Thursday, September 12, 2013

An Example of the Long-Term Impacts of Spanish Community Service Learning

Seeing your students succeed is a true pleasure. Today I received an e-mail from a former student who just accepted a job offer. I was a reference for her. The company was eager to hire her before she accepted an offer from anyone else. When I spoke glowingly of her, I was simply confirming the impression the company had already formed of her. I can honestly say that everything they wanted her for were qualities that I had already seen when she was my student in my Spanish course on social entrepreneurship that involves community service learning.

And here's the kicker: she was my student seven and a half years ago.

7 1/2 years. 

Seven and half years later, she still remembers what we did in that course. She still remembers the 1-page business plan assignment. She still remembers her work in the community--in Champaign-Urbana and Chicago.

Of course, I'm not saying my course made her successful. I am saying, though, that this kind of course reveals talents that are never put to use in traditional classes. It shows students in a different light. It lets students develop different "muscles." It lets the professor (who will eventually become a recommendation letter writer) see more facets of the student.

Just read her note, and you will get a sense of how long out Spanish community service learning's effects can be.
Dear Ann,
 I received and accepted a job offer today for ContextMedia, a company providing healthcare education. Thank you for your recommendation! I'm beyond excited about this opportunity and because it's a small company growing rapidly I'm looking forward to putting my entrepreneurial spirit in action!
 So many aspects of this company caught my attention. A few I want to share with you! First, from my experience working with so many groups of people (esp. Spanish speakers/Latinos) they will consider me a valued resource in making content culturally relevant to patients. This interests me so much! They want my opinion! Also, they (like you) totally understand media/technology's role in education, up to making it personalized and all. It will be very cool to be a part of the innovation process and product development.
 Ann, the experiences that I had as a student in your class and assisting with the internship program were so valuable and something I think about a lot. The excitement I feel now reminds me of the way I felt as a student in Spanish for Business coming up with my One Page Business plan, a bilingual literacy having gone through higher ed courses in Education plus teaching experience, I'm sure I would change it a lot... BUT I loved the idea and loved being an entrepreneur because I was passionate about education and I was passionate about understanding people and culture. I'm back at that happy place again.
 Katie, the HR manager, shared a few things with me about your conversation. It feels wonderful to have someone that I admire so much speak so highly of me. I'm grateful and I appreciate you Ann!
 She's especially talented, yes. And this is what her new bosses tweeted about her, right after her interview.

Rishi Shah @RishiShah10 Sep
I loved a candidate so much today I walked out and hugged our talent manager. For real :) #theyAREoutthere #dontsettle

Shradha Agarwal @shr4dha10 Sep
My biggest high in life = meeting amazing candidates I feel like hiring on the spot and bringing into our @contextmediainc family!

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