December 20, 2011
|Alumnae Katie Powell and Luisa De Guzman (far left) serve as AmeriCorps Public Allies in Miami.
No matter how adventurous you are, diving into a new experience is always more fun with a friend by your side. That’s what Katie Powell (Class of 2011) and Luisa De Guzman (Class of 2011) discovered when they both headed to Miami earlier this year to become Public Allies with AmeriCorps.
The pair met as first-year students in an RCC course, bumping into each other regularly over the next four years. This past summer, Assistant Director of Community Engagement Meredith Hein informed them that they had both applied for the same Miami-based AmeriCorps program. Even though they had already planned to join the federal service program on their own, they were thrilled to learn they would be sharing the 10-month journey together.
“I am definitely someone who does not like change, especially since I was so attached to Rollins,” De Guzman shared. “For four years my life revolved around everything I did at Rollins, whether it was with academics, the co-curricular activities I was involved in, my friends or my sorority. To leave all that was honestly painful. Katie has been absolutely wonderful through this transition.”
In her role as a Public Ally, De Guzman is working at Saint Mary's Cathedral School as a language arts teacher and tutor for grades 1, 2, 3 and 4, as well as a math tutor for grades 5, 6, 7 and 8. She’s also one of the administrators of the school's after-school program.
Powell is working with Catalyst Miami, a nonprofit that, among many initiatives, works to connect local farmers markets with underserved communities. Powell is helping a handful of markets get approved to accept food stamps.
The duo live in an apartment together in Little Haiti. “The transition from college to work life has been huge and having someone with me who is going through all the same things has made a big difference for me,” said Powell, who as a non-Spanish speaker has also been very grateful for De Guzman’s Spanish language skills.
“I feel very lucky that we were placed on the same path by chance because we can now be each other’s support system,” said De Guzman. “I left my family back in Orlando and Puerto Rico in order to fulfill this dream. Katie has been like a sister to me these last few months.”