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Emily Ortiz '17

Joins National Civilian Community Corps After Graduation


Life often takes us to unexpected places. For Emily Ortiz ’17, it took her from Lawrence, Kansas to Simpson College to London and, to Vicksburg, Mississippi.

From the minute she left Kansas, Emily knew she’d get her degree in history and political science. Opportunities in the John C. Culver Public Policy Center and helpful professors in the history department made that clear.

When she traveled abroad to study in London, Emily wasn’t alone. She was lucky enough to go with her roommate, someone she could share the memories with.

“We went all over Europe and got to see all these amazing historical sites like the palace in Madrid, to the St. Mary’s Basilica in Krakow, Poland,” she said.

So how is she finding herself in the south? A roommate did an Americorp VISTA program last summer and recommended their programs to Emily. Intrigued by the idea of traveling around the United States doing service work, she found the National Civilian Community Corps.

“Service work is something I’ve always felt pretty passionate about, and I knew I made the right choice to do this when I did an RLC service trip to Baton Rouge, an area where I might be working during my year of service,” Emily said.

Assigned to the southern region and based in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Emily will be working in teams of 8-10 people, doing various service work such as housing reconstruction, volunteering in National Parks and working alongside local nonprofits.

In the future, Emily sees herself working in a nonprofit or in a National Park or National Historical Society. It all starts with taking the first step.

“If it feels right, go for it,” Emily said. “The staff and professors are really personable and genuinely want you to succeed.”