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THE BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE- September 2012: Issue No. 10
The September 2012 AmeriCorps Alums Career Newsletter is Exclusively Sponsored By:
In this issue
No 1: Clark University No 2: The Evergreen State College
No 3: Applying for Graduate School: An Alum's Perspective No 4: Professional Development Webinar

Clark University


Challenge Convention. Change Our World.
These words are much more than the Clark University motto. They are a rallying cry that inspires the Clark community every day, and at the same time embodies the spirit of AmeriCorps. Whether researching youth worker issues, improving labor practices in developing countries, or forming unique collaborations, Clark’s faculty and students continually develop new ways of thinking and acting that have impact on the lives—and livelihoods—of people throughout the world.

Clark offers master’s degree programs in the Graduate School of Management and the International Development, Community, and Environment (IDCE) Department. Clark’s community of scholars and practitioners, which includes many AmeriCorps alumni, is dedicated to fostering environmental sustainability, social justice, and economic well-being in both the developing and developed world.

Combining this philosophy with its strong commitment to service programs like AmeriCorps, Clark has become a leading graduate school option for AmeriCorps alumni throughout the country. Clark's commitment includes:

  • Providing over $400,000 in scholarship assistance to AmeriCorps alumni enrolled in 2012
  • Offering a minimum of $22,860 in scholarship assistance to all AmeriCorps alumni admitted to Management or IDCE graduate schools
  • Waiving the application fee for all AmeriCorps alumni applicants

Take Heather Tomlins for example. Heather is an AmeriCorps VISTA alumna who served in Missoula, Montana, from 2002 to 2004. She graduated from Clark in May 2012 with an MA in International Development and Social Change. She loved how well Clark’s programs integrated theory and practice: "Clark students are able to take what they learn in the classroom out into the field and then back again to reflect on and think about what that means in terms of their own career trajectory.” Heather is now an associate at Chemonics, an international development organization, based in Washington, D.C.

Clark is currently recruiting AmeriCorps alumni in the following programs:
International Development, Community, and Environment (IDCE)
  • MA in Community Development and Planning
  • MA in International Development and Social Change
  • MS in Environmental Science and Policy
  • MS in Geographic Information Science (GIS) for Development and Environment

Graduate School of Management (GSOM)

  • MBA
  • MBA in Social Change
  • MBA in Sustainability

Dual Degrees

  • MBA/MA in Community Development and Planning
  • MBA/MS in Environmental Science and Policy

For more information on IDCE, go to, call 508-793-7205, or email For more information on GSOM, go to, call 508-793-7406, or email

The Evergreen State College


Evergreen has what AmeriCorps alumni want in a graduate school
27 currently enrolled AmeriCorps alumni agree that you won’t find anyplace else quite like The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. At Evergreen,
graduate programs focus on learning, not grades; collaboration, not competition; interdisciplinary perspectives, not silos; teaching and learning relationships, not regurgitation; and real world practices, not just theories.

So... What's The Evergreen Difference?

  • AmeriCorps alumni are eligible for scholarships that equal up to one quarter of resident tuition per year
  • The graduate application fee is waived for all AmeriCorps alumni
  • Located in the state capital, Evergreen gives students immediate access to policy makers, leading thinkers, and applied learning opportunities
  • Collaborative, interdisciplinary team-taught programs and courses, with evaluations instead of grades
  • Graduate programs are grounded in values of service, community, social justice and stewardship.
  • Evergreen faculty put you first, sharing experiences from their fields and fostering your internships
  • Evergreen's small classes and cohort model provide a rich and cohesive learning community while building strong professional relationships that last through the program and beyond

Evergreen offers a different path to a career in public service with three distinct degrees:

The Evergreen State College is also located in an amazingly beautiful and dynamic place. Evergreen's 1000-acre forested campus has a beach on Puget Sound and is close to Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Olympic National Park and the Pacific Ocean. And the eclectic city scenes of Seattle and Portland are just an hour or two away.

You want to serve the public good. Take the next step here. Learn more at

Applying For Graduate School: An AmeriCorps Alum's Perspective
by Diana Epstein, AmeriCorps Class of 2002, 2003


When I served in AmeriCorps NCCC , my work in diverse communities allowed me to gain a first-hand view of the challenges facing our country. After that year I decided that I wanted to help fix some of these problems on a policy level, and to do that I would need to get a graduate degree in public policy. I applied to graduate school during my second year in NCCC and started the program a month after finishing my term of service. I’ve since gone on to earn a PhD and my doctoral dissertation examined the long-term impacts of service on AmeriCorps members. Now I work as an education policy researcher, and the combination of AmeriCorps and graduate school has shaped my career path.

The grad school application cycle starts fairly early in the school year, so plan to research schools in the summer, get your applications ready in the fall, and submit them as early as you can prior to the deadlines in late fall/early winter.  Some schools offer an Ed Award match or other special scholarship for AmeriCorps Alums so be sure to consider those options if they offer the program you’re interested in. For a complete list click here. Grad schools are competitive and they expect an applicant to write essays explaining why he/she is interested in that particular field of study at that specific school. Don’t take shortcuts by using the exact same essay for each school, and include details about how your AmeriCorps experience has impacted your decision to pursue an advanced degree.

If you aren’t using your Ed Award to pay off student loans from college, then using it for graduate school is an obvious choice. Make an appointment to see someone in the financial aid or scholarship office as soon as possible so that you get the process started. Fortunately most universities have encountered at least a few AmeriCorps alums by now, so they should know what to expect. Bring all documentation of your Ed Award and service year(s) and any other materials you’ve received from the National Service Trust. Remember, you can use your Ed Award for tuition or qualified living expenses in grad school, so even if you are getting your tuition paid you can still use the Award to buy groceries or help with your rent.

Diana Epstein is a member of the AmeriCorps Alums Advisory Council, and can be reached at

Professional Development Webinar


Our September Professional Development Webinar, "Choosing a Grad Program" will discuss how and why current students and graduates from Master's programs chose a particular degree/area of study and how they think it enhanced their career.  We'll include a variety of degrees to provide multiple perspectives.

If you are thinking about attending graduate school, you will want to make sure to attend this webinar, as it will provide insights from fellow alumni that you can use in making a decision on what area to study in graduate school.  Register today!

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