The New Path – Ashley Garcia Quiterio ’25

My first year as a CBL Intern and my first ever blog- post!

One of the best things that CBL has helped me and further develop is my new interest in my life: volunteering at the Worcester Public Schools Adult Learning Center. Volunteering at WPS- Adult Learning Center this past fall semester and now continuing to volunteer during my spring semester is the best thing I could’ve done. I never in a billion years thought I would have been interested in going into the education world after college.

I remember my first day there, dropped off at 24 Chatham St. around 5:45 pm. I was early for once. I waited for Kashana, the night educator in charge, to tell me what I would be doing for the night. I sat on the bench, thinking to myself what I would be doing here because the only thing I knew beforehand was that I was helping out with technology classes, which was partially true. Now, I’m teaching those basic technology skills to 2 different beginner English classes. There’s times where I come up with new lessons for the classes, too. What can I say, I am a whole teacher now without being licensed and I love that!

A lot of the adults/students come from different cultural backgrounds – the majority of them are from South America, México, and the Caribbean. Others are Brazilian, Albanian, and from Sudan. At the beginning I was worried about interacting with these adults from various backgrounds and found it to be challenging for me because I didn’t know if I was going to be good at communicating well with all of them. Over time. that stopped being an issue because the students, myself, and the teachers worked together to help each other out. Every time I step foot into the classroom I just see smiles and laughs which brings me happiness and joy in the work I do with them because, not only are they learning, but I am as well. I remember I had these assumptions/ideas about people who teach because I didn’t feel I had the qualified skills that they do. Patience was one of them. I’m a person that easily gives up on things when I see them not working how they should be and blame it on myself which was something I didn’t realize I did in my life until I started volunteering there.

I am constantly growing as a person and gaining new skills that being a part of WPS Adult Learning Center has helped me without me knowing and I am forever glad of the community that I am a part of with them. Education, teaching, and being the one doing that is something that never crossed my mind in doing and now look at me. Even though I am not 100% sure of being a teacher, I am one step closer in knowing the path I want to go in life than before. 

How Do I Immerse My Passions? Am I Meant For Only One Path? Answer: Be Open To Change – Fernanda Perez-Alvarez ’24

When I first agreed to join the Non-Profit Careers Conference, I was unsure of what to expect. Of course I knew there would be panels, speakers, and it would revolve around non-profit organizations in Worcester, however, I had never attended a week-long conference that I, at first, believed was straying away from future career goals. Now having come out of the conference I want to share my passion for non-profit organizations with others while still being pre-med, but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, let me start from the beginning. 

The first day of the conference my stomach was turning as I walked down the steps of ‘Science’ (science building) toward Smith Laboratories. I had been so used to entering Smith Laboratories ready for Chemistry classes, yet I was greeted with kind smiles by CBL Interns, Mattie, and Isabelle. It felt a bit as though two of my different worlds (academics and CBL) had collided. Although I am a returning CBL Intern, I am still trying to pave the way for two of my passions, medicine and CBL (community building, immersing in community, working for and with others, etc). I want to mash these two passions together and create a vocation out of it. Although I am a Biology major with a LALC concentration on the pre-med track, it can be hard talking to other students majoring in the STEM field and even pre-med students about the importance of CBL. I want so hard for them to understand what it means to be immersed in the Worcester community. I want them to see how important it is to work with non-profit organizations to better understand how they themselves can go out into the world ready not only for themselves, but others too. I understand that better now thanks to the CBL Intern Program, but I am still learning. 

During the NPCC, there were sessions students could choose from to attend. I attended Lynn Lancaster’s (HC Alumni ‘86) session about Grant Proposal Writing. I went into the session thinking I would simply learn about how to write proposals in order to receive grants. I was very wrong and actually learned about Lynn’s road to her current job. There are so many twists and turns in life that it is important to remember that change can be good. One just has to be open to it. It was during this talk that I realized how glued to one single path I had been this whole time. It is definitely possible to do non-profit work and go into medicine. I just need to be open to change. I realized how important both my CBL and science experiences are. I began to really think that day about how intersected both fields could be. On one hand, I was to be a provider of health, but yet I could still do non-profit work by helping in clinics doing behind the scene work. 

As I began working with my team on our designated non-profit, Girls Inc., I began to also think about my identity. I thought about other women of color in the field and what it means to be in STEM as a woman of color. I began to reflect on experiences I had as a young girl. I grew up a daughter of Mexican immigrants in a low-income community. I’m now at a predominately white institution in a predominately white field. Imposter syndrome is almost impossible to ignore, yet CBL and the NPCC conference reminded me what a gift it is to grow up understanding first hand what it is like growing up as a woman, POC, and low-income. These intersecting parts of my identity are what are now able to help me pursue my two passions. The NPCC and Girls Inc.’s mission were a wake up call for myself and for what the future holds. 

Going forward, I am not pressuring myself to stick to one single path, but instead to be open to multiple and allow my experiences to guide me. Currently, I am working with young 2nd grade and kindergarten students at Girls Inc.. Seeing these young girls reminds me of after school programs my parents would place me in and I find such joy working with these young scholars to prepare for future chapters in their lives. I can’t wait to continue working with Girls Inc. this semester (as well as my senior year) and be a part of more CBL reflections to help me discover more about myself and what I want to do with my life.