Right after I graduated from undergrad, I served as an AmeriCorps member with the VISTA program at Citizen Schools New York-New Jersey. I remember taking the recruiter’s call during my graduation ceremony and learning that I got the job! It was a great day all around. At Citizen Schools, I primarily worked with the Development and Civic Engagement teams. My role focused on "capacity building," through exploring new funding opportunities and increasing volunteer retention within the organization. In this role, I was able to hone my networking skills and learn the ins and out of the nonprofit world.
During my time with Citizen Schools, I came across a service-learning graduate program in International Development & Service, through the AmeriCorps Alums Virtual Graduate Fair. Through my graduate program, I was able to transfer the skills I learned from VISTA to an academic path. I had the opportunity to work with educational institutions in New York City, Siena, Italy and Guayaquil, Ecuador, focusing on youth program development and volunteer management. During this time, I lived with local host families, learned new languages, traveled to neighboring countries, and was even able to volunteer in my host communities. Two years and twelve countries later, I earned my Master of Science in International Development & Service and a Masters of Business Administration.
When I returned to the U.S., I served as a VISTA Leader for the New York Campus Compact, leading a cohort of 17 AmeriCorps members who were focused on building campus-community partnerships throughout the state of New York.
My two years with AmeriCorps had a great impact on my personal and professional goals. My service with Campus Compact and Citizen Schools led me to a career path in International Development.