Jessica Coccimiglio, a third year Communications & Interactive Arts and Technology student, is no stranger to volunteering.
She is an active volunteer in the Vancouver community, using her volunteer experiences as a method to advance her career goals. Read on to find out more about Jessica’s volunteer experiences and her advice on how you can get started with your volunteer opportunity search.
What kind of field are you hoping to go into after you graduate?
I’m hoping to someday help a company or non-profit communicate their projects to the public better, or maybe create things that would make science easier to understand for people who don’t study it, and more fun for kids. If I’m lucky, I’ll get the chance to work for UNESCO (United Nations Education Science and Culture Organization) and develop communication strategies for the world.
What made you first want to start volunteering?
I first started off volunteering with my high school youth council, mentoring elementary school students at my community centre. From day one, I was hooked because I saw that it was a fun, low-cost way to learn and practice new skills, as well as meeting new people.
What is the most memorable volunteer experience you have had in the past?
A few years ago, I was helping this grade 7 girl to get some practice in public speaking before her very short speech to the leadership group. I remember watching her getting so enthused about the task as we were brainstorming ideas, and then listening to her confidently speak briefly to her peers about women’s/girls’ issues and empowerment… it was so cool, and that sort of thing is really inspiring.
What volunteer activities are you currently involved with?
Right now, I am a Gallery Educator for the Vancouver Aquarium. Later this summer, I will be the Guest Relations Manager for Anime Evolution 2010, as well as the host for Voice Actor Idol at the convention.
What are some of the volunteer opportunities you plan on exploring in the future?
Oh my, there are so many! If I ever get the time, I might want to be an SFU Orientation Leader. Also, I think it would be neat to help other students with their writing, as a writing tutor for the Student Learning Commons. I also sort of want to get involved with Marine Mammal Rescue at the Vancouver Aquarium. Perhaps I may even learn to do gardening around my community or participate in event photography.
What advice would you give to students looking to become more involved at SFU and in the community?
Talk to people. Talk to lots of people, find out what they’re up to, and you just might meet someone who needs a hand. Such people can often be found on the first week or so of the semester when there are events to introduce you to the SFU community. Otherwise, Volunteer Services just below the bookstore and they can hook you up with ways to get involved, as well as SFU’s online job posting system, Symplicity, and the ENGAGE blog.
Also, don’t volunteer for a group or cause you don’t like, or feel is poorly organized. Even if there are nice perks, it will suck your energy out just like working a job you hate, so always make sure that your volunteer activities match your interests.
There are many ways in which volunteering can be used to further your career goals. Jessica Coccimiglio is doing it. How about you?
By Flavia Kajoba