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Monterey Institute Helping Create AmeriCorps Alums Leaders!

November 20, 2013

AmeriCorps alumni embody the essential spirit of the Institute to be the solution to the world’s critical issues.  AmeriCorps alumni have already shown that they are dedicated to being an agent of change, and we believe that the Monterey Institute’s programs can amplify their impact.”

That’s what Devin Lueddeke, Director of Recruitment at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, a graduate school of Middlebury College, thinks AmeriCorps Alums bring to the Monterey Institute.

2013.11.MIIS_PS_750x115We hear time and again from our school partners about AmeriCorps Alums thriving and succeeding in institutions of higher learning across the country, and this is particularly true for those schools that actively seek out AmeriCorps Alums.  The Monterey Institute is no exception to that, and today’s article features the story of Grace Andrews, an AmeriCorps Alum and Monterey Institute Alum.  Grace has utilized her AmeriCorps experience and education foundation at the Institute to catapult her success as a cutting edge social entrepreneur, and her story is featured below.

2013.11.Grace.Andrews.150x184When I was asked to write for the newsletter, I was given a very open-ended prompt: “How did AmeriCorps prepare you to excel at Monterey, and how did Monterey prepare you to excel in your career?” Those two questions are ones that I answer differently, depending on where I am in life. Today, I answer the question by saying both AmeriCorps and the Institute are why I’m currently where I am today. Let me explain.

I began my time as an AmeriCorps Bonner at Washington and Lee University (W&L). The Bonner Leader program is one of the smaller AmeriCorps programs that many people are not familiar with. The program requires full-time college students to do 800 hours of service in two years. I was fortunate enough to do an array of work, mostly focused in education. My time of service propelled me towards programs that cultivated nonprofit and civic leadership. I assumed that my future would be in a public sector job, changing the world through service.

No Place Like HomeMy desire to contribute to elevating societal ills, coupled with my desire for an applicable academic background led me to the Institute . I found out about the school from one of my closest friends, who I had met at W&L. She told me that she’d found the “perfect” school for me and that I should apply. I quickly did my research, applied and was accepted! When I arrived at the Institute, it felt like I had finally found a “home.” A place where like minded young people were eager to leave their mark on the world and serious about understanding other cultures better. The Institute is also where I met many people who are now close and cherished friends – one of those being the CEO and founder of GraphAlchemist, Huston. Our time spent working on class projects and Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) together allowed us to establish a wonderful friendship and great professional relationship.

During this same time, I was an in-country program associate for Village Capital, in conjunction with FMS, which helped me realize my love of business and entrepreneurship. I promptly decided to take all my elective courses in the MBA and created my own specialization within my MPA program – business and emerging markets. I also made a point to maintain my commitment to service by participating in organizational events and fundraisers around campus and the Monterey Bay Area.

All of the various people and endeavors shaped my life path, and it all started with AmeriCorps. Had I not known that my Segal AmeriCorps Education Award would have been accepted at the Institute, I might have never attended grad school there, discovered my love of business, or met Huston. It’s amazing how a single action can catapult a person’s trajectory.

Grace’s story of success is inspiring and unique, but in many ways it is similar to what we’ve heard from other AmeriCorps Alums who have attended the Institute, and you can read about these success stories here.  As an organization committed to identifying professional and career development opportunities to all of our alumni, especially those that allow you to leverage your Segal AmeriCorps Education Award and advance your career pursuits, we encourage you to consider the Monterey Institute as a graduate school option.  Its’ support of AmeriCorps Alums has been strong and consistent.  In fact, In the past year, the Institute has provided over $115,000 in scholarship support to AmeriCorps Alums attending its graduate studies program.   Any enrolled AmeriCorps Alum will receive a scholarship between $4,000-$16,000 per year, plus the Institute will match the AmeriCorps Segal Education Award up to the maximum award of $5,550.

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