The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) Eli Segal Fellowship is a highly competitive and prestigious fellowship provided to one AmeriCorps alumnus each year. The full-time, paid, 13-month fellowship provides emerging leaders with an unparalleled opportunity to gain first-hand experience in how a federal agency works to implement policy and leverage national service in order to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing our nation. The fellowship is now accepting applications until May 23, 2014.
Iris Dooling was the 2009 Eli Segal Fellow. As a Fellow, she had the opportunity to work with CNCS CEO’s Office, and other departments in the agency, to advance national service policy, operations and strategy. Prior to the Fellowship, Iris managed AmeriCorps programs and was also an AmeriCorps member.
1. What inspired you to apply for the Eli Segal Fellowship?
I was working at Habitat for Humanity, managing the Louisiana State AmeriCorps program, and I was asked to promote the fellowship among my members. I sent out the announcement to my members, but the more I read through the position description, the more I thought that this could be a cool opportunity for me as well. I applied because I had experienced the AmeriCorps program as a member, first with the Indiana Reading Corps, (2005-2006) and with Teach for America (2006-2007). I was curious about the “why” behind a lot of the decisions that were made by CNCS. I wanted to get an additional level of understanding about the policy and politics behind the programs.
2. What projects did you work on as an Eli Segal Fellow?
For one of my projects, I was the Volunteer Coordinator for the Conference on Volunteering and Service in New York City in 2010. This meant that I worked on all aspects of recruitment, placement, scheduling, training and supervision for over 500 conference volunteers. I also got to participate in a project led by the Director of AmeriCorps to discuss and improve the AmeriCorps member experience. We used principles of design thinking to investigate various types of AmeriCorps experiences, find commonalities and areas for improvement, and put structures in place to help improve the problems we identified.
3. What advice would you give to prospective applicants?
It is important to be able to tell your story for the interview (and in life, in general). You should spend some time thinking about how your previous experiences and AmeriCorps service have impacted you thus far and how being the fellow at this point in time would help contribute to your growth and development.
Following her Eli Segal Fellowship, Iris Dooling joined the CNCS staff and worked with the Disaster Services Unit and AmeriCorps NCCC program. She is currently a Master of Public Administration candidate at the New York University Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. Iris continues to work with CNCS as a Selection and Placement Assistant with the AmeriCorps NCCC program, and is serving as a Research and Partnerships Fellow for the Taproot Foundation.
© Victoria Johnson 2014, all rights reserved.