible. The business school will help me improve the skills I have and develop the ones I need to be successful in my field of work.

I am trying to pursue a career in hospitality, even though the University of Pittsburgh does not offer that specific degree. After working at a hotel during the summer, I realized that a hotel is exactly where I belong, making my transfer to the business school that much easier. I have found supportive friends and faculty that are helping me find my path here in the business school. I am creating my own path, hopefully paving a way for others to follow in the future.

The service learning project I am working on is partnered with two companies; Amizade and CEOLI. Amizade is a nonprofit organization located here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that finds service projects around the world and helps find groups of volunteers to get involved in these projects. They try and create relationships between different people from all over the world, trying to show others that people do care and people want to help. CEOLI is the school that Amizade helped my group and I get in contact with. CEOLI is a school in Cochabamba, Bolivia that helps children and young adults with physical and mental disabilities. The government cut their funding a few years ago, and they need help finding revenue outlets to take advantage of. CEOLI is full of life, love, and happiness, and is a beautiful organization that should be able to continue the help they provide for so many children.

This service learning class is helping me realize the potential I have to help others, while also bettering myself. In this specific service learning class, my group and I are developing a plan to help CEOLI generate revenue to continue providing their services to the children and families that attend the school. Amizade is currently connecting my group and I to the school in Bolivia. I wanted to take this class because it will provide me with a sense of adventure, while learning new things and getting credit towards my degree. This class will give me international business experience, while also taking me somewhere I never would have otherwise gone. It will open my eyes to the diversity in our world. This service learning class and trip will show me that we are all human, but we are not all the same.

I hope to academically better myself through this class by learning how to properly get my ideas from my head, to paper, and also how to properly and clearly explain my ideas when speaking to someone. I also hope to learn how to work with a larger group of people, and work on developing trust in my teammates. Professionally, I hope to learn how to better communicate with clients, and make things clear for everyone to understand; the international aspect of this course will help me learn how to do this if working for foreign companies in the future. The experience in this class will help diversify me when looking for jobs, and give me a boost in interviews that others may not have.