Urbano Project has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It’s been a family affair with both of my older sisters taking classes. At first I didn’t want to join simply on the basis that I didn’t want to be the third one in my family to go through this program. Still, one day my best friend convinced me to join with her and I haven’t looked back since. Joining in the Spring of 2013, my first program was Crossing Urban Boundaries. We were given the opportunity to speak directly with members of the MBTA and that experience is something I will never forget. From then on I was hooked. I was never the most artistic in my family and I still can’t draw or paint, but Urbano gave me something else; a voice. As an Urbano Fellow, I discovered the power of public speaking. I was pushed outside my comfort zone at each Urbano assembly, given more and more responsibilities in leading groups in conversation and critiques. I’ve since put on presentations from 10 to 100 people, completely unfazed by the audience thanks to the practice I got at Urbano. Urbano also taught me how research, cut linoleum, and the best way to put marshmallows on chicken wire. The greatest thing Urbano taught me was that expressing my opinions is important and has the potential to shift views.
I continued to work with Urbano as a student through the fall of 2013 and an Urbano Fellow until the summer of 2015. I graduated from Newton South High School in June of 2015 and went on to attend Denison University. I have since completed my first year at Denison and have returned to Urbano as a Summer Teaching Assistant. Through my first year at Denison I ran an event for the first-year student body to discuss campus experiences; I spoke in front of 50 students about race and sexual orientation. I also joined two executive boards for culture based organizations and interned at the campus radio station.
In the fall I will be returning as the First Year coordinator for the LGBTQ group on campus, a projectionist for the film society, a radio DJ on WDUB, Vice President of the Student Farmworker Alliance, and a member of the board overseeing all 18 cultural organizations on campus. Everything I learned at Urbano has influenced my ability to get involved in these programs. From learning how to conduct interviews to how to throw a good public event, are skills I picked up during my Urbano experience. One of Urbano’s biggest influence was introducing me to the world of film editing. My Urbano class, Square Roots of Boston, provided my first opportunity for film creation. I’ve fell in love with the art of filmmaking and am now a Cinema and History double major in College. My eventual dream is to graduate and travel making documentaries about life in the world around me and I know the skills Urbano shared with me will help me get there.
-Serena Allegro, June 2016