Chi Nguyen ’18 of Hanoi, Vietnam, is working with the Chenango United Way, which is a funding organization in nearby Norwich, New York. Chi is working with members of their staff and board to conduct site visits for the organizations that receive funding through the United Way. She is developing a new rubric that the organization can use during two site visits each year to evaluate programs, and she is attending the mid year site visits with review panel volunteers to score and give feedback to program organizers to acknowledge their programs’ strengths and weaknesses, along with their achievements and challenges.
Chi is learning a lot about not for profits in the Upstate region through her work. She went into the project hoping to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges that not-for-profit programs face, both here and around the world, so that she could learn more about feasible solutions that might help them achieve their missions. She is being exposed to skills for managing community-based programs, budgets, resources, and collaborations. She is developing her problem-solving skills, and learning to approach and address challenges with new technologies.“While the responsibility for this position is hard,” Chi says, “I experience the joy coming from the sense of community, especially when we can all be happy and congratulatory when funded programs are able to meet and even exceed their projected outcomes and goals, and utilize the United Way dollars to make tangible changes to the lives of Chenango residents.”
As a rising sophomore, this is Chi’s first experience with a community-based project. She is taking advantage of the opportunity to meet with various people who inspire her to value community development, and to gain professional working experience. “While I just finished the first year of college,” she says, “being a Field School Fellow and guided
by my employers and coworker at work helps me apply knowledge in real life professional situations, build and improve skills in my area of interest, and figure out what I want to commit myself in my future career path.”