How I joined the S-L Family

Written by Service-Learning Teaching Assistant Linda Yan


I like doing community service and enjoy being in the classroom. From volunteering as a museum guide, a mentor of a 7-year-old girl, to working as a Spanish instructor in my spare time, I have enjoyed the pure happiness of helping people and seeing them gain knowledge.

For me, Service-Learning is a perfect combination of both—classroom and community service. As an S-LTA, I work closely with my professor in and outside of classroom to help students learn. On the other hand, I keep in direct touch with community partners to guarantee real outcomes from students’ volunteer jobs.

I feel so lucky and thankful to be part of the S-L family. This beautiful journey actually stared from a volunteer experience. Back to September 2016, I arrived in Boston for my master’s degree. I was searching all kinds of resources on the university website and found the NU Service Day, sponsored by the Center of Community Service. I was immediately drawn to this cool idea — on a certain day, hundreds of students go to different spots in the nearby communities and volunteer to support people and organizations in communities, rain or shine. I applied for the team leader position. After two training sessions, I worked with my five team members in Roxbury and helped an elderly lady to pack since she was going to move soon.

The volunteer experience with the Center of Community Service was so great that when I saw that the Service-Learning Program was recruiting S-LTAs, I didn’t hesitate even a second to apply for it. I noted my excitement on the day of interview — “kick off your limitation and optimize your talent”, I reminded myself. I got the S-LTA job and started working with Professor Michelle Borkin for her Information Presentation and Visualization course (DS4200) in the College of Computer and Information Science. As a communications student without any knowledge and experience of data and coding, I felt excited and stressed at the same time. But this is one of the amazing parts of the S-L Program.

Being an S-LTA is not an easy task and requires strong communication and leadership skills. I’m so glad that the S-L staff are giving us the most effective support and training to achieve the goal and gain competence. Like my team manager Anika commented, the S-L Program has very high expectations for student leaders but meanwhile offer them the most needed support to help them succeed and excel.

I’d love to express my deepest respect and gratitude to the S-L Program and staff members. I experienced the utmost happiness and accomplishment seeing students presenting their final projects in class and in S-L Expo. I’d like to thank them for their years of hard work with passion and determination. This is such a supportive community, and everyone is kind with a big heart. You all gave me so much warmth and support.

S-LOVE from Linda Yan

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