Sandra Orellana, a 2nd-quarter Project SPELL member and a fourth year Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics major, has always been heavily involved in volunteering. What motivated her to join Project SPELL here at UCLA was the fact that she has been translating for her mother ever since she can remember, and when she lived in the dorms, she also created close bonds with the UCLA custodial workers, many of whom were native Spanish speakers. Project SPELL seemed like a natural fit where Sandra could volunteer as an English as a Second Language tutor and be matched with a UCLA employee looking to improve his or her level of English. Her favorite aspect of Project SPELL is that through it, she knows she is making a huge difference in someone’s life, and seeing how happy it makes her employee learner gives Sandra the ultimate satisfaction as a tutor.
Sandra not only spends her time in Project SPELL, but she also participates in other volunteer opportunities through the Volunteer Center. Sandra has been an active member in Three Pillars, One University, which provides students with special needs from the Pathway at UCLA Extension program the chance to attend a professor research symposium to learn about cutting edge research. In addition, she has taken part in number of weekend volunteer projects through One Bus, One Cause, including tree planting at Lafayette Elementary School in Long Beach, California.
Next year, Sandra plans on continuing her love of volunteering in Houston, Texas as an educator in Teach for America, and she couldn’t be more excited. She will be there for the next two years teaching bilingual elementary, with the goal of helping children develop their fluency in Spanish and English. Her ability to speak Spanish as well as her lesson planning experience in Project SPELL will allow her to structure lesson plans that will target both languages.
After Teach For America, where Sandra will earn a master’s degree in education, Sandra aspires to work with children as a pediatrician. She would also love to be able to travel. Being able to combine both her love for kids and traveling is her ultimate goal and dream. The Volunteer Center is honored to have Sandra Orellana as not only an integral part of Project SPELL and Three Pillars, One University but as a crucial player in volunteerism as a whole at UCLA. Her involvement has and continues to be very admired.
About the Authors
Christie Groth is a UCLA senior who will graduate in Spring 2014 with a degree in Psychobiology. She is currently the social media organizer for the Student Committee of Project SPELL and loves being able to integrate herself deeply into Project SPELL. She is a total people person, and you can find her floating around at the workshops and get-togethers quite frequently. Don’t be shy and say hi!
Natalie Slama is UCLA junior physiological science major. She is the secretary for the Student Committee of Project SPELL and loves being able to work with her fellow tutors as well as with her learner. Feel free to ask her any questions about Project SPELL!