January 25, 2017 at 11:19 am

Anthroplogy Alum Makes Connections During AmeriCorps Service

Megan Norris in front of moss covered rocks next to Lower Punch Bowl Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, in February 2016

Megan Norris at Lower Punch Bowl Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, in February 2016

Megan Norris ’14 served two terms of AmeriCorps State and National Service after graduating with her B.A. in Anthropology with a minor in World Religions from the College of Arts & Sciences at Ohio University.

Program Coordinator to Garden Manager

During her first term she served with the Athens-based COMCorps program which is associated with OHIO’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her placement was at Live Healthy Appalachia as the Live Healthy Kids Program Coordinator.

With her second second term, August 2015 to August 2016, she worked with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest while living in Aberdeen, WA. This placement was at Grays Harbor Public Health Department as a Community Garden Manager.

It Started with Trash Clean Up

Norris’s first experience with AmeriCorps was her participation in an alternative spring break trip with OHIO’s Campus Involvement Center.

Students involved with this trip worked with Ohio Stream Restore Corps members (also an Athens based AmeriCorps program!) doing trash clean ups, volunteering on a local farm, and learning about stream clean ups from acid mine run-offs in the area.

Giving Back and Professional Development

The experience inspired Norris to give back to the Appalachian community and she knew that participating in AmeriCorps was a solid way to accomplish this while gaining meaningful experience and professional skills.

And she did! Norris says she developed professionally in both a non-profit and a governmental organization setting, made professional connections, and was able to explore her career interests ALL while learning how to live off less.

“I can say it’s absolutely doable!” says Norris.

“I had the opportunity to live in a new exciting place (Washington state) without the stress or worry of finding my own accommodations,” she continues. “And I met interesting people I likely wouldn’t have otherwise and had adventures unlike any others. There is no price tag on life experience and AmeriCorps is a unique and resume boosting opportunity to serve others while gaining much, much more yourself. It also comes with a living stipend and educational award upon completion of your service term.”

The challenge now is figuring out what’s next!

Since her AmeriCorps service, Norris has divided her time between exploring graduate school studies, volunteering in her home base of Akron, and spending time with family and friends since living out-of-state. She is building experiences to pursue her interests in the fields of public health and medicine to leverage her anthropological studies.

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