Year of Graduation: 2013
Major: Environmental Studies/ Minor: Anthropology
Current address: Matagalpa, Nicaragua, Centro America
How were you engaged with ARC? Not just the seminar/internship/fellowship but describe the type of project.
I took the grant writing class and was involved in bike ridership programs. I also participated in the first Alternative Fall Break program and Alternative Spring Breaks as well.
Where are you now?
I am currently in the last few months of service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua. I live in a small mountain community of about 800 people.
Where did ARC take you professionally? Are you doing work that connects back to ARC in some way?
I feel like it furthered my understanding of non-profits, and definitely helped me with grant writing, which have both helped me as a Peace Corps Volunteer. While Peace Corps is a government organization, I have still had exposure to NGOs, and have also successfully written two grants. I also feel like it helped give me a better understanding of community organizing, which I have also used as a PCV. Also, I credit a conversation that I had with Deborah Halperin as the reason I am here. I had typed up an e-mail turning down my Peace Corps invitation with my mouse ready to click send when I decided I should talk it over with her first. I have no idea where I’d be right now if I had not decided to talk to her beforehand.
Where did ARC take you personally? Are you engaged in community work that is ARC-like?
It really helped improve my understanding of community engagement and how to get things done in a community. I now have “to sit on the board of a non-profit” on my bucket list, and am hoping to use what I learned in ARC when I’m back in the States. Peace Corps is great, but I feel that ARC did a great job at teaching how to get things done domestically, which is not always the same as abroad.
Did ARC teach you what we were supposed to teach you? Did we teach you anything that was a surprise or outside of the learning objectives?
I would definitely say so! It really taught me how to look at things through a different lens. I lived in Bloomington for 3 years as a student before getting involved with ARC my senior year. I never knew anything about what was going on in West Bloomington, and really did not know much outside the “IWU Bubble.” ARC taught me that you don’t need to travel all around the country (or the world in my current case) to make a difference. There is so much going on at home and all you really need to do is open your eyes.
Share a great memory about ARC/IWU.
I think one of my best ARC memories was when I helped out at the Senior’s Valentines Day party at a community center on the West Side. We helped set up and serve food as well as a few other jobs, but my favorite part was sitting down and talking with the members of the community about what it was like growing up in Bloomington. Also, it was pretty fun dancing and making a fool out of myself too!