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Case Study: Megan Wadin

Personal details
Degree:Geography Profile picture
School(s): School of Geography and Geosciences
Year of Graduation:Jun-2016
National of: United States of America
Employment details
Organisation: Illinois Institute of Technology Global Leaders Program/Americorps VISTA
Job title: Community Development Specialist
Occupational Sector: Community Work
What has been your route to getting your current position?
I applied to several jobs after graduation and ended up just volunteering for the refugee resettlement organisations I was interested in working for and waitressing. After a year I began to look more into Americorps and ended up applying for several positions and settling on this one!
What does your job involve ?
The Illinois Tech Global Leaders Program (GLP) is a free, two-year academic enrichment program for high school students across Chicago. GLP aims to be a catalyst for Chicago’s talented youth as they develop their interests in STEM fields, hone their unique leadership abilities, and take steps towards college and career. The program seeks to inspire high-achieving youth from across the city to lead and serve through STEM and support their path to higher education. As a Community Development Specialist VISTA, my role is to build capacity for the IIT Global Leaders Program (GLP) by focusing on community partnership development and volunteer engagement. I develop programming focused on youth empowerment, college access, and service learning for minority high school students. Additionally, I coordinate programming for the FastForward Program at IIT aimed at facilitating the transition from community college to a four-year institution.
What are the best bits of your job ?
I really enjoy researching and developing programming for the students as they design and implement their own community service projects over the course of their junior year in high school. I like working with the students and connecting them with community organisations across Chicago that help them implement their projects. I also enjoy the grant writing and strategic planning elements of the role.
Why were you successful?
I was successful because I continued to submit applications to a wide range of organizations, I was open to jobs I hadn't previously considered.
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
Research and writing are critical in this job as well as a knowledge of different social and urban issues.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?
I would encourage students to apply to the programs they are most passionate about, the volunteer stipend is not much so you definitely have to enjoy the work you are doing! It makes it worth it!