In 2012, Katelyn Schany served as UWECI's first Youth Achievement AmeriCorps member. Read more about her experience in the program and how it shaped her next steps toward a career.Why did you join AmeriCorps?
I joined AmeriCorps because I needed an internship placement to fulfill degree requirements for my Social Work program at the University of Iowa. I was browsing through options one day and came across an opportunity with a new nonprofit, Kids on Course, and thought it sounded right up my alley.
Describe your experience as an AmeriCorps member.
My experience as an AmeriCorps with Kids on Course was very positive. Kids on Course was in its first year when I joined AmeriCorps. I interacted and built relationships with students every day, which was very rewarding. I also received great professional experience that helped guide me to my future career choice in school counseling.
How did you know you were making a difference?
When I left Kids on Course to start graduate school, I gave each student I had worked with a pen pal kit. This kit included notecards, envelopes, pencils, and a special note on the outside. I became pen pals with quite a few students for a few months; however, I continued being pen pals with one student who is now in seventh grade. We have stayed in touch during the past five years, and it has been great to watch her grow into an athletic and motivated young lady.
How did AmeriCorps affect what you did next in life?
When I was an AmeriCorps member, I received a lot of great professional experiences. I was able to see firsthand many different roles in a school from a classroom teacher to nonprofit professionals based in the school to para-professionals. It was very interesting to see how each of these roles worked in a school. Watching the counselor each day made me want to do the same things she was doing. This led me to pursue a degree in K-12 School Counseling.
What would you say to someone considering joining YAA?
I would tell someone considering joining YAA to go for it. It is a great professional experience that can help shape who you become in the future. It can even lead to a full-time job if you’re lucky!