Chicago Harris Strengthens Commitment to AmeriCorps Members

Chicago Harris has strengthened its commitment to helping AmeriCorps alumni continue to pursue positive change after their service term ends. Beginning in the fall, Chicago Harris will match in full the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award provided to AmeriCorps alumni who enroll in a master’s degree program at Harris, making it the first policy school in the state of Illinois to offer such matching funds.

AmeriCorps is a federal program that dispatches Americans to support a wide range of local service programs. Participants spend one year in full- or part-time positions around the country, working in fields like education, health care and environmental protection. The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award—named after Eli Segal, the first CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps—funds educational opportunities for participants who have completed a term of service with an AmeriCorps program.

“Whereas some look at a situation and say, ‘Someone should do something about that,’ AmeriCorps members see the situation and say, ‘I will do something about that,’” says Scott McFarland, executive director of Serve Illinois, which administers AmeriCorps programs across Illinois. “I want to thank Harris for showing that our colleges and universities understand that these AmeriCorps volunteers are the best that America has to offer,” says McFarland.

Adam McGriffin, associate director of Career Development at Harris who has worked extensively with AmeriCorps as a member, program director and commissioner, believes that the investment builds on the shared priorities of AmeriCorps and Harris. “I’ve been involved with AmerCorps at every level and can confidently say that AmeriCorps service, combined with the rigorous quantitative training offered at Harris, creates the ideal combination of real-world, first-hand experience and world-class education to develop the next generation of effective change agents,” says McGriffin.

AmeriCorps alumni have long brought their talents to Harris, where they hone their skills in evidence-based analysis and gain relevant experience outside the classroom alongside like-minded individuals. 

Shehara Waas, MPP’16, served as an AmeriCorps member with the FEMA Corps program between 2013 and 2014, working as an Environmental Consultant for FEMA’s Office of Environmental and Historical Preservation. “In my experience, AmeriCorps’ various service programs target those who want to understand how collective action and genuine public interest can make an impact,” says Waas. “Here at Harris, I believe that AmeriCorps alumni can find a community of people with common goals and ideals.”

—Lauren Daurizio