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Illinois State’s Stevenson Center Offers 100% Tuition Scholarship To Enrolled AmeriCorps Alums

September 9, 2013


The Applied Community and Economic Development (ACED) Fellows Program at Illinois State University’s Stevenson Center offers exceptional value to Alums accepted into its program. Every ACED Fellow receives a 100% tuition waiver for all courses (worth up to $27,924) and a paid graduate assistantship. In their second year, paid professional practice provides students with invaluable field experience and networking opportunities.

Tackling community challenges is central to the Stevenson Center philosophy, which has been attractive to many AmeriCorps alumni who have already experienced a Stevenson Center education.  For her professional practice with the Fremont Area Community Foundation in Michigan, Alyssa Curran researched poverty alleviation to drive funding priorities.  Alyssa continues her work post-graduation as the Foundation’s newest Program Officer.  Similarly, other AmeriCorps alumni are using their Stevenson Center experience as a launchpad for professional success.  Read more about what Alyssa and other AmeriCorps alumni are saying about their Stevenson Center below.

2013.09.Stevenson.Kumaran.Ramya.150x186During 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 more value to my year of full-time service. Former AmeriCorps members are prepared to succeed at the Stevenson Center, because they begin the program with a foundation based on fieldwork in community development. Already, I have been able to connect my AmeriCorps experience with theory; I have come to realize the impact AmeriCorps has had on shaping my views regarding community development. Because of the emphasis on both theoretical and professional practice, the Stevenson Center has already started to prepare me to succeed professionally. In addition to relevant coursework, the community of students and faculty that the Stevenson Center fosters has provided the opportunity to learn and to be challenged by perspectives from different disciplines, different master’s programs, and different backgrounds.
-Ramya Kumaran

2013.09.Stevenson.Rivera150x186In August 2005 I enrolled at the Illinois State University Stevenson Center for Community & Economic Development after spending a year of service in North Philadelphia. My expectations were simple–to acquire a degree that would allow me to obtain a profession.  However, what I obtained was much more:  a rigorous academic program that furthered my understanding of community development while putting into perspective my experiences from living in North Philadelphia. For sure, having been an AmeriCorps*VISTA brought a different set “eyes” to what we learn at the Stevenson Center.

Soon after I completed the coursework, I was placed into a recognized non-profit organization to complete the year of internship. This experience in conjunction with the training obtained at the Stevenson Center helped me put into action the lessons learned in the program.  An interesting fact is that the Stevenson Center prepares you for both the academic world and the change-a-person’s-life world. It is this unique combination of theory and practice that I have found useful in my professional career.  For this, and the relationships developed over 8 years ago, I am forever grateful.
-Christian Rivera-Perez

2013.09.Stevenson.Curran.Alyssa.150x186The Stevenson Center program has made all the difference in my career.  The professional practice was a turning point for me, and luckily was a perfect fit.  It happened to be the right next move and showed me more about my professional aspirations than any other work experience I’ve had.  The Stevenson Center works diligently to identify suitable worksites to fit both with the interests of the students and to provide an adequate fellowship experience, and after the matching process, they support the fellow every step of the way throughout the year.  It is a very unique program – suited to help students position themselves for a career in community and economic development, or the non-profit sector more broadly.  Many times the experience at the host site leads to a job with that site, or at least will lead to better job prospects.  The Stevenson Center has prepared me to be more successful professionally, and the program is very well-run.  What’s more, I have a network of friends and colleagues – my fellow classmates – that I will be able to keep forever.
-Alyssa Curran

The Stevenson Center’s ACED sequence is interdisciplinary, relevant, and challenging.  Fellows jumpstart their professional development through:

  • A truly interdisciplinary classroom. Its students benefit from the range of perspectives and backgrounds brought to the classroom.
  • Real-world experience. Community projects are woven into coursework each term.  ACED Fellows spend one intensive year on campus, followed by placement in an 11-month field internship.
  • Personalized support.  Illinois State has the resources of a large university with a small-school feel. The Stevenson Center is small by design, ensuring individual attention and interactive seminars with faculty.

Fellows earn a Master’s degree in one of three disciplines:  Sociology, Political Science, or Applied Economics.  Within each degree program, the ACED sequence covers topics such as community project design and management, grant writing, and economic development tools. Each student pursues a personal research agenda in areas like sustainable development, food systems, public health, and housing. Fellows also tackle a group community project every year. In 2012, Stevenson Center students researched local food insecurity. Their findings are shaping decisions about the location and structure of a local cooperative grocery.  In 2011, students completed a community-wide recycling survey that resulted in curbside service.  Stevenson Center Fellows learn firsthand about applied research and community change.

To learn more about Illinois State’s Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development program, click here or start your application today!

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