Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Volunteer Spotlight: Sue Gill

Wednesday night College Zone Coordinator Sue Gill (center) has been with Cabrini Connections since November 2009. Back when she was applying for college, she chose to attend Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She graduated in 1985 with degrees in French and Psychology. Thinking back to that time, Sue says, “I didn’t spend as much time thinking about [my decision] as I should have… [Marquette] wasn’t a great match for me.” Sue grew up in Rockford, Illinois – ranked one of the worst places to live because of its joblessness – and, while she enjoyed her time there, she was looking to move to a big city. Unfortunately, Milwaukee wasn’t as big as she’d hoped. This process is a lesson she wishes to pass down to students in the College Zone. “Really think about where you want to be,” she says. “Don’t just go along with other people.”

The most redeeming experience of her four years at Marquette was the calendar year she spent abroad in London, England. “This is what I’m talking about,” she remembers thinking. She studied in the spring and fall and had the entire summer to wander around. Spending that much time away from home “makes you feel like you can do anything,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to go.”

After college, Sue moved to New York City which marked the culmination of her big city dreams. She worked as a prop and wardrobe stylist for commercial photographers. “What makes New York neat is that people sort of live their lives on the street,” she says. Sue did a lot of walking to soak everything up. “I love the different neighborhoods… [New York] is very tall but very small… every second is exciting.” Her passion for the city comes through clear as she talks about it; makes me want to go right now!

Eventually, Sue moved to Chicago to be with her future husband. He is a children’s singer. They publish his recordings and children’s books and sell them online and in stores. They live in Oak Park with their two teenage daughters. Sue loves being a mom. She says, “It is bittersweet to watch them get older, but so exciting.”

Sue discovered Cabrini Connections online while searching for opportunities to volunteer. College Zone Coordinators Stephanie Rogers and Carla Reyes helped her get acclimated in the fall, so now she’s pretty comfortable with the routine. “I love it,” she says. “It is really helpful for [the students] to talk to somebody who can sit with them and go back and forth [about the application process.]” There are a broad range of possibilities and Sue hopes to expand the bank of choices they think they have.

Thanks for all you do, Sue! We are happy to have you as part of the team.

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