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Graduates seek ways to help others

By : Rachel Coker

Two young women who received bachelor’s degrees on Sunday plan to devote the next year to serving others – and to self-discovery.

Christina Muscatello, a history major from Binghamton, will serve as a counselor at the Trail Blazers camp for underprivileged children this summer before beginning a stint with AmeriCorps.

Muscatello, who hopes to teach elementary school, said she’s eager to travel and have new experiences before attending graduate school.

Linda Spiro, a psychology major from Brooklyn, will join HealthCorps, which educates children about diet, nutrition and exercise.

Spiro is interested in a “helping profession” but hasn’t settled on social work, teaching or a related field just yet. Rather than apply to graduate school while feeling so uncertain about her plans, Spiro sought a way to help others while learning more about her options.

Spiro and Muscatello, both 22, were among a group of Binghamton students who attended a nonprofit career fair, held in March at Columbia University and sponsored in part by the Career Development Center.

Spiro said that’s where she found HealthCorps, which combines her interests in psychology and teaching. The dean’s list student has made a one-year commitment to the organization and expects to work in the New York City metro region.

“Money’s never been that important to me,” Spiro said, noting her parents have been supportive of their only child’s decision to put off graduate school in favor of public service.

Muscatello visited Costa Rica with a volunteer program last summer and was so moved by the people she met that she worked with other Binghamton students to raise $12,000 to build a library there during winter break.

Muscatello, who was active in Habitat for Humanity and Amnesty International on campus, received the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence this spring.

She said she didn’t even consider going straight to graduate school or getting a job in the private sector. She had already applied to AmeriCorps before the career fair, which is where she learned about Trail Blazers.

She said she and her friends aren’t “hippies” but they’re also not focused on their careers at this point.

“We’re borderless,” Muscatello said.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08