IPSL Helps Prepare AmeriCorps Alum For Career Success
Today’s guest post comes from our national education partner, IPSL, and is written by Tina Shantz Hart, a two-term AmeriCorps Alum, and graduate of IPSL’s Master’s program.
When I was preparing to graduate college in 2008 I was faced with a failing economy and little job experience. Unsure of what my next step should be, I decided to complete a year of National Service with AmeriCorps VISTA. That August I headed west from Vermont to Vermillion, South Dakota to serve as the Service-Learning Program Coordinator at the University of South Dakota. I worked with students, staff, and faculty promoting, organizing, and implanting service and civic engagement across the university. I had the most wonderful experience and before I knew it the year was coming to a close. I wanted to continue gaining experience in the higher education field, which had little to do with my majors in college, and decided to do a second year of service. I again headed west to Portland, OR to serve in a similar capacity with Concordia University.
My experience was again powerful and I knew I wanted to continue in the field of higher education and nonprofit management. To pursue this passion I knew I needed some additional training. I began researching graduate schools and was excited to discover IPSL. IPSL’s Master’s Degree was one of the few master’s programs in the country that combined my top three interests of higher education, nonprofit management, and international development. As I pursued my degree I also started working part time with Oregon Campus Compact (ORCC), the organization that I served as an AmeriCorps Member through when I was at Concordia University. ORCC works with campuses across Oregon to increase and strengthen service-learning and civic engagement.
I was able to quickly apply information I was learning in my Master’s to my new position. Before I finished my degree I was offered the position of Associate Director with the organization. I jumped at the chance to take my education and experiences to the next level. I have now been in the Associate Director position for over two years. Serving for two years with AmeriCorps really grew my interest for working with nonprofits and higher education. This was solidified and expanded on by obtaining my Master’s through IPSL. I was really able to take many of the concepts I’d gotten baseline experience with and learn the theories and best practices behind them. AmeriCorps and IPSL gave me the unique opportunity to combine both hands-on learning and theory-based education to allow me to feel confident and excel in my work in nonprofit management and higher education.
IPSL offers all AmeriCorps Alums enrolled in its graduate programs a 10% match to the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. To learn more about IPSL’s support of AmeriCorps Alums, please click here. Relocation grants are also available to enrolled students.
Tina Shantz Hart is currently the Associate Director at Oregon Campus Compact.