Ladies in Service Part II: Sally Chen

It’s part two of Ladies in Service, because service is a great thing to dedicate your time to! There are always people in need, and just a little bit of your time can make a huge difference, just hear it from our lady in service this week!


As a playing card:




Name: Sally Chen


House: Winthrop House.


Concentration: Joint concentrating in Hist & Lit and WGS.


Career Aspiration: Death. Just kidding. Grad school/law school, nonprofit work at some point.  


Secret power/weakness: I have mild dermatographism AKA "skin writing." I'm basically allergic to human contact.


I volunteer with the Phillips Brooks House Association Chinatown Citizenship


The Two Question Portion:

HC: What does public service mean to you?

SC: Public service, to me, is really about working with a community to address a significant need. Helping our constituents prepare for their naturalization exams, we see tangible results and are always excited when our students come back to tell us that they passed their naturalization exam. Immigration and citizenship are particularly important issues in this current climate and I firmly believe that the work we do as a naturalization assistance program is highly political and thus all the more significant. I also just really love the community! I'm always humbled and inspired by how hard-working our constituents and volunteers are. Whether chatting over dim sum or just spending time together at our semester potluck, I love spending time with the CCit family.


HC: What is one of your favorite memories or experiences from volunteering with your organization?

SC: One of my more memorable experiences as a director with CCit actually happened just last weekend! A student who has been with our program for over four years returned at the beginning of this semester after failing the naturalization exam earlier in the year. The registration fee is around $600 for two exam attempts, and given that the population we serve is mostly elderly and low-income, the stakes were high.  For the last few weekends before her exam we arranged for her to drill mock interviews nonstop and were over the moon when she came back last week bearing a mixed box of Ferrero Rocher and mango gummies to give to the tutors as a thank you for helping her pass on her second try! I think this moment served as a really poignant reminder of how our organization is having a tangible impact and that our work is actually really significant.