Odiase is one of two valedictorians at Fisk University, a historically black college in Nashville, Tennessee.
Many of the volunteers heading to New York City to help with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts are doing jobs they never expected to do.
Members of the Washington Conservation Corps – most in their early twenties – packed chainsaws for their cross-country trip, expecting to be cleaning up debris.
Instead, they’ve been helping to take care of special needs adults sheltered in a Brooklyn high school, who were evacuated from nursing homes in Rockaway and Coney Island.
Another group has been working in a shelter at Lehman College in the Bronx.
The Corporation for National and Community Service says its expects thousands of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members to help in the recovery as well.