For Analisa Sorrells, a December 2017 graduate from Windermere, Florida, time in service at UNC led her to her dream career path – one of giving back and helping others.
“When I arrived at Carolina, I immediately got involved with Tar Heel TABLE and the Buckley Public Service Scholars (BPSS) program,” Sorrells said. “I was set on studying nutrition. I was fascinated by food and how it impacted our health and our livelihoods. I took an entire first year of prerequisites – anatomy and organic chemistry in all – before a few experiences that completely changed my academic and career course.”
Those experiences were in service.
The summer after her freshman year, Sorrells interned with Feeding Children Everywhere, an Orlando nonprofit that provides healthy meals to those in need. “I learned more about the startling reality of childhood hunger – both domestically and internationally – and about the various nonprofits and organizations working to end it,” Sorrells said.
“When I returned to UNC for my sophomore year, I took on a larger role in Tar Heel TABLE, learning more about hunger that existed right outside my dorm window in Chapel Hill.”
At the same time, Sorrells also enrolled in her first public policy class. “I took the class on a whim and fell in love with the material. For the first time, I learned about more than just the social problems facing our world – but about the possibility we each have to make a positive impact on them through our careers and through service. I changed my major to public policy and never looked back. After taking the APPLES service-learning course on nonprofit consulting and serving as a board member for TABLE, my interest in the nonprofit sector was solidified.”
During her sophomore year, Sorrells also participated in an APPLES Service-Learning alternative winter break where she was introduced to the concept of learning outside of the classroom. She engaged in hands-on service in the Asheville community, meeting with community leaders, local government agencies and nonprofits connected to hunger and homelessness.
“I was able to grasp the issues at hand more deeply than ever before,” Sorrells said. “This experience encouraged me to enroll in APPLES service-learning courses and continue pursuing skills trainings through BPSS, as they completed my undergraduate experience in a way that traditional coursework never could.”
During the summer of 2017, Sorrells partnered with EducationNC through the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation Fellowship. She worked on the early childhood team and learned more about the importance of early childhood education, nonprofit management and social justice. Her project with EducationNC combined her interests in education and nutrition, allowing her to study and report on summer meal programs in North Carolina.
After her fellowship, EducationNC offered Sorrells a position as a reporter and executive fellow for the spring of 2018. Now with more than 300 service hours under her belt through BPSS, APPLES and TABLE, Sorrells said that this position is a perfect fit for her interests.
“It allows me to work in a nonprofit organization that I believe is striving to make North Carolina a better place for all,” she said. “I will travel across the state and meet with various leaders and change-makers, as well as report on pressing issues in education and public health. I look forward to taking the lessons I’ve learned inside and outside of the classroom at Carolina and put them into action with my role at EducationNC.”
Photo credit: Rhesa Versola