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DiCicco’s commitment to service leads to City Year post

When Alex DiCicco came to Cornell he didn’t know he was interested in civic engagement, but he found himself involved in organizations supported by the college’s Civic Engagement Office. He was part of the college’s long-running Lunch Buddies program, and the mentoring program with the middle school as well. He enjoyed working with kids, but he didn’t necessarily see what he was doing as service.

Alex DiCicco '13

Alex DiCicco ’13

That changed over his time at Cornell, and after graduation DiCicco will be working with kids again, this time as part of City Year, where he’ll serve as a teacher’s aide and run programs before and after school.

By his sophomore year he was the resident assistant on a floor for first-year students interested in community service. He also joined the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group Board—a rare thing for a student.

And he joined the SKYs, a Greek group dedicated to community service, which he says made an enormous difference in his life. The group pushed him to become more involved and broadened his view of what kind of service he could do.

“It’s a community that’s passionate about a whole range of issues, including service,” he said.

DiCicco also met the requirements of the Iowa College AmeriCorps Program (ICAP) by completing more than 300 hours of service in a single year, and he was the volunteer coordinator for the Civic Engagement Office. In that role, he saw how dedicated some Cornell students are to service.

“It’s been a blast to see what my fellow Cornellians are doing,” he said.

All of his involvement led him to be among the first students to declare a minor in civic engagement, to go along with his major in psychology. His internship at the Willis Dady Emergency Shelter in Cedar Rapids combined learning about the academic side of psychology, the administration of a non-profit organization, and the issues that contribute to homelessness. Another internship, this one with Matthew 25, a Cedar Rapids non-profit, helped to cement his love of working with children as he helped to run a walk-in program for at-risk youth during the summer.

As part of City Year, an AmeriCorps program, DiCicco will work in a classroom in Orlando, Fla., helping to keep students in school and helping them succeed academically. He heard about it from a friend who’d applied last year.

“He thought it would fit in really well with what I stand for,” DiCicco said.

Alex DiCicco’s highlights

  • Iowa College AmeriCorps Program
  • Civic Engagement Office volunteer coordinator
  • Internship at Matthew 25
  • Internship at Willis Dady Emergency Shelter
  • Alternative Spring Break
  • Resident Assistant for a floor dedicated to community service