Fellows Rising: Page 6 of 6
During her four years at UNH, Erinn Vittum has traveled to more than 11 countries, studied philosophy in Dublin, Ireland, and learned how to play basketball thanks to some kids in East St. Louis. And those, she said, are just a few of the highlights of her college career.
“I’d never have the opportunities I have now without UNH,” she said.
A first generation college student with a double major in psychology and philosophy, Vittum arrived at UNH knowing she wanted to help others. But it was after joining the student organizations Aspiring Hands, which connects student volunteers with local after-school programs, and Alternative Spring Break Challenge (ASBC), which organizes community-oriented spring break trips, that Vittum realized how to direct her passion.
It was an ASBC trip to East St. Louis, Illinois, that cemented her path. There, Vittum and the group worked with underprivileged kids at the Christian Activity Center. She read to the kids, helped them with homework and got a crash-course in basketball.
“When we went to eat in the cafeteria, they’d talk about their day and the struggles they went through,” she said. “We were able to listen to them and just help them get through things.”
At UNH, Vittum conducted research for an honors thesis on domestic and sexual violence prevention efforts among middle school students with professors Katie Edwards and Victoria Banyard. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in either clinical or counseling psychology and is currently applying for case manager jobs in the region.
“It’s about what I can do for kids,” she said. “It’s about making an immeasurable difference in their lives.”
Vittum is as serious about having fun as she is about academics. During her semester in Ireland, she worked in weekend trips to 11 countries while balancing a full course load.
“I went paragliding over the Swiss Alps, which is probably the coolest thing I’ll ever do,” she said. “The university helped me travel the world. It introduced me to some of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with. The student organizations I joined introduced me to my passion. It shaped me.”
Written by Larry Clow
Photo by Perry Smith Photography