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Carrie Rice:
Coordinator for the new Center for Service Learning & Civic Engagement at Worcester State College
By Sasha Fastovskiy

Carrie Rice is leading a revolution. “Why thank you, it’s my first one,” exclaims the bubbly-blonde Townsend native. She is referring to interviews, though, not revolutions. Carrie is a member of Worcester State College’s most recent graduating class, but she’s back again; this time in the role of a coordinator for the new Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement. The Center’s mission proclaims its dedication to challenging students to “…investigate root causes through course curriculum and supervised projects designed by community partners,” and defines service learning as experimental education. Students are encouraged to seek to solve community problems, in the process developing deeper understanding and skills for themselves.

Carrie is also pleasant and positive. “I want to lie and say that I’ve always been into outstanding service work,” she laughs. Instead, she happened to fall into it. After transferring (“Yes, I was in college for five years. I figure I got an extra year of learning!”) from Fitchburg State College to Woo-State, “…something clicked” and she knew she wanted to stay in the academic circle. Upon graduating with a sociology degree, she joined AmeriCorps and signed up as a Mass Campus Contact, volunteer “Vistas” who use their AmeriCorps skills and experience in college settings to educate future generations for “responsible citizenship.”

This young lady hit the ground running on her new position. The bulletin outside the CFCLCE is covered with the latest projects run by Carrie, her co-workers, and the Chair of the Sociology Department, Corey Dolgon. There are advertisements for local Christmas giving programs, fliers encouraging community service activities, definitions of service learning and civic engagement, and Carrie’s most worked upon effort, an “alternate” spring break trip to Nicaragua. And Carrie plans ahead ~ she intends to create a comprehensive website that incorporates service into the classroom.

“I’d like to have service activities on one side [of the website], and teachers and classes on the other. That way, people can find another and get out there, make civic engagement more widely used…maybe eventually service learning classes. People should realize the problems out there, and they don’t,” Rice explains. “I’m just a bridge, putting people together; I get to help the community, the students, and myself.”

Ultimately, Carrie would like to be a professor, but she’s in no hurry. “I’m not ready to move on; I’ve still got a lot to learn here.” And she has plenty to teach here, as well.

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