Julia Hohenstein is a third-year in the McIntire School of Commerce, concentrating in Finance and IT and also double-majoring in statistics. Julia is the co-chair of the Madison House Board of Directors, a board that is comprised of five student members and 10 community members. She has also volunteered with Madison House as a tutor and an income tax preparation assistant through the program CASH. Additionally, Julia participated in Alternative Spring Break during both her first and second years. Her first trip was to Portland, OR, where she worked with Portland Parks and Recreation. The following year, Julia attended the Death Valley, CA, trip where she worked with the National Parks Service. Both trips were programs that focused on environmental stewardship. Finally, Julia also serves on the Public Service Programming Board, an organization that strives to provide funding for student-run service projects that benefit the community.
How did you first get involved?
My middle school offered a class where students were asked to design a charitable event or organization. Looking back, this was truly my first introduction to community service, and I now realize what a unique opportunity it was. We were given the time and resources to not only learn about community service but to turn our lessons into action. My class partnered with our local food bank and spent the year organizing a series of food drives, fundraisers, and events.
What has been most rewarding?
The most rewarding aspect of my community service interactions is definitely meeting the people who will directly benefit from it. There is no better feeling than seeing their reactions. That is one of the reasons I love tutoring so much. I love working with my student every week and watching them grow, watching the light bulb go off in their head when a difficult concept finally clicks, or feeling trust build as week after week we open up to each other more. I spend a lot of time now on the administrative side of things, as that is where my future interests lie, but I always try to keep a balance between any behind the scenes work and direct involvement.
What is your #CommunityCommitment for next year?
In terms of the immediate future, I hope to return as a CASH (income tax preparation program) volunteer in my fourth year. I am going abroad this coming spring semester, so I am not able to volunteer this year, but that program is incredible and has such a direct economic impact on the community, so I would love to return as a volunteer. However, my overall #CommunityCommitment is to be an avid listener. Service is stagnant, and needs change. Because of this, we must never stop listening and striving to meet needs as they arise and transform.
How can others get involved?
I think the beautiful thing about service is that there are so many different types, so many different ways to get involved, and thus it can really fit in any schedule. Pick something you are interested in, whether that be tutoring or coaching team sports or housing improvement or environmental efforts. You don't need to overcommit yourself, so start small if that works best.
What has been the greatest class you have taken at UVA?
Design and Analysis of Sample Surveys (sorry, my inner stat nerd is coming out) taught by Jeff Holt. The class involved six group projects, all of which Professor Holt would propose a challenge and we would then have to design a sampling scheme to solve the challenge, go out and sample, and report back to him our findings. For example, we had one challenge that involved determining the number of books in the UVA library system. Yes, it was a statistics class, but it was also a critical thinking class. I took it as a first year, and it really felt like the perfect introduction to problem solving and critical thinking at a higher level. Additionally, Jeff Holt is one of the best professors I have had. He is an incredible lecturer, educator, and person.
What is your favorite UVA tradition?
Trick or Treating on the Lawn! I think it is such an incredible event that brings together UVA and the community.
If you could do one thing to make the world a better place, what would it be?
I am very passionate about universal access to healthcare. I would love to transform the industry to ensure equal and adequate healthcare for all.