November 06, 2017
Isabella Moles '21 grew up around conflict, she said. Now, as a Susquehanna University Service Leader (SUSL), she has the opportunity to help other children who face the same adversity.
The SUSL program is a service learning opportunity for first-year students to engage in a four-year leadership and training opportunity to influence youth development in the region. Susquehanna's first cohort of Service Leaders met publicly Nov. 2 with their partner organizations.
Moles, a communications major from Selinsgrove, is paired with the Central Susquehanna Valley Mediation Center, which supports constructive responses to conflict through mediation services, group facilitation, training and education. Moles will receive conflict mediation training and assist young students from the Selinsgrove Area School District in learning strategies to resolve conflict.
"I am hoping that my own experience growing up will be beneficial," Moles said.
The remaining Service Leaders and their partner agencies are:
- Jennifer Cesak, psychology, New York City, N.Y., Lewisburg Children's Museum
- Erin Holland, mathematics, Philadelphia, Pa., Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way
- Michael Smerlick, marketing, Pottsville, Pa., Lewisburg Children's Museum
- Jose Martinez Rivera, psychology, Reading, Pa., REC Center/Snyder County
- Katherine Moronta Rodriguez, finance, Philadelphia, Pa., REC Center/Snyder County
- Taishiana Tsosie, sociology, Houck, Ariz., Central Susquehanna Valley Mediation Center
- Tyler Zimerofsky, business administration, Pottsville, Pa., Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way
The SUSL program is funded by a $7.1 million grant from a longtime friend of the university that wishes to remain anonymous.The program is led by Sarah Farbo, assistant director with the Career Development Center.
Moronta Rodriguez sees her position of Service Leader as a way of paying forward the help she received as a young immigrant from Puerto Rico.
"I'm really excited to be a resource kids can rely on," Moronta Rodriguez said. "And I'm looking forward to seeing these kids grow up."
Service Leaders also receive leadership training and professional development opportunities to prepare for life as civic leaders, attend monthly meetings, participate in one winter break service trip and one eight-week summer of service and more.
"This is everything I've ever wanted in my college experience," Moles said.