By Jessica Schrader
Edited by Tina Norland
It’s the beginning of July, and that means most of us have about a month left to go in our service terms. Time certainly does fly! I recently talked with another former AmeriCorps member, Virginia Grych, to see what she’s done in the past year since her term of service ended.
Where are you from, and where did you go to college? What did you major in?
I’m from Princeton, WV, and I went to Marshall University in Huntington, WV for undergrad. While there, I double majored in Religious Studies and Psychology.
How did you hear about AmeriCorps, and why did you decide to apply?
I first found out about AmeriCorps from acquaintances who completed a service term either before or after going to college, and I knew that I wanted to commit myself to a year of service in a similar capacity. When I graduated college, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with my degrees, and I didn’t want to continue bouncing from temp job to temp job until something better came along. I saw this as the perfect opportunity not only to immerse myself in service, but also to explore my interests and skills in hopes of finding work that I might be interested in continuing as a career.
Where did you serve, and what was your role there?
I served at the GPLC CareerLink Workforce Classroom, where I was a GED and ABE teaching assistant. I basically helped the full-time teachers tutor students individually and in small groups, and helped test and assess our students.
What are you doing now, and how did you get there?
I’m currently going into the second year of my Master’s in College Student Personnel at Ohio University, and hope to complete a dual degree in Cultural Studies in Education as well. I’m also a graduate assistant for the Supplemental Instruction program, which is one of the academic support services offered at OU.
How do you feel your experience in AmeriCorps affected your life after your term of service?
My service term with AmeriCorps helped me realize how much I enjoyed supporting students through academic challenges, which directly influenced my decision to apply for my current Master’s program. It also caused me to develop an interest in academic and social equity, which inspired my decision to apply for a dual degree in Cultural Studies in Education.
What was your favorite memory from serving with AmeriCorps?
The most memorable part of my service term would have to be all of the people I was able to meet and form relationships with. This is true at all levels of my experience, from the AC coordinators, my site supervisors, the students I worked with, and my fellow corps members. I learned great lessons from all of them, and had a very rich experience because of them.
Do you have any advice for current members as their terms of service come to an end?
My advice to members coming to the end of their service would be to keep an open mind about opportunities that may await them and to be confident in wherever their next steps may lead.