Fellow of the Week – Serina Saunders

fullsizerenderSerina is serving her first year at Flying Cloud Institute.
What inspires you to serve?
 What inspires me to serve is the amount of interest that there is for programs as my host site. Its not usual that young women are interested in science so the fact that they make a reoccurring appearance to the program each session, bringing their friends and their smiles is such a joyous experience. Also, I get to watch their growth as they mature through life and the program. I get to offer opportunities that they may have never considered they’d be able to be apart of. Being someone who has such a positive influence on the young women in this community is one of my most inspirational serving factors.
What social justice issue are you most passionate about and why?
A social justice issue that I am most passionate about would have to be the issues our society is facing in regards to race. Being an African American my heart hurts for all those effected by this shameful time. Not only do I hurt for those directly effected, but we who aren’t directly effected seem to have to carry this huge weight on our shoulders.. like we are all what they perceive us as no matter how much we are showing the world that our skin color does not define who we are and what we are capable of. A lot of the worlds advances came from African American intellect, we have made a huge contribution to society and it seems like all that is ignored.. just because the skin color of an individual just so happens to be darker than others. Race, being socially constructed, isn’t about skin color.. it was initially about showing superiority and separating those who didn’t fit the bill. Now that we are in this time of confusion, race issues are making is extremely hard for us African Americans who are just trying to live, live.
Why would you encourage others to join the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship? 
I would encourage others to join the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship for the end product. Yes, there is more work than pay and it may feel like the job is not worth is but I promise it is. As much as the struggle occurs during the year, there are just as many or even more positives that creates optimism. We get to learn about and observe youth in their journey through adolescence, a time that is exceptionally difficult and we get to be a great contributing factor to how successfully they venture down their paths. Not only that, but there is a huge network of great people that we as MPFellows get to be apart of. Whats better then good connections/networking opportunities and new friendships? These also cool benefits at the end of the year of service that I think is just great, and makes finishing off the project that much sweeter.
Who has been your biggest support this year?
 My biggest support this year is my supervisor Lindsey Berkowitz. She is always there when i need her. She seems to know every answer to any questions I have, as well as coaching me through issues so that I can get go about it on my own for future references. Shes awesome as a supervisor, making sure that I’m not overwhelmed with work as well as making sure that I have work to do enough to keep me accumulating hours. She lets me figure out how i work on things and she works with me according to my pace and style of work, which is great because I haven’t gotten the chance to figure out stuff like that in a workplace environment yet.
Describe the greatest adventure of your life.
 The greatest adventure of my life would have to be finding myself and who I am. Even though I may technically be past the time of when people usually find out most of what they like and like to do etc.. I know I have just barely scratched the surface of that for myself so I know that throughout life I will be slowly figuring these things out. It can include joyous experiences, it may include tough times but in all those times I will be shaping the qualities, characteristics, likes & dislikes of me, which is a great experience all in itself.
What do you do to practice self-care?
 To practice self-care, I get plenty sleep. I know I don’t work well when I am fatigued so I make sure I get my cat-naps in when I have the chance. I also play some video games (xbox 360 gamertag – creamycrackcurl .. add me :D) as well as hanging out every now and then. Hulu preoccupies my free time as well.
What benefits have you been able to take advantage of as a Massachusetts Promise Fellow and how has your experience been with those benefits?
I haven’t gotten a chance to really make use of the benefits ..yet, and that’s okay with me. I feel as though the most beneficial aspects are more towards the end of serving. The MPF specific benefits and the projects completion is what I’m trying to grab hold to.
How is MPF preparing you for your future career aspirations?
MPF is preparing me for my future career aspirations in a way that gets me more in-tune with my work style and what I want in a work setting. Not only am i being fed all this juicy information that will help me in my year of service, but I’m sure i can apply to any project. I am also learning more about working with youth and that is the main area of work I want to be doing in the near future.

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