Angela Rollins graduated from University of Rochester in 2017 with a B.S. in Economics. This year she is serving as Rochester Youth Year Fellow/AmeriCorps VISTA at Kiva Rochester in the Mayor’s Office of Innovation. Kiva Rochester is part of microfinance nonprofit Kiva, and offers $10,000 or less loans with 0% interest or fees for under-served local entrepreneurs and small businesses in the city of Rochester!
What attracted you to Rochester Youth Year?
Mostly the posters outside every one of my classes, and the ones at the Career Center front desk as I was freaking out about what to do when I graduated, etc. I also had a few people I knew from high school who were participating in RYY which got me to look into it. “Economic Empowerment” was the big buzz word that got me interested. I studied economics at UR because I wanted to understand how the economy worked and what strategies were effective in giving people more opportunity. RYY seemed like a perfect way to get involved in this sort of work right at home. I started looking into what last year’s cohort was working on and got more and more excited about possibly applying.
How would you describe yourself?
I am an animal lover (I own a dog and a rabbit!) and nature lover. I love taking my dog on hikes at all of the local parks. I’m also a very detail-oriented person, and am usually the one in big idea meetings to try and figure out the first steps we need to take to move forward.
Why do you find meaning in service?
I grew up in the City of Rochester. I pushed against the current my whole life to climb above Rochester stats of graduation rates, college-ready-rates, teen-pregnancy rates, etc. I’ve worked hard to find ways to build my skillset into one that can make a positive difference in my community — this year of service is the fruit of many years of work. I am giving back to my community, and learning how to navigate the nonprofit and public sectors so that I can continue to work on creating change and opportunity throughout my professional life.
How does RYY fit into your professional goals?
I worked at Ibero American Action League for 2 years during college and knew I wanted to be part of the nonprofit or public sector in my career. RYY placed me at Kiva Rochester, run out of the Mayor’s Office of Innovation. I could not have gotten a better fit for my career goals — I am surrounded by big thinkers, analysts, and individuals who not only want to make change, but know how to make it happen with data driven strategies. I’ve gotten my dream first job right out of college! In just a few months, I can feel myself becoming a better problem solver, developing the skills and strategies necessary to navigate government and to develop creative solutions for problems as they arise.
What’s one fact that some people don’t know about you?
I’m a HUGE Final Fantasy fan!
If you could be any animal, what would you be?
A squirrel or some sort of bird of prey. (Squirrels are super fun and get to hang out in trees. Birds of prey are a little scary but also get to fly 🙂 )
What is one of your happiest memories?
The first time I ever hiked a mountain, my boyfriend and I somehow got lost off the path. We were frustrated and tired, and after about an hour we finally heard a group of hikers in the distance. We followed their voices until we got back on the path, and discovered we had nearly reached the top! The view from the top was incredible, and made it all worth it!
What are some of your top ways to explore Rochester on a budget?
1) Free astronomy telescope viewing at the Planetarium, Saturday 9-11pm all year!
2) Netsins Ice Cream -Opens is March/April, my all time favorite summer spot. HUGE ice cream portions and great flavors for $3 or less!
3) The Cinema -$3 for two movies! Plus theater cats to keep you company.
4) George Eastman House Gardens (the museum has a small entrance fee, but the gardens are totally free!)
5) Bar Louie $5 Burgers Every Tuesday after 5pm
6) The Public Market, for all around affordable produce! (And, if you’re on food stamps, they match $1 for every $5 you spend)
7) The Central Library Business Division – free review books for GREs, Civil Services exams, etc. and a GREAT staff to help answer all sorts of questions!
8) Lamberton Conservatory – really cool plants, pheasants, flowers, and fish! Very low entrance fee
9) High Falls Center and Interpretive Museum – a museum in the heart of Rochester, showcasing our rich history! Open on weekends, also very small entrance fee.
10) Geva Student Rush tickets! – Show up at Geva 15 minutes before the show starts, and if you show your student ID and there is a seat available, you can get a ticket for $15!