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Networking in your Pajamas – June ’18 Career Fair

June 27, 2018

What is a virtual career fair and how can I sign up for the next one?

Virtual career fairs have all the perks of a traditional job fair, but the best part is you can participate while wearing your pajamas or while waiting in line at the DMV. Last week, twenty-three employers, who know of the valuable skills individuals develop during a service year networked with 100s of Alums to help fill their organization’s open positions.

Want to be the first to know when registration opens for our next job fair and have access to other similar resources? Register on as an AmeriCorps Alum to join a network we’re building at Service Year Alliance for individuals from a wide variety of service backgrounds. If you couldn’t make it to the fair, or didn’t have the chance to meet all of the employers, browse below to check out the available opportunities.

The June 21st 2018 career fair was sponsored by Youth Villages and Playworks and both organizations + the over 20 other participating organizations still have plenty of open positions and would love to hear from alums like you!


Youth Villages is a national leader in the field of children’s mental and behavioral health and help more than 25,000 of America’s most vulnerable children and families each year. The intensive work Youth Villages does with children and families, keeps children in the community whenever safely possible and providing accountability to families and funders. Youth Villages has a wide range of open positions from health to education and are hiring in 13 states across the country.


722052353812099.Sr3TXl269ne2xUSW0gnD_height640Playworks works to improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play.​ Playworks is the leading national nonprofit leveraging the power of play to transform children’s social and emotional health. Playworks creates a place for every kid on the playground to feel included, be active, and build valuable social and emotional skills. The bold vision is by 2020, 3.5 million kids in 7,000 elementary schools nationwide will experience safe and healthy play.

Browse Playworks available positions such as Associate Program Director, Engagement Specialist, Program Associate, and Program Manager and are available in locations like Denver, CO, Saint Paul, MN, Portland, OR, Phoenix, AZ, New York, NY


All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response

Positions Available: Project Coordinator, Grants Associate, Construction Site Supervisor, and more!

Job Locations: Texas, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico and more!

Learn about All Hands and Hearts and browse open jobs.

Boston Cares

Positions Available: Executive Assistant, Program Operations Specialist, and Talent Acquisition Specialist

Job Locations: Boston, MA

Learn about Boston Cares and browse open jobs.

Boys Hope Girls Hope

Positions Available: College Success Specialist, Program Director, and Residential Counselor

Job Locations: various cities

Learn about Boys Hope Girls Hope.

Boys Town

Positions Available: variety of family services consultants, case workers, social workers, youth care workers, and office support staff

Job Locations: California, Florida, Louisiana, Nebraska, New York, Nevada, and Rhode Island

Learn about Boys Town and browse open jobs.

College Possible

Positions Available: College Program Coordinator, Data Entry Associate, Program Coordinator

Job Locations: St. Paul, MN, Portland, OR, and Chicago, IL

Learn about College Possible and browse open jobs.

Denver Public Schools- Denver Fellows

Positions Available: Denver Fellow

Job Locations: Denver, CO

Learn about Denver Public Schools and browse open jobs.

Dudley Promise Corps

Positions Available: Dudley Promise Corps Site Director, Chief Academic Officer and Instructional Coach

Job Locations: Boston, MA

Learn about Dudley Promise Corps and browse open jobs.

Enriched Schools

Positions Available: teaching roles

Job Locations: various cities

Learn about Enriched Schools and browse open jobs.

Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver

Positions Available: Assistant Construction Supervisor, Family Selection Associate, and Merchandising Supervisor

Job Locations: Colorado

Learn about Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver and browse open jobs.

Inspired Teaching Residency

Positions Available: Fellowship

Job Locations: Washington, DC

Learn about Inspired Teaching Residency and browse open jobs.

Jewish Family Service of San Diego

Positions Available: Case Manager, Grant Writer, and Housing Manager

Job Locations: California

Learn about Jewish Family Service of San Diego and browse open jobs.

Match Education

Positions Available: Teacher Residency

Job Locations: Boston, MA

Learn about Match Education and browse open jobs.

New Visions For Public Schools

Positions Available: Program Manager, Jr. Data Operations Engineer, and Accounts Payable Specialist

Job Locations: New York and Connecticut

Learn about New Visions For Public Schools and browse open jobs.

Peace Corps

Positions Available: variety of roles ranging from country director to public health health analyst

Job Locations: domestic and global

Learn about Peace Corps and browse open jobs.

SAGA Innovations

Positions Available: SAGA Fellow

Job Locations: New York and Chicago

Learn about SAGA Innovations and browse open jobs.

Teach For America

Positions Available: Many jobs ranging from recruitment, managers, and directors

Job Locations: various major cities + remote work

Learn about Teach For America and browse open jobs.

The Literacy Lab

Positions Available: Tutor and Fellowship roles

Job Locations: Washington, DC

Learn about The Literacy Lab and browse open jobs.

TNTP Teaching Fellows

Positions Available: Program Manager, Help Desk Associate, and Executive Assistant

Job Locations: Louisiana, Texas, New York, California + remote work

Learn about TNTP Teaching Fellows and browse open jobs.

Urban Teachers

Positions Available: teachers, recruiters, and a certification officer

Job Locations: California, D.C., Maryland, and Texas

Learn about Urban Teachers and browse open jobs.

Work Opportunities Unlimited

Positions Available: Inside Sales/Lead Generator, Administrative Assistant, and Data Entry AR/AP Support Person

Job Locations: various locations

Learn about Work Opportunities Unlimited and browse open jobs.

AmeriCorps Alums is now part of Service Year Alliance

March 14, 2018

I’ve got exciting news to share.  As part of an innovative agreement and partnership between leading nonprofits, Points of Light is transferring AmeriCorps Alums — our programming, our brand, and our assets — to Service Year Alliance.

You may or may not know Service Year Alliance as the two-year old nonprofit startup that envisions an opportunity to serve for every young person in America. AmeriCorps Alums was involved in the early conversations that led to its formation and have partnered with Service Year Alliance’s team often over the years.

Sign Up to Stay Connected with AmeriCorps Alums

We’re excited about this transition because it will connect AmeriCorps Alums’ work to the growing Service Year Alliance ecosystem of national service organizations, participants, and alumni in this country both online and in local cities and towns. Service Year Alliance has been building online tools to support service year corps member recruitment and will now expand those tools to include service year corps member and alumni support and engagement. Service Year Alliance also has movement building organizers across the country and that will help AmeriCorps Alums connect more of our network to opportunities to take action and advocate in support of national service.

We’ve got big ideas for this move too. Sign Up & Join Us! We’re going to continue building our professional development resources and expand opportunities to support alums after they serve. We’re going to pursue new funding and partnerships for things like mentorship, leadership cohort trainings, and community outreach.

AmeriCorps-Alums-web-graphic-v4I want to extend my sincere thanks to Natalye Paquin, the CEO of Points of Light, and the entire Points of Light Board of Directors, for their willingness to pursue an acquisition strategy with a partner organization. Here’s a portion of note co-written by Natalye and Shirley Sagawa, CEO of Service Year Alliance, explaining the rationale:

On behalf of Points of Light and Service Year Alliance, we are excited to share that AmeriCorps Alums will become part of Service Year Alliance in 2018. This is part of a very intentional set of actions by both of our organizations, which we believe benefits the alumni network and the national service field. National service and community volunteerism have always been considered the twin engines of civic engagement. This transition will strengthen the collaboration between Points of Light and Service Year Alliance to support volunteerism and service in this country and grow our civic culture…Ben Duda, executive director, will be moving to Service Year Alliance as well to continue his leadership of AmeriCorps Alums and take on additional responsibilities. Our organizations are thrilled to collaborate in this strategic action…

We’re excited for the future of AmeriCorps Alums and hope you’ll join us on this journey. Please take two minutes to sign-up as an AmeriCorps Alum at Service Year Alliance so you can receive future news and communications.

In Service,BenDuda-Headshot-1

Ben Duda

Managing Director, Corps Members and Alums at Service Year Alliance

AmeriCorps Alums Joins Service Year Alliance in Innovative Agreement with Points of Light

March 14, 2018

AmeriCorps Alums Joins Service Year Alliance in Innovative Agreement with Points of Light Innovative agreement with sector partner Points of Light aimed at boosting service year field

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, March 14, 2018




WASHINGTON, DC (March 14, 2018) – Today, in an effort to boost the service year field and advance shared missions, Service Year Alliance officially acquired AmeriCorps Alums from Points of Light. AmeriCorps Alums, which had been an enterprise of Points of Light since 2005, is the only national network that connects the over one million alumni of all AmeriCorps programs to resources that support their lifetime of service.

“We are thrilled to advance our partnership with Service Year Alliance to support volunteerism and national service in this country,” said Natalye Paquin, President and CEO of Points of Light. “Strengthening our country’s civic culture has been at the forefront of our mission for decades and Service Year Alliance is well-positioned in their current work to foster the growing network of talented and driven alumni of AmeriCorps who share this vision.”

“There is no one who better understands the power of national service to unite our country, advance our workforce, and transform lives than the over one million AmeriCorps alums who have experienced this first-hand,” said Shirley Sagawa, CEO of Service Year Alliance. “Bringing AmeriCorps Alums to Service Year Alliance is an inspired solution that will build upon and fuel the work we do every day. From inspiring millions of young Americans to serve to growing the service year field and expanding funding for national service — adding the established AmeriCorps Alums brand to our organization’s existing efforts advances the service year field in an unprecedented way.”

As part of this transition, Ben Duda, the Executive Director of AmeriCorps Alums has joined Service Year Alliance as the new Managing Director of Corps Members and Alumni. Duda brings his extensive knowledge of the sector and over a decade of experience — including three service years of his own — to the team. In this role, he will be charged with increasing the value that service year corps members and service year alumni gain from their service year experiences, especially as it relates to improving pathways from service years to careers and higher education opportunities.

“I am delighted to join Service Year Alliance and bring with me the spirit of civic action of each and every AmeriCorps alum who believes in our mission to make a year of service a common expectation and opportunity,” said Ben Duda, Managing Director of Corps Members and Alumni at Service Year Alliance. “I look forward to continuing to grow the AmeriCorps Alums network in support of every young person who is serving, wishes to serve, and continues to make a difference in their next steps after service.”

Please contact Aly Ferguson at with any media inquiries or to learn more about this acquisition.


About Service Year Alliance
Service Year Alliance is working to make a year of paid, full-time service — a service year — a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans. A service year before, during, or after college gives young people the chance to transform their lives, make an impact in their community, and become the active citizens and leaders our nation needs. Expanding service years, with programs like AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, and YouthBuild, has the power to revitalize cities, uplift and educate children at risk, and empower communities struggling with poverty. Learn more at

About Points of Light
Points of Light — the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service — mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages 5 million volunteers in 20 million hours of service each year. We bring the power of people to bear where it’s needed most. For more information, go to

International Service on the Path towards an Intentional Life

November 30, 2017

Today’s sponsored post is contributed by IPSL and contributed by Niki Gates – IPSL Arusha, Tanzania Alum (2014) & AmeriCorps NCCC alum, AmeriCorps VISTA Leader


My goal has always been to live an intentional life…. Several years ago, I was following an academic path that at the moment felt right. I was pursuing a degree in International Relations and Political Science, which provided a great learning experience on how the world works, but emphasized public service through the government. GovernmentNOV_FEMAcorps service is great and necessary, but not what I envisioned for my life. When it came time to choose a study abroad program, I already knew I wanted to go to East/Central Africa – that had been a dream of mine since high school. There are many misconceptions about that region of the world; that it is plagued by wars and illnesses and that it’s too dangerous for study abroad programs.  I discovered IPSL does offer programming there, and an opportunity towards the path I was seeking.


I arrived in Arusha, Tanzania, in September 2014. I was in a new country and uncertain of what was to come. My term began and included a service learning componNOV_orphanageent at an orphanage run by a kind and ambitious woman named Mama Safi. She had a big personality and an even bigger heart. I taught English to incredibly sweet and strong-willed children, who taught me the meaning of joy, resiliency, and love. Most importantly, they challenged me to think about my impact in the world– that it doesn’t matter if I’m helping one child or an entire nation, the important part is that I do something.


I returned to the United States with a greater understanding of myself and the type of service I wanted to pursue in a career, but quickly fell back into the monotony of classes and the pressures of what to do after graduation. I knew that I needed to reset my mind and reignite the passion I had for serving others, channeling what had been developed in the IPSL Arusha program. Luckily, a professor knew exactly what I needed – AmeriCorps.


I joined AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps as a Team Leader in Southern Region Class 23A. Our experiences were unprecedented, and I led one of the first teams to spend their full term working on disasters. I was able to serve survivors in their most vulnerable times, support communities in healing after heartbreak, and help my teammates find their paths in life. But I wasn’t done with AmeriCorps at the end of my 11 months – I joined AmeriCorps VISTA, and currently serve as a VISTA Leader in Bellingham, WA. I transitioned from working in disaster zones to an office; from direct service to indirect service. It has been emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting; it has been inspiring; and it has been life-changing… much like my time with IPSL.


My goal has always been to live an intentional life. I want to be active in NOV_orphanage_coworkerpursuing relationships with those around me, give praise and appreciation where they are needed and deserved, and serve others to my fullest capacity. IPSL taught me this about myself; AmeriCorps reinforced it. Both programs allow participants to find themselves through service – they encourage independence, self-realization, and personal responsibility, with the safety net of a team of professionals to support and guide you through your journey. They allow you to serve a community, while giving you the tools to learn about yourself and building skills that you can use to continue filling your life with service. I am not sure about my next steps after AmeriCorps and how best to utilize my Segal Education awards and build my career. But I do know it will be filled with service!


IPSL short term programs expand your world view and the IPSL grad programs give you the tools to find your personal path working for social justice worldwide. Learn more at



A New Pathway for Teacher Training

October 30, 2017

Today’s sponsored post is written by Urban Teachers. Urban Teachers is a clinically-based teacher training program that offers future teachers long-term coaching and mentoring as they earn a master’s degree in education and hone their skills in Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Dallas-Fort Worth classrooms. AmeriCorps provides some Urban Teachers participants with grants that offset the cost of graduate school or existing student loans by as much as $11,550.   


Alyessa Soden had many options when it came to choosing a teacher training program.

Alyessa knew she wanted to work with children and shape the lives of future generations, but she also wanted a program that provided a first-rate education and the coaching she’d need to get through her first years of teaching. Ultimately she decided that Urban Teachers was the right option for her.

Urban Teachers is a four-year teacher preparation program for college graduates that demands participants meet rigorous academic and performance standards, while offering high-quality coaching, mentoring and a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Education.

“There are a lot of really good teacher prep programs,” says Alyessa, who is 26, fromUT_2017 Northwest Arkansas and has an undergraduate degree in child development. “But I chose Urban Teachers specifically because the master’s program is really incredible.”

Alyessa is in her second year with Urban Teachers. Right now she’s teaching sixth grade English in West Dallas. For the next few years she’ll receive intensive coaching as she focuses on becoming a leader in her school.

Here’s how Urban Teachers works:

Resident Year: Following a clinical model, participants work alongside an experienced classroom teacher in an urban school in Baltimore, Washington, D.C. or Dallas-Fort Worth. At night they take master’s-level courses.

Fellow Year 1: This year our teachers get their own classroom, start earning a salary and finish their master’s degree classes in their host city through Johns Hopkins University. Professors serve as coaches to help work through classroom challenges.

Fellow Year 2: In the second fellow year, coursework is complete, but coaching and mentoring continue as participants solidify their classroom practice.

Fellow Year 3: By now, our participants are leaders in their schools and focused on growing their careers and supporting the communities they teach in. Coaching and mentoring is available to help participants as they grow into their school roles.

Alyessa says that this support and coaching have made a significant difference in her teaching practice, but that getting master’s degree from a US News & World Report top ten program like Hopkins is also invaluable.

And thanks to a partnership with AmeriCorps, paying for the program has gotten easier for Alyessa and her classmates.

She is one of hundreds of Urban Teachers participants who have received the AmeriCorps Segal Education Award. The grant, which is awarded in two annual installments of $5,775, can be used to pay for tuition at JHU or to repay student loans from previous coursework.

“AmeriCorps really gives vision for why we’re doing what we’re doing,” Alyessa says. “I applied [the Segal Award] to my student loans this year and it’s super beneficial for me to be able to take a deep breath and know that I can continue my education.”

But the financial incentives of Urban Teachers, which also include a $20,000 stipend during the residency year and a guaranteed job in year two, come in addition to a number of significant benefits.

“One thing Urban Teachers does really well is teaching teachers to be culturally sensitive and to involve students in their learning,” Alyessa said. “Implementing that into my practice has really brought a lot of fun and joy into the classroom.”

AmeriCorps Alums Names 2017 Eli Segal Leadership Award Winner

October 26, 2017

AmeriCorps Alums Eli Segal Leadership Award Winner Named


AmeriCorps Alums is pleased to announce the 2017 AmeriCorps Alums Eli Segal Leadership Award winner Elsa Vasquez-Flores of Alexandria, VA.  The award is named inIMG_0971honor of Eli Segal – known as the “father of AmeriCorps” and the first CEO of Corporation for National and Community Service. The award recognizes emerging leaders who demonstrate strong collaboration and leadership potential during their AmeriCorps service and a commitment to equity and an impact career. In addition, awardees are also named Segal Fellows as part of a strategic partnership with the Eli J. and Phyllis N. Segal Citizen Leadership Program at Brandeis University.

Executive Director of AmeriCorps Alums Ben Duda shared,

“Elsa is a committed emerging leader with deep experiences serving young people and their families in her AmeriCorps roles.  She’s made a powerful impression in the communities she’s serving and with her colleagues and mentors.  We’re thrilled to invest in her continued leadership development and expand opportunities for emerging leaders in the Alums network towards advancing equity and impact.”

The 2017 AmeriCorps Alums Eli Segal Leadership Awardee, Elsa Vasquez-Flores is an alumna of Aspire! Afterschool – an AmeriCorps program in Arlington, VA, where she currently works as a site coordinator.   Elsa is committed to serving the young people in her program, as well as building deep relationships with their parents and others in the community.  Her biggest point of pride is when her students say, “IIMG_0973 want to be the next Ms. Elsa when I grow up,” and serve in an AmeriCorps program – something that was echoed by her co-workers.  Elsa previously served as an appointed Board Member on the Governor of Virginia’s Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism, and is a 2014 graduate of Mary Baldwin University.

The Segal Citizen Leadership Program will engage Elsa in a network of 100 Segal Fellows and hundreds of partners spread across the country and the globe, who are focused on fostering the next generation of citizen leaders.  During their first year, Fellows participate in leadership and professional development programming and are matched with near-peer and advanced career mentors.  They stay engaged as lifelong Segal Fellows through both virtual and in-person training, networking, and leadership opportunities throughout their careers.  Program Director, Susanna Flug-Silva, who also served on the selection committee, adds,

“Elsa distinguished herself with her commitment to social justice and community engagement and to bridging the gap between education systems and families, especially low income families.  The impact she has had and the growth she has experienced through her service speaks to the power of AmeriCorps and of citizen leaders.  We are eager to welcome her into our community of Segal Fellows and Founders to learn with and from her and to support her growth and goals.”

The Segal Citizen Leadership Program engages emerging leaders from Brandeis University and its national-service-focused partners and provides mentorship, cross-sector professional development, a citizen leadership curriculum, and inter-generational networking as a part of a lifelong Segal Fellowship.


About AmeriCorps Alums:

AmeriCorps Alums is a powerful network of diverse alums that supports & equips each other to get things done so that all people can thrive in strong communities.  AmeriCorps Alums is the only national network for alumni of all AmeriCorps programs. Connect with AmeriCorps Alums at and Facebook + Twitter + LinkedIn + Blog.


About the Eli J. & Phyllis  N. Segal Citizen Leadership Program:

Named in honor of the first CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service and one of the first champions of national service, the Eli J. & Phyllis N. Segal Citizen Leadership Program at Brandeis University provides emerging leaders an opportunity to join a community of other like-minded change-makers. It is a program of the Center for Youth and Communities at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis.  These leaders collaborate across sectors and issue areas to break down silos and create solutions in the pursuit of a more just and equitable world.

There are 100 inspiring, diverse, and multi-generational Segal Fellows who are already leaders in their communities, as well as a network of over 500 Founders and program partners. In addition to gaining entry through AmeriCorps Alums, Segal Fellows gain entry to the program through partnerships with diverse leaders from Brandeis University, City Year, CNCS, and Service Year Alliance. For more information about the program, please visit


Once You’ve Worn the A, You’re Always Ready to Answer the Call

September 28, 2017

Today’s alumni highlight comes from Illinois State University’s Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development, which offers a 100% graduate tuition waiver and stipend to thank AmeriCorps Alums for their indispensable service.

On August 19, AmeriCorps alum Lindsey Earl arrived in Houston to begin her internship with local nonprofit Change Happens as part of her graduate school program requirement in the Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development program.  Lindsey had heard news coverage of an impending hurricane heading her way, but she could have never anticipated the scope of what was to occur.

Exactly one week later, as Hurricane Harvey tore through Lindsey’s new community, she answered a phone call in the hotel where she was taking refuge: the Red Cross needed her help. Lindsey arrived at the local Red Cross Headquarters and was asked to use the skills she gained in AmeriCorps to support many tasks required in the response and recovery effort.  Initially, she oriented incoming staff and created a resource guide for flood victims. Within several days she moved to the George R. Brown Convention Center emergency shelter to conduct volunteer intake, where at times she was the sole manager as over 6,000 volunteers streamed in.IMG_0085

Lindsey recently returned to her internship at Change Happens, where she will lead disaster recovery operations for the organization. She shared, “I’ve become extremely connected to the city of Houston. I truly can see the beauty in it. So many people poured in to assist those in need. It was phenomenal to watch people so eager and willing to help their neighbors.”  No matter what comes next, Lindsey will continue to get things done, building upon her AmeriCorps NCCC experiences and applying the training and coursework from the Stevenson Center.

Do you have a volunteer story to share? Check out how to submit a guest blog here


Stevenson Center’s ACED Fellows Program could be your Career Jumpstart

August 29, 2017

Today’s sponsored post is from Illinois State University’s Stevenson Center. 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 practicum in the second year, gaining invaluable field experience and relationships. The full financial package is worth up to $61,600.

Cecilia Montesdeoca is no stranger to the roadblocks or the triumphs inherent to civic engagement. An Illinois native, Cecilia’s service has brought her from Peruvian villages where she led earthquake recovery efforts, to completing conservation projects with AmeriCorps NCCC Southwest, to the Standing Rock region of North Dakota where she supported community organizing campaigns related to safe, responsible oil and gas extraction. Clearly committed to a career in community development, Cecilia was drawn back to home for the Illinois State University’s Stevenson Center.

“After seeing how the Stevenson Center master’s programs operate, I couldn’t celiaimagine doing graduate school any other way. By being in a cohort, you’re surrounded by brilliant, experienced and ambitious students. Being able to take courses in other departments is refreshing, especially seeing how the different fields approach the same topic from various angles.”

Cecilia, an alum of the ACED Fellows Program in anthropology and named a 2017 Future Alumni Leader by Illinois State University, shares:

“The staff, faculty, curriculum, and cohort have all contributed to me having a great experience. Pursuing a master’s degree through the Stevenson Center is a fantastic opportunity for NCCC alums.  The ACED Fellows cohort is made up of like-minded, service-oriented people, which quickly becomes a powerful network for grad school and beyond.

The Stevenson Center’s ACED Fellows Program has these key qualities to jumpstart your career:

  • A truly integrated classroom. Students come together in core courses to share their full range of perspectives and backgrounds with faculty.
  • Real-world experience. Community projects are woven into coursework. ACED Fellows spend one intensive year on campus, followed by an 11-month paid field internship.
  • Personalized support. The Stevenson Center is small by design, ensuring individual attention and interactive seminars with faculty.

The Stevenson Center offers comprehensive educational opportunities. Master’s degrees are available in anthropology, applied economics, kinesiology and recreation, political science, and sociology.cohortWithin each degree program, the ACED sequence covers topics such as community project design and management, grant writing, and economic development. In and out of the classroom, each student also pursues a personal research agenda in areas like sustainable development, food systems, public health, and housing.

To learn more about the Stevenson Center, hear from two additional students and see what makes the campus a great spot to learn and live:


Derek Conley: From Peace Corps Volunteer to Economic Development Professional

Derek Conley’s introduction to service began with the Peace Corps in Panama where hederek was a Community Economic Development Volunteer. Upon his return to the U.S., Derek landed an AmeriCorps State position in data analysis.

Now a graduate of Illinois State’s Peace Corps Fellows Program with a master’s in applied economics, Derek reflects:

The Stevenson Center Program at Illinois State University took my career to the next level. Combining academic study and AmeriCorps service is a brilliant method of developing young minds.”  Derek further explains that the Stevenson Center’s interdisciplinary, applied curriculum gave him the “chance to learn how to build communities into safe places that spur business and development.”

For his internship arranged through the Stevenson Center, Derek started working with Invest Aurora, a public/private economic development partnership.   Derek expresses, “My time at Invest Aurora has given me the skills I need to enter the job market and turned into a full-time job.”

Bumni Akinnusotu: Home Away from Home & a Practical Learning Approach

Alum Bunmi Akinnusotu’s experiences at Illinois State set her on a journey in nonprofit Bumniand government management, from the YWCA and United Way in Chicago to the Environmental Protection Agency. Reflecting on her master’s in sociology, Bumni says the field experiences and the relationships stand out.

I would absolutely recommend the Stevenson Center to others.  I found the practical learning approach to be extremely helpful to my career. I gained an appreciation for how to unpack tough questions, and bring a more critical lens to research that can actually help change or influence conclusions. When I sit in meetings or when things come up, I listen differently because of what I know about how communities operate and what tools are at my disposal to address problems. Studying at ISU was demanding but it was a very supportive environment. I always enjoyed the small classroom sizes and accessibility of each professor. The Stevenson Center was a home away from home where I felt included and appreciated.

3 Reasons to Explore Bloomington-Normal

Only a train ride away from downtown Chicago and St. Louis, and within driving distance of Milwaukee and Indianapolis—Illinois State University’s campus in Normal blends the comfort of the Midwest with easy access to adventure. In fact, Normal and sister city Bloomington have received several recent media mentions:

  • In 2017, Business Insider ranked Bloomington-Normal one of the top 10 college towns in the country.
  • In 2016, Huffington Post named Bloomington one of the “11 Amazing Cities You’ve Never Thought To Live In, But Should.”
  • In 2015, the Town of Normal was ranked #3 on the list of Best Small College Towns in America by College Values Online.

If you’re searching for financial support, intensive professional practice, an interdisciplinary program that enhances your AmeriCorps experience, and a thriving city with historic roots, request more information today!

Education and Service Journey After AmeriCorps

July 26, 2017

this post is sponsored by International Education partner IPSL

Gina Amico and David Urieta, are AmeriCorps Alums and currently completing a Masters of Science through the IPSL International Development and Service (MS-IDS) program. Gina is nearing her graduation and studied / served abroad in Siena, Italy and Guayaquil, Ecuador. David is preparing for his first semester abroad in Medellin, Colombia.
In their interview, they share their education and service journey after AmeriCorps, and how it prepared them to study and serve abroad.

“Let’s start with what you did with AmeriCorps.”

Gina: “I actually am in my second service term. I finished my first year, right before I went abroad to Siena. I was at Citizen Schools, an education nonprofit in Manhattan. My main role was capacity building. I worked with external engagement; volunteer retention and I even dabbled in grant writing. It really set the foundation for the work I would be doing overseas with IPSL.”

David: “I did my AmeriCorps VISTA in Jupiter, Florida with an organization called El Sol Jupiter Photo 2 Community Resource Center, improving the quality of life for immigrant day laborers. I was an outreach coordinator and I worked in marketing, communications, social media, website designing, photography, and event planning. Since my parents are undocumented immigrants and former farm workers I felt a personal connection with the clients that we helped. Now I’m in the IPSL MS-IDS program where I’m going to be in Colombia and Peru. I feel like that’s an important addition to what I’ve experienced so far from the U.S. side.”

“What were some of your expectations for the program?”

Gina: “Coming into the program I was in the middle of my first AmeriCorps term. I found the IPSL program through the AmeriCorps Alums Online Graduate Fair and it seemed theipslgina perfect way to translate the service I was doing with into an academic and career setting. It was right along the lines of what I was doing already – volunteer retention and recruitment, grant writing, community organizing.”

David: “I didn’t learn about the program until two years after my service, when I was completing my Undergraduate degree. It was unexpected too, because I was looking at other schools and other programs, I remember just sort of stumbling on IDS.

While neither of you were able to study abroad while in Undergrad, share why you felt an international experience was so important?

Gina: “I wanted something that would translate what I was doing through AmeriCorps into an education and career path…the service component with IPSL really attracted me to the program, because I was not only serving different communities, I was also able to directly experience the culture of the people I was serving with…I wasn’t just visiting, I felt a part of the community.”

David: “I wasn’t planning on doing a program like this, but something about the other programs was lacking.”

How do you want to change the world?

Gina: “So for me, coming from an AmeriCorps VISTA program right into my service overseas was very beneficial because I was directly able to use those skillsets…and that helped contribute to a lot of the projects. I don’t think without this program that would have happened.”

David: “During my AmeriCorps service I worked specifically with migrant workers and immigrants. When I moved to NYC for the grad program I searched specifically for an immigrant and worker rights organization.”

Both Gina and David are pursuing concurrent degrees that pair an M.B.A. with the IPSL MS-IDS program. Gina’s concurrent M.B.A. has a non-profit focus. Upon returning to the US, Gina started her second AmeriCorps term as a VISTA Leader with Campus Compact; she was drawn back to AmeriCorps after going abroad because of her desire to continue service in the nonprofit sector. IPSL is currently preparing David for his semester in Colombia after which he will learn and serve for a semester in Peru. Gina is working on completing her Culminating Thesis project and getting ready to graduate! You can also watch their interview on YouTube.

With over 50% of the cohort having served in AmeriCorps the IPSL MS-IDS program continues to be a natural next step for alums. IPSL provides an automatic $5,500 scholarship and accepts 100% of the Segal Ed Award as well as waiving the application fee.

Starting in Fall 2017, IPSL – a leader in the field of global service-learning – will offer a new one year accelerated Graduate Degree called COSA: Community Organizing and Social Activism.  COSA is designed to give globally minded students a foundation in the history and key practices of community building and civic engagement worldwide, from domestic and international volunteerism, to community organizing, to grassroots social movements and activism – all while ethically serving as international volunteers in communities worldwide.  To learn more, visit the IPSL website at!



FEMA Corps to Harris School to Chicagoland Policy Lead

June 29, 2017

Shehara Waas served as an AmeriCorps member with the FEMA Corps program between 2013 and 2014, working as an Environmental Consultant for FEMA’s Office of Environmental and Historical Preservation.

“In my experience, AmeriCorps’ various service programs target those who want to understand how collective action and genuine public interest can make an impact,” says Waas.


Waas built on her AmeriCorps experience at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, where she recently earned a master’s degree in public policy. With the solid foundation in service she got through AmeriCorps and the high-level analytical skills she acquired during her time at Harris, she’s now well equipped to make social impact on a large scale. After working with Fresh Taste to strengthen good policy in the Chicago region, Shehara’s most current role is with the Metropolitan Planning Council as a Research Associate.

Chicago Harris recently strengthened its commitment to helping AmeriCorps alumni like Waas continue to pursue positive change after their service term ends. For incoming students in the Fall of 2018, Harris will match in full the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award provided to AmeriCorps alumni who enroll in a master’s degree program. Harris began the full matching program in the Fall of 2017 and is the first policy school in the state of Illinois to offer such matching funds.

“Whereas some look at a situation and say, ‘Someone should do something about that,’ AmeriCorps members see the situation and say, ‘I will do something about that,’” says Scott McFarland, executive director of Serve Illinois, which administers AmeriCorps programs across Illinois. “I want to thank Harris for showing that our colleges and universities understand that these AmeriCorps volunteers are the best that America has to offer.”

Adam McGriffin, associate director of career development at Harris, has worked extensively with AmeriCorps as a member, program director and commissioner. He believes that the investment builds on the shared priorities of AmeriCorps and Harris. “I’ve been involved with AmeriCorps at every level and can confidently say that AmeriCorps service, combined with the rigorous quantitative training offered at Harris, creates the ideal combination of firsthand experience and world-class education to develop the next generation of effective change agents,” says McGriffin, an AmeriCorps alum.



The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy was founded on the belief that rigorous, quantitative research is the best guide for public policy. Since 1988, when the School opened its doors, it has built on the University of Chicago’s rich legacy as one of the world’s leading educational and research institutions. Honoring its foundation, Harris does not restrict itself to any particular policy domain but distinguishes itself by its unique point of view. From urban studies to early childhood development, from environmental sustainability to global health and more, Harris brings an exacting, data-driven perspective to the full spectrum of policy concerns.

Continually adapting to address the world’s most complex social challenges, the school is a pre-eminent source of scholarship with immediate relevance to practitioners. Our students come to us with the ambition to make a difference, and they graduate with a set of skills that enable them to become effective policy leaders. Harris alumni are thriving in a wide range of fields, but they are united by their belief that there is a science to social impact.

All students are required to take a year-long core curriculum providing a multidisciplinary foundation in policy analysis. Electives deepen students’ quantitative and critical thinking skills in areas such as economics, statistics, decision theory, political economy and organizational theory. Students are also encouraged to develop areas of expertise and acquire real-world training through coursework at Harris and other schools at the University, as well as through internships, practica and independent research projects.

In the most recent Career Outcomes Report surveying 2016 graduates, 97% of reporting 2016 graduates secured employment, and 92% reported being “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their job. Among U.S. citizens, 42% of students reported roles in the private sector, 32% in the non-profit/NGO/IGO sector, and 26% reported employment within Public Service or a Government Agency. Regardless of their career path, graduating students are ready not only to be outstanding policy analysts but to lead policy change.

Like AmeriCorps members and alumni, Harris students, faculty, and alumni bring passion and precision to complex challenges. They know how to figure out what’s best for society—and get it done.

To learn more about Harris and to determine which program is the best fit for you, please contact the Harris Admissions Team at

Partner post courtesy of the University of Chicago Harris School

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