DeBlogs > Guest Blogs > practical-service

Community-Service Scholarship Makes Her Career Path Clear

When Rebecca Woods was applying for financial aid, she discovered DePaul’s community service scholarship

“It fit with my personality and what I wanted to do,” says Rebecca, who grew up doing service projects with her family. “The classes in the program sounded really interesting; I wanted to learn more about gentrification and segregation in the city.”

She and the two dozen other students in her cohort choose a location to spend about 30 hours each quarter volunteering. In some classes, they dig deep into issues such as homelessness, marginalization and racism. In others, they “unpack” their experiences, sharing what they’ve learned and exploring what service means to each of them. 

“Service has been very humbling in both my academic and non-academic experiences. I’m meeting people I wouldn’t have met, putting myself in their shoes,” she says.  “It’s taught me to think more critically about my actions and my education and how lucky I am.”

Rebecca spent her first three years at DePaul volunteering at LIFT, an advocacy program in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. She started as an advocate and worked her way up to the leadership team. Now a senior, she’s supporting senior citizens living in a retirement community. At both locations, her volunteer work has had an impact on her résumé.

“I developed professional skills as well as academic skills. I created marketing campaigns for LIFT, trained people, developed organizational skills, learned to delegate,” Rebecca says. “I really got a lot more out of it than just putting in my hours."

Her experiences also have shaped her professional goals. Although she’s always wanted to work in marketing, she now wants to work on cause marketing for a socially responsible company.

“My community service and business ethics studies have really crafted my goals,” she says. “Applying for the community service scholarship is one of the best decisions I’ve made.”