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A 100% Tuition Waiver to Jumpstart Your Community Development Career: Earn a Master’s at ISU’s Stevenson Center

August 17, 2016


Stevenson Center ISU logoToday’s sponsored post is written by Illinois State University’s Stevenson Center. AmeriCorps alumni come to the Stevenson Center for unique graduate programs and unrivaled value. The Applied Community and Economic Development (ACED) Fellows Program
includes a 100% tuition waiver for all courses and a paid graduate assistantship. After a full year on campus, Fellows complete paid professional practice in the second year, gaining invaluable field experience and networking opportunities. The full financial package is worth up to $57,000.

For AmeriCorps alum Ramya Kumaran, the transition from AmeriCorps to the Stevenson Center ACED Fellows Program, and then a job in community development proved seamless. Ramya shares:

final ramya kumaran headshot“During my time with AmeriCorps, I realized my passion for serving high-need communities. The Stevenson Center’s heavy emphasis on community and economic development supports my experiences with City Year and has added deeper context to my year of service. AmeriCorps alumni are prepared to succeed at the Stevenson Center, because they have a foundation based on community development fieldwork. Because of the emphasis on both theoretical and professional practice, the Stevenson Center has prepared me to succeed professionally. In addition, the community of students and faculty that the Stevenson Center fosters has provided me the opportunity to learn and be challenged by perspectives from different disciplines and backgrounds.”

The Stevenson Center’s ACED Fellows Program has three key qualities that could jumpstart your professional development. Read more…

Finding Common Ground in Dallas through Community & Service

August 15, 2016

headshotToday’s guest blog is written by Dallas-Fort Worth native Nate Russell who is  currently serving on Points of Light’s AmeriCorps Ready Corps team (see full bio below). 

By the time I graduated from FEMA Corps, I knew I’d end up serving again, but what I didn’t anticipate was the profound impact that these ten months would leave on me.

I’d been volunteering with the American Red Cross when I was given a chance to once again don the AmeriCorps “A” for the Dallas-Fort Worth Ready Corps team. Throughout this year, I’ve prepared my community for disasters and supported Red Cross relief efforts when flooding, fires, and tornadoes hit my area. I felt prepared for almost anything, but nothing could have prepared me for the event that led to the deaths of Officers Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens, and Michael J. Smith.

emergency vehicleMy AmeriCorps service quickly shifted focus to support the immediate and long-term community rebuilding after the shooting. The very next day, I found myself riding in an emergency response vehicle up and down Lamar, Commerce, and Elm streets, to help pass out water, snacks, and food. We passed out supplies to everyone we saw from police and firefighters, to FBI and bomb squad members, to media crews who came from as far away as Japan, England, and Israel. We also gave to the homeless we met along the way. Each person we saw was more somber than the last.

I’m sharing my story with you now, because I want people to remember the strength of Dallas as well as its struggles. I was hesitant to share my story at first. I thought the subject matter seemed a little out of my weight class. I wondered what I could possibly say to the nearly one million AmeriCorps members and alums throughout the country to help them understand what it’s like serving in Dallas right now. Read more…

AmeriCorps: What a Difference a Service Year Makes

August 12, 2016

Nicole Vera HeadshotToday’s guest post is written by AmeriCorps alum Nicole Vera who currently serves as the Senior AmeriCorps Program Manager and Partnerships Specialist for Reading Partners (full bio below). The post originally appeared on the Reading Partners blog on August 5, 2016, and is reposted here with the author’s permission. 

When I think of defining AmeriCorps, I think back to 2007 — long before I joined Reading Partners — when I knew little to nothing about a program that would change my life. I stumbled upon AmeriCorps when my then-boyfriend-now-husband joined as a member with Habitat for Humanity. Over the course of his term of service I started packing away some AmeriCorps knowledge:

  • AmeriCorps members address community needs.
  • Generally, a term is about 11 months; some programs offer other options.
  • Members serve in a field of interest. Social work? There’s a program for that. Forestry? No problem. Education? You bet.
  • Members are trained to be successful and the professional development is great for recent high school and college graduates.
  • Members receive a living allowance while in service and once you graduate, an Education Award to pay educational costs or repay qualified student loans.

But the thing that really stood out to me — and still does — is this: no matter what the focus is, an AmeriCorps term is about serving your community — doing your part to effect change, address injustice, learn, and grow. Flash forward to 2008, I found myself sitting in a poorly lit conference room filled with 20 other members, reciting the AmeriCorps pledge:

I will get things done for America – to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier.
I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.
Faced with apathy, I will take action.
Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground.
Faced with adversity, I will persevere.
I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond.
I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.

reading partners blog

Since then, I’ve watched AmeriCorps grow, I’ve watched events unfold in our country, and I’ve heard the calls to action. I’ve questioned how I am making a difference and wondered what I am doing to help heal our country. What I’ve realized is this: I’m proud to work for an organization at which each year, hundreds of AmeriCorps members take the same pledge, make indelible marks on the lives of students, and are a part of a solution to break the cycle of poverty through education. Read more…

Meet the 18 Schools Coming to August 11th’s Virtual Grad School Fair!

August 8, 2016

Looking for graduate schools that value your AmeriCorps experience and offer exclusive financial incentives for you to apply? Meet the 18 schools attending the AmeriCorps Alums August 11 Virtual Graduate School Fair from 1-4 p.m. EDT.

Want to talk one-on-one with one or more of these schools this week? Sign up for the fair today!


Looking for tips on how to talk with recruiters? View our virtual grad fair preparation guide & ace your chat with each school!

Apply Your AmeriCorps Skills to an International Research Experience

July 28, 2016

New IPSL logoToday’s partner post is sponsored and written by IPSL Study Abroad + Service-Learning™. IPSL offers undergraduate and graduate studies that include research opportunities. IPSL educates leaders for professional careers with NGOs and educational and community development organizations with an international and/or social justice focus. Students participate in service-learning and go abroad in a variety of countries where they apply theory to real world civic engagement experiences. To learn more about IPSL, visit their website.

Are you currently working on a research project for school? Will you be completing a thesis at some point? Would you like to take the social issues you tackled in your AmeriCorps experience to an international research experience? IPSL’s Advocacy Research™ program provides AmeriCorps alumni the opportunity to conduct research abroad with a purpose.

Here’s how IPSL’s Advocacy Research Program works. Read more…

Inspired, Educated, Mobilized & Ready to Talk: A Call for Dialogue in Times of Conflict

July 20, 2016

nicholehillheadshotToday’s guest blog is adapted from two letters AmeriCorps alumna Nichole Hill shared with AmeriCorps Alums after the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. It is also part of the AmeriCorps Alums REALTalk blog series on race, equity, and AmeriCorps alumni as leaders.

I was challenged by and am proud of the two years I served as a Team Leader with AmeriCorps NCCC in Denver, CO from 2008-2010. In NCCC I saw the unequal distribution of resources and access to opportunities that exist across communities all over the country, and the consequences of those inequities. I also saw government agencies, nonprofits, churches, community groups, and everyday citizens come together to combat those imbalances in an effort to create a more equitable world for themselves, their neighbors and future generations. I was inspired. Read more…

We’re Restless

July 18, 2016

Today’s blog is written by AmeriCorps Alums Co-Executive Directors Mary Bruce and Ben Duda.

Recently, we issued a statement in response to the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the five officers in Dallas: Brent Thompson, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, and Patrick Zamarripa. We grieve now too for Baton Rouge Officers Matthew Gerald and Montrell Jackson and Deputy Brad Garafola. Each of their deaths is a brutal reminder that we have much work ahead to live up to the promise of the AmeriCorps pledge and “bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.”

We’re restless. What can AmeriCorps Alums – as individuals and as a network –  do to move our communities away from division, hate, and violence and towards unity, equity, and opportunity? Over the past 18 months, we’ve been meeting with hundreds of AmeriCorps alums across the country to answer that question and to inform our strategic direction. In recent days, we have heard from many of you that you’re feeling scared, sad, hopeless, numb, confused, frustrated.

Just last week, at a White House convening, we joined hundreds of colleagues to discuss the power and potential of civic engagement. We want to advance this conversation and work – and to hear from you. What resources are you or your organization using to make sense of recent events and build stronger bonds of civic engagement and equity? What are you reading, and to whom are you looking to for guidance, support, and inspiration?
Read more…

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