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Finding My Career Through Service

Headshot of author Summer Madrid

ummer Madrid served with AmeriCorps as a College Completion Corps coach at Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College during 2021.



Deciding to serve with College Completion Corps was one of the best things I have done in my life. Not only was I able to develop skills that help me in my current position, but it also helped me think about and prepare for my future. Before serving, I wasn’t sure what kind of career I wanted, but I knew that I liked helping people. Serving at a community college helped me realize that I really liked that setting and that I wanted to focus on building a career in supporting individuals as they work toward their ideal lives.

Since finishing my year of service, I have been working at a community college as an educational training specialist – more casually known as a “coach” to the students I support. As a College Completion Corps coach and AmeriCorps service member, I was able to gain experience that directly prepared me for a career supporting individuals aspiring to earn their degree or certificate. When I started in my current role, I was able to immediately start supporting students because of the skills and experience I gained during my service year. The time I spent searching for additional training opportunities to grow my skills as a College Completion Corps coach made me familiar with the variety of professional development opportunities available, which continues to help me grow in my current position.

I learned and improved many skills during my time with College Completion Corps. The training I received before I started, my experiences working with my cohort of students, and the professional development opportunities I pursued independently helped me with time management, setting goals, performing outreach, and coaching strategies – all skills that I continue to use in my current position. I also became familiar with important tools that many colleges use to support students, such as early alerts and texting platforms.

Equity is an important issue in the academic world. As a College Completion Corps coach, I served at a tribal college in my community. Pushing for equity in educational opportunity within a community that has been historically underserved was important work that prepared me to support students from underrepresented populations at my current community college. I was able to learn and develop strategies that I continue to use today to make sure I am advancing equity at my college, and I am pursuing more training opportunities on equity to continue growing, both personally and professionally.

I really enjoy supporting community college students and coaching them toward their ideal lives. In the future, I will be applying to graduate school to earn a master's degree in counseling so I can continue to advance my career. Service gave me relevant experience, and writing monthly reflections as a service member has given me the confidence to write essays for my graduate school applications.

Serving in College Completion Corps was an overwhelmingly positive influence on my life. I hope that many more people decide to serve with AmeriCorps and have their own positive, growing experience. For everyone who is currently serving or has served – thank you for getting things done for your communities and for America!

Short Description

College Completion Corps alum Summer Madrid reflects on her service year and how it helped her find a career in student success.