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July 2012: Issue No. 8

If you’re thinking about developing your career with nonprofit, government, educational, or other organizations focused on community learning and engagement, we invite you to consider The International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership (IPSL) and its Master of Arts in International Development and Service at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon. 
The IPSL offers an interdisciplinary curriculum enriched by real world expertise from professionals in the fields of public administration, international development, and nonprofit management, as well as practical hands-on experience via domestic and international service-learning, including two semesters studying, serving, and partnering with professionals in the field abroad.
The IPSL/Concordia University Master of Arts program students spend two semesters in Portland, and two semesters abroad studying and volunteering with NGO's, Non-Profits, and Community Development agencies.  IPSL also matches up to 10% on the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award.
Students engage in hands-on service-learning, actively partnering with leaders in charitable and government agencies- in communities from Portland, Oregon to Chiang Mai, Thailand, from Rome to the Galapagos Islands. IPSL students serve as skilled volunteers with local organizations to help tackle complex global issues such as immigration, education, social justice, and public health.
Graduates go on to international, intercultural careers, from starting their own Non-Governmental Organizations in the U.S. and abroad to educating future generations of Peace Corps volunteers, globally minded students, and diverse leaders.
It is perhaps not surprising that many IPSL graduates are also AmeriCorps alumni.  As AmeriCorps and IPSL alumnus Erin Barnhardt explains:

"Today, 14 years after completing my term of service, I've gone on to become a Fulbright recipient, taught as an adjunct professor, a consultant to nonprofit and government organizations, and recently earned my Ph.D. studying international civic engagement. Looking back, I can see clearly that The IPSL played a significant role in what has become a dynamic, rewarding and enriching career in public service."

During your time with AmeriCorps, you faced some of the biggest challenges and opportunities for diverse, intercultural American communities. Now imagine leveraging the skills and perspectives that you’ve gained during your term of service and applying them on a global scale, actively serving and learning abroad while gaining hands-on experience with community organizations, institutions, and fellow citizens in diverse global communities.
To learn more about The IPSL graduate program in International Development and Service program, please click here.

Erin L. Barnhardt
AC Program: NCCC
Years Served: '97-'98

Scott Ferguson
AC Program: VISTA
Served: '08

Whitney Pfeifer
AC Program(s): Boise School District, St. James ESL 
Years Served: '10-'12

Tina Shantz
AC Program: VISTA
Years Served: '08-'10

As many alumni have discovered, the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award can create an unexpected tax burden.  Each dollar of the Ed Award that you use counts as income in the eyes of the government, and is therefore taxed accordingly. Using the tax bracket chart as a guide, here are some potential scenarios and solutions that can help you minimize the tax burden created by the use of your Segal AmeriCorps Education Award.
FIGURE 1: Marginal U.S. Tax Rates^
Tax Bracket Married Filing Jointly Single
10% Bracket $0 – $17,400 $0 – $8,700
15% Bracket $17,400 – $70,700 $8,700 – $35,350
25% Bracket $70,700 – $142,700 $35,350 – $85,650
28% Bracket $142,700 – $217,450 $85,650 – $178,650
33% Bracket $217,450 – $388,350 $178,650 – $388,350
35% Bracket
Over $388,350
Over $388,350
^If a single person earns $40,000, taxes would be 10% of the amount from $0 to $8,700, 15% of the amount from $8,700 to $35,350, and 25% of the amount from $35,350 to $40,000. Not accounting for deductions, this person would owe $6,030 in federal income taxes.
Scenario 1*: Single alumnus who uses Ed Award to pay off student loans in 2012
Sue earns a salary of $32,500 year, and used her $5,550 Ed Award to pay off student loans.
Tax Burden Impact: Because Sue utilized all of her Ed Award in 2012, this has bumped her into the 25% tax bracket, which means she is deemed to have earned $38,050 in 2012.  In addition to increasing her federal tax obligation from $4,440.00 ($32,500) to $5,542.50 ($38,050), the manner in which she used Ed Award has bumped her from the 15% to the 25% tax bracket.  $2,700 of her $38,050 in income is now subject to a higher tax rate, and  the change in tax brackets has created an extra $270 in tax obligations.
Potential Solution: Sue could apply the use of her Ed Award over multiple years, which would allow her to remain in the 15% tax bracket, and eliminate the need to pay the additional $270 she would owe if she were in the 25% tax bracket.
Scenario 2*: Single alumnus who is in school, and uses Ed Award to pay off existing student loans
Tim earns a meager $3,500 a year, while also attending graduate school, and uses his Ed Awards from two AmeriCorps terms, or $11,100 to pay off existing student loans
Tax Burden Impact: Because Tim utilized both Ed Awards in 2012, he is deemed to have earned $14,600 in 2012. In addition to increasing his federal tax obligation from $350 ($3,500) to $1,755 ($14,600), the manner in which he used the Ed Awards has bumped him from the 10% to the 15% tax bracket.  Because $5,900 of his $14,600 in income is now subject to the higher tax rate, Tim owes an extra $295 of tax.

Potential Solution: Tim could apply the use of the Ed Award over mulitple years, which would help him remain in the 10% tax bracket, and he could save the extra $295 he would owe if he were in the 15% tax bracket.

*Scenarios don't take into account tax deductions, which would lower your taxable income.  AmeriCorps Alums is not an expert in tax law, and we encourage you to do your own due diligence when considering the tax consequences of how you utilize your Education Award.

It is becoming more common for potential employers to ask candidates to record themselves as part of the interview selection process. Often times, the interviewers will provide a set of questions for you to answer and a hard deadline on when a recorded video needs to be sent in. Though it’s just you and your video camera, this process can be more intimidating than actually going in for a live interview, but we’ve got some tips to help you ace your recorded interview.
Make sure to research your questions and prospective company thoroughly prior to recording. On the day of, choose a quiet place without a lot of background noise or visual distractions. Dress professionally from head to toe – just because you’re sitting, doesn’t mean you should opt for casual bottoms. Make sure to look directly at your camera, and not the computer screen when answering questions. Try not to have too many notes in front of you, so your eyes are drawn away during the recording. The best part of these recorded interviews is that you have opportunities to rerecord, so have a friend watch and give you critiques before you submit the video to your employer. With practice, you’ll master this new media form of interviewing to get the job!
We’ll be talking more about the topic of video interviews in our LinkedIn group so please join the discussion here.
On Tuesday, July 24th, 2012, from 12PM to 1PM Eastern, AmeriCorps Alums will provide a professional development webinar on "LinkedIn and Your Career."  This month, we'll discuss the impact of LinkedIn, and how you can use it to advance your career. You'll hear from LinkedIn experts (AmeriCorps alumni that have extensively used LinkedIn to advance their careers), and we'll run through best practices that will help boost your career prospects.

How will the webinar focus on AmeriCorps alumni?
The webinar will provide you with guidance on how to optimize your use of LinkedIn for the purposes of your career advancement.
To register, click here now.

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