FELLOW OF THE WEEK: NICOLETTE POCIUS


unnamedNicolette is a First Year Fellow serving at Northeastern University Marine Science Center 
as The Beach Sisters Program Fellow!

1. What inspired you to do a year of service? 

I have had a heart for service for many years, and have volunteered with multiple organizations.  I was involved in the Catholic Student Organization at my college, and was fortunate to have a leader who was passionate about social justice and volunteerism.  Her passion inspired me; however, the amount of service that I have done has gradually decreased over the past several years.  I began to feel that I was lacking something from my life and yearned to be in a place where I could truly make a difference.  Thus, I decided to search for a new position.
When I first saw the description for the Beach Sisters Coordinator at Northeastern Marine Science Center, I felt like the job had been written with me in mind.  I studied Marine and Freshwater Biology in college, and have a love for education.  The Beach Sisters Coordinator position combines these passions and enables me to give back.  I started my year of service with a renewed sense of purpose and the determination to make a difference.

2. Describe your favorite project at your host site this year.

I have the great fortune of working with girls that are a variety of ages.  I work closely with six teenage peer leaders, who lead programming for teenagers, middle school children, and elementary school children.  One of my favorite programs was a lesson that we did with the middle school girls.  The program involved four different stations, at which the girls learned about temperature, pressure, light, and salinity in the ocean.  The peer leaders did an amazing job leading the program, and the middle school girls had an incredible time doing hands-on science.  The following day I saw some of the middle school girls doing science homework and asked them how they were doing.  One girl responded that she hated science.  I was incredibly surprised and when she saw my face she responded that she didn’t hate my science- she loved my science!  That was an incredible compliment and made me realize that I am truly making a difference.

3.Share an inspirational quote that is meaningful to you and why.

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” -Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall has been one of my heroes for over fifteen years.  Her work is an inspiration and a testament to the difference that one person can make.  Jane decided to make a difference for chimpanzees and other primates, and has been a champion for conservation and animal rights issues.  Like Jane, I want to make a difference.  I know that my position with the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship has put me in the place where I can truly make a difference in the lives of many girls.

4. What do you do to practice self-care?

Prior to my fellowship, I had never heard of the term “self-care.”  I understood the importance of taking time for oneself, but not the necessity.  Now that I am serving, I have come to understand that in order to truly give myself to my service, I need to take time for myself to recharge and refill my “reserves.”

One of the ways that I practice self care is by playing roller derby with Boston Roller Derby. I’ve played roller derby for about a year and a half, and started playing with the 10th Mountain Roller Dolls, in Colorado.  I absolutely love playing roller derby- it’s a great way to release stress!

Spending time outdoors is another great form of self care for me.  I love to explore nature, regardless of the season, and in the winter I use skiing as a form of self care.  Skiing is one of my passions and prior to my fellowship I worked as a ski instructor for five years.

5. What is the funniest thing a young person has ever said to you?

I’ve worked with youth for many years, and have heard many funny things.  Last winter I rode the chair lift with a five year old skier.  The child was talking about his dogs and said he had a chocolate lab and a vanilla lab (as opposed to a yellow/white lab).  I burst out laughing when I heard that!

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