Fiona Cotton ’11 has had a busy summer so far and plans to keep it that way. During the three-month break from campus, she is working with a number of organizations focused on helping refugees and immigrants in the United States.
The past few weeks Cotton has been working in Rochester with the Catholic Family Center, helping with the various programs it has established for refugee assistance. She has been working with Guillermo Cubillos of the immigration and refugee services office. Cubillos works with individuals to help them obtain green cards, as well as help bring their families into the country. Cotton aids with the paperwork, files, and applications. She also works directly with the families, as well, helping them settle into their new lives in Rochester.
In addition, Cotton has been working near her hometown of Geneseo, N.Y. with the Migrant Center of Livingston County. She helps with the English as a Second Language (ESL) program, assisting in the instruction aspect of the program.
“It’s amazing to see how strong these families are and how they deal with a completely different culture and lifestyle. It’s been fascinating to see the different parts of the settlement process and the challenges that both the immigrants and aid organizations face today,” she says.
In July, she will head down to North Carolina to continue her work with people coming into the U.S. She will volunteer at Amigos Internacional, an organization that helps support the Hispanic immigrant population. She will work on the behalf of the organization’s interpretation and translation services. She will then come back to Livingston County for a conference with representatives of the Mexican Consulate in August.
The rising senior has an individual major in comparative social movements in Spain and China, also possessing minors in international relations and Spanish and Hispanic studies. She hopes her work this summer will pay off later on.
“I want to continue studying international relations and work more with non-profit organizations and NGO’s,” she says, “Being able to get involved with a few very different groups will really be a valuable experience for me.”
While on campus, Cotton participates in several clubs and organizations. She is the vice president of the Asian Student Union and a Spanish teaching assistant. She will be house manager of the International House for the upcoming year, while continuing her work at the Boys and Girls Club in Geneva as a tutor.