Hi! My name's Ansley Kunnath, and I'm a senior undergraduate student majoring in Cell Biology and Neuroscience.
How did you first get involved?
I first got involved with YES my freshman year through the X-Cite Nite program. I immediately loved working with kids in the community (even though they always destroyed me at dodgeball).
Why have you kept coming back to volunteer with YES each semester?
My mentees! It's been such an incredible experience to develop a mentoring relationship with the children that I tutor and learn about their individual personalities, talents, and stories. It's also rewarding to know that my service with YES makes a real difference in the community.
What are your favorite things about YES?
I like how YES provides several different services for New Brunswick youth, ranging from after-school tutoring to recreational activities to summer camp. They really care about their students' entire well-being.
How has YES impacted your life?
Helping YES start and run the A2E Tutoring Program has undoubtedly been the proudest accomplishment of my Rutgers career, and I highly encourage other people to get involved with leadership too! It's so rewarding to see your hard work pay off when your mentees move up a reading level or finally figure out how to do a difficult math problem.
What is your most memorable moment?
My most memorable moment at YES was when I told one of my mentees that I was going to college to become a neuroscientist. She replied that she didn't know girls could be scientists. I felt so honored to be able to challenge that gender stereotype for her and let her know that she could choose any career she wanted.
Why do you think people should volunteer with YES?
Volunteering with YES allows you to make a real difference in the educations and lives of underprivileged children. It's so easy to go through college without ever leaving campus, but volunteering with the community gives you perspective on the real world and a sense of purpose during the dark days of expository writing and organic chemistry. Also, you get to relive elementary school by playing fun games with the children, like building marshmallow towers and paper airplane contests!
How has this experience helped you grow personally and professionally?
Volunteering with YES increased my awareness of different social issues in New Brunswick. I believe this exposure has helped me become a more empathetic person. I've also developed my organizational and communication skills by leading A2E, which will definitely help me in the future as a physician-scientist.