Framingham Native is New MACC VISTA Community Service Coordinator at WPI

Contact: WPI Media & Community Relations

Worcester, Mass. -- Karen Lynch is the new Massachusetts Campus Compact (MACC) Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) community service coordinator at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The Framingham native is a 2000 graduate of Boston College.

"WPI is excited about working with Karen and continuing a relationship with MACC VISTA that began last year with our first volunteer, Lindsay Freed," says Gregory Snoddy, WPI's student activities director. "As our community services coordinator, Karen will be responsible for encouraging student volunteer activities in the Worcester community and serve as the liaison between Worcester and WPI students."

The MACC VISTA program places 20 volunteers on host campuses throughout Massachusetts to serve as mentors trainers and resource-gathers. Since the program began in 1997 volunteers have continued to have a positive impact on the campuses they serve. They begin their service with an intensive training program in facilitative and situational leadership, early childhood literacy and numeracy, and campus-based community service issues.

"I wanted to give something back to the community and when I heard about the MACC VISTA program it was the perfect fit," Karen says. "Boston College is dedicated to service and my outreach efforts there gave me the enthusiasm for community service." While at BC, Karen was a volunteer at Haley House, an executive board member of Students Concerned with Ignatian Awareness, and a teacher and tutor at the BC Neighborhood Center.

Karen has already begun preparations for her year-long assignment. Besides the above-mentioned training program, she is working with the student activities staff in planning for the upcoming WPI freshman/transfer student orientation on Aug. 26. Also, she is evaluating more than 100 responses from entering freshmen that want to participate in WPI's community service work-study program. Last year 12 students were involved in a community service work-study program at Elm Park Elementary School, the First Baptist First Friends School and the Worcester Art Museum.

Additionally, she has begun the planning for two alternative break opportunities for students, one in the fall to South Carolina, and another in the spring. Both involve Habitat for Humanity projects.

The daughter of Edward and Sheila Lynch of Framingham, Mass., she plans to go back to school and eventually pursue teaching, possible at the college level. Besides her volunteer efforts, Karen's leadership background is preparing her for the future. She served as an inter-library loan office assistant at BC, completed a summer internship with GTE Government Systems, and taught English as a Second Language at the Thomas Garner School in Brighton. She also participated in the BC Study Abroad Program at the National University of Ireland, and was a member of the Golden Key Honor Society and the Irish Society.