January VISTA Spotlight

January 10, 2020

I had the pleasure of speaking with Jesenia Hiraldo, a former VISTA who just completed her service year at Columbia College in November. She served as the Communications department’s communication coordinator and before she left, I had the opportunity to speak with her about how she liked her service year and any plans she has post-VISTA.

During her service year, Jesenia got to participate in Columbia’s Giving Tree, a clothes & book drive, she helped out with that hosts showcases for other Illinois based schools. She also helped with electronic compliance binders that help record important information for grants and federal money that her institution needs. She’s “very proud” of the professional projects she has accomplished such as The Giving Tree, a clothing drive, helping students with their needs and she learned how to use city span graphs and excel. She also is proud of the personal growth she’s had. “I have social anxiety and I’m glad that I’ve stepped out my shell more and have learned how to take constructive criticism better,” she later stated.

Overall, Jesenia very much enjoyed her experience. However, there were some things about her experience that she felt could be improved. She thought that her supervisor was okay but she wished that there wasn’t a “passive environment.” She also wished that her age wasn’t an issue as she felt that her supervisor “treated me like an intern,” instead of a mature, young adult. However, she took the experience as a learning one so she “knows what it may be like in the real world, work-wise.” 

As for her post-VISTA plans, Jesenia plans to move to New York City to work as a grade-school teacher for AmeriCorps. She is very excited to travel and she is very proud of herself because it’s a bug step pit of her comfort zone. “I never thought that this would ever happen in my life, where I take a big risk like this,” she later said. “However, sometimes making a big change like this can grow into something beyond your wildest dreams.”

We at Campus Compact Illinois wish Jesenia the very best!