SheShinesOn … Gina Varamo, Science Club for Girls

STAT BOX

AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow

Has been with SCFG for almost 2 years

Q: Could you tell us a little more about your professional experience?

A: I just graduated from Emerson College in May 2013, so my AmeriCorps fellowship at SCFG has been my first post-graduation work experience.

During undergrad, I was very active with Girls’ LEAP Self-Defense, a nonprofit organization based in Dorchester that teaches physical and emotional self-defense to girls 8-18 in the greater Boson area. I started as a teaching assistant during 10-week programs, 1-2 week intensives, or one time events, and moved my way through the ranks to a mentor programs internship, campus chapter student coordinator, and finally a lead teaching position. I also volunteered with Citizen Schools during undergrad, writing and facilitating a 10-week curriculum about wetland environments and water. Environmental science and environmental justice have always been two passions of mine, so when I saw the fellowship posting for Science Club for Girls, I thought it would be a perfect fit of my love for the environment, youth empowerment, and all female spaces.

Q: What previous job or training has best prepared you for your work with SCFG?

A: Girls’ LEAP played a large role in helping me discover my passion for working with young women and pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector, but nothing has prepared me better than my incredible Massachusetts Promise Fellowship family.

The Massachusetts Promise Fellowship consists of 40 fellows across the state that complete a year of service at schools, nonprofit organizations, or government offices. All fellow projects revolve around youth development, and focus on one of our five promises: a healthy start, a safe place, a caring adult, an effective education, or an opportunity to serve. We have monthly professional development meetings where we focus on topics such as ableism, racism, & adultism, working with youth that have experienced trauma, curriculum development, and facilitation. Through MPF, I am also able to work on my Master’s degree in nonprofit management for free at Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies, and my coursework has been very helpful in my work with SCFG.

Q: What did you have to learn to do in order to be able to do your job?

A: Essentially everything! I do not have a science background, so I’ve had to learn a lot of the science my teens are working on and terms they use. I’ve also had to learn how to manage volunteers, curriculum, participants, recruitment, and space for multiple teams all at once! I’ve definitely had to practice managing my time effectively, planning in advance, and being very flexible to ensure teams run smoothly every week.

Q: What advice would you give to people who are interested in your org’s type of work?

A: Patience. A lot of times we go into nonprofit organizations hoping to change the world… but the amount of times that happens is rare. I know my work will not touch everyone, and all of my girls will not go on to go to college and be scientists and engineers. But, if they have taken away something, whether it be how to write a resume, or they learned they loved poetry or business, or they felt like they had a safe place to go or someone to listen to them– that is really what matters. It’s collecting all those small victories and small stories that make this work wonderful.

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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