Becca Stevens writes, “Living in paradise means looking for every opportunity for service. When we live full of service in love, we are already there.” Katy tries to live her life through love and service with her community. Her passion for service began at The Hockaday School in Dallas, while it has been further cultivated since coming to Vanderbilt as an Ingram Scholar. Katy has learned that she is involved in more than community service, but rather working towards social justice.
During her first year at Vanderbilt, Katy explored many different service endeavors. Many upperclassmen Ingram scholars introduced her to their projects. She volunteered at The Afterschool Program and Vanderbilt After-school Program tutoring and mentoring low-income children. She also served as a teacher to a class of girls in Pakistan through the Vanderbilt-Pakistan connection. Every week she got up at 5am to teach a lesson via Skype. She was grateful that she experienced a variety of tutoring and mentoring programs, however she found a long-term love for a program that works with refugees and immigrants in Middle Tennessee.
Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE) provides support for refugees and immigrants. Katy works under the education division, assisting programs of middle and high school students. Katy has developed a relationship between Vanderbilt and NICE and has expanded their volunteer basis. She supported students to volunteer three days a week at NICE. During her sophomore year she served as the liaison between NICE and Vanderbilt through the on-campus service organization, Grassroots. While she plans to continue working with NICE, she will be working as the Internal Development Chair of Grassroots to expand the impact of Vanderbilt students across the Nashville community.
In regards to merging Katy’s career interests with service opportunities, Katy volunteers in the Emergency Department of the Monroe Carell Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Katy also works with Project C.U.R.E., a national non-profit that serves to “deliver health and hope to the world” by providing used medical equipment to developing countries. They have a warehouse in Nashville where she sorts and packages medical supplies for shipments. Katy co-founded the service organization at Vanderbilt, Project C.U.R.E. at Vanderbilt, that serves to connect students to the non-profit in various capacities. Katy will work at their international headquarters in Colorado in the summer of 2015 analyzing their impact evaluation data and collaborating with their grant writing team.
Last summer, Katy spent a month in Quito, Ecuador volunteering at Camp Hope that serves the physically and mentally disabled. It was an incredible experience that opened her eyes to volunteering abroad.
Finally, Katy has served with Alternative Spring Break for two years, most recently as a site leader. Her first year, she travelled to Philadelphia to work with the immigrant population. This past year she designed the site to Birmingham working with various groups in order to experience the diversity of healthcare opportunities.
Katy is excited for her junior year where she plans to continue working with NICE, the Children’s Hospital and Project C.U.R.E. In addition, she is planning to take a service-learning class “Spanish for the Medical Profession” where she hopes to volunteer at local clinics in Nashville. Finally, she hopes to apply to study abroad in the spring of 2016 in Latin America. While she is amazed that 2 years have flown by, she is excited for what the future holds.