CEAP: An Experience That Can Open Many Doors
Originally from the East African country of Eritrea, Delina Aylay came to the United States with her family in the 6th grade. They settled in Orlando which prompted her to explore Florida universities so she could remain close to her family. She fell in love with USF the moment she set foot on campus citing its charm and vibrancy. Upon her arrival to USF, she immediately set to getting involved.
She joined the African Student Association and the Global Citizens Project (GCP). Delina first heard of the UACDC through GCP which enabled her to do perform community service. She then discovered that the University Area Community Development Corporation (UACDC), partnered with USF’s Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships (OCEP) through its Community Engagement Assoicates Program (CEAP). Becoming a CEAP student at the UACDC allowed her to work on “projects [that] were very fast-paced and changing because of the needs of the community.” Additionally, while at the UACDC enabled her to earn a GCP scholarship, which she used to study abroad in Italy. As a global business major, studying abroad was always a goal and CEAP helped her achieve it. “Overall, I think was a really important experience—it opened a lot of doors for me,” Delina stated.
Her role at the UACDC helped her achieve many other goals. Through her work in the Community Development and Human Resources departments, she was able to develop real world skills. Delina was intentional about utilizing her CEAP experience to elevate her resume, which ultimately led to a position with the United Nations Association’s Orlando Chapter and later as a current graduate student at the University of Florida. Her sense of career readiness that she gained through the CEAP experience was accompanied by improved student skills. She says her role at the UACDC taught her to “prioritize, plan, and manage” her time more effectively and describes the CEAP position as “one of the highlights of [my] undergrad experience.”
Through CEAP, Delina was able to grow as a leader while supporting her community and developed a love for serving others. Delina wishes to use her skills and education to help those struggling in her home country of Eritrea, but for now, she’s happy to help wherever she can.