September 25, 2017

Nicole Funk, a junior from Lexington majoring in natural resources and environmental science in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment with a Spanish minor, participated in an Education Abroad semester-long direct exchange program at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) in Quito, Ecuador. It was through a community internship that Funk received recognition for best of “Pasantía en la Comunidad” (PASEC) work at USFQ. All USFQ students must complete this program in order to graduate, and international students also have the opportunity to complete a PASEC program if they wish.

For Funk's PASEC service program, she completed a service-learning experience at Instituto Educativo Fiscomisional Hogar Cristo Rey, a middle/high school located about 10 minutes from USFQ's campus. It was at Cristo Rey where Funk, with no prior experience, excelled at teaching English to students.

"I think engaging in the community is important because it allows you to do something good for the community that is hosting you and welcoming you in,” Funk said. “Secondly, it gives you a more well-rounded view of the community where you are living. Volunteering at Hogar Cristo Rey showed me that even in such a seemingly wealthy area, there is poverty. There are many people who lack opportunities and resources, and those people's voices need to be heard."

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Gail Hairston, 859-257-3302,

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