As a recent LSA graduate, I understand very well the anxieties and hopes of students looking for plans after graduation. I know how overwhelming it is to think about the options, looking for applications of academia and the skills picked up along the way in exchange for a salary, or other indications of success. The jobs and projects are the details, but I hope the bigger picture is not overlooked. The broader populations and larger societal influence are the recipients and benefactors. I hope that while soon-to-be graduates look ahead to their careers, they take into account their desires of impact and how their professions may contribute positively to the greater good.

I urge students and future professionals to consider selection of careers and endeavors on the basis of whom they serve. When contemplating “whom do we want our life’s work to impact?” we think greater about the context of professions and the communities that are influenced and apply our skills to the betterment of society. By doing this, we become aware of the effect of our individual contributions and can be of service to our communities. I am not suggesting that our work must be our life, but merely that work and society are not isolated.

I am writing to encourage students to look more closely at opportunities with AmeriCorps post-graduation. As the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps approaches, there is no better time to dedicate ourselves to our communities and a mission of culturally sensitive service.

Opportunities with AmeriCorps provide great exposure to a community’s true needs and spirit while serving them effectively, where members gain professional experience that compliments their outstanding University of Michigan education. While serving with AmeriCorps, members are served with an invaluable and incomparable foundation for any career.

Mariah Van Ermen graduated from the University in 2013.

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