Green Iowa AmeriCorps High School Summer Members of 2021: Bhoomika Shettigar
Green Iowa AmeriCorps has several high school students serving across the state of Iowa, and Caroline Mascardo has interviewed and put together profiles for all 7 Members. Meet Bhoomika Shettigar, a Sustainable Schools Member serving with the WasteTrac Education Team in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Last school year, Bhoomika Shettigar was looking for productive ways to spend the summer before her senior year. After hearing about Green Iowa AmeriCorps (GIA) through her school’s volunteer club and friend (and fellow summer member) Elena, she applied for a position with Sustainable Schools as part of the WasteTrac Education Team in Waterloo.
“I decided to apply to GIA because I thought it would be a great way to give back to my community. I also talked to a couple of former summer members, and they loved the job,” Bhoomika said.
“I wanted to have a strong summer before my senior year, and GIA was the perfect fit; I could meet new people, improve my social skills and spend time being productive.”
Since starting her service term, Bhoomika has found that her position with GIA has additional benefits, especially after a year of school during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now that I've been on the job for a couple of weeks, I'm also realizing that this job will be great for transitioning back to in-person school after being online for more than a year,” she said. “I'm looking forward to meeting new people through outreach and volunteering events. So far, I have really enjoyed meeting people from other sites and branches.”
When working on various Sustainable Schools initiatives, Bhoomika’s experiences as a high school student influence how she searches for improvements in her community.
“While I am a GIA member, I'm also a high school student who would like to see school-level changes made in terms of sustainability. I have a good idea of what students and teachers would like to see implemented at the school level because I already have my own ideas based on my experiences here,” Bhoomika said. “Taking these ideas and using them in the GIA setting will not only benefit the school, but it will also help other GIA members cater to the specific needs of the Cedar Valley school districts.”
Although she ultimately plans to pursue a career in healthcare, Bhoomika believes that serving with GIA can be a valuable experience for all, especially for fellow high school students.
“I think everyone should consider a job with GIA because there are some things you just can't learn in school. The Sustainable Schools program is especially beneficial because you can be involved in your school's sustainability efforts and have a lasting impact on [future] students' lives,” she said. “I love how there are people of various ages, not just of high school age. As a student, I've been so used to being around people who are only my age, so it's nice to experience ‘real-life’ scenarios where the work involves many types of people.”