I frequently hear fellow students talking about our alumni network, telling personal stories of random encounters, new connections, or helpful mentors. When I began my first year at SLU, hearing these stories made me excited to become part of a community of lifelong St. Lawrence enthusiasts. Here I am four years later, in awe of our dedicated alumni and grateful to now have my own stories. Whether it’s running into an alum at the gym or spotting a SLU T-shirt down the street, even when we venture away from the vibrant sunsets of the North Country, somehow Laurentians still find each other.
One of these stories begins this past spring, after a day of remote learning ended in finding out my original summer internship was canceled due to COVID-19. Hoping to find another opportunity, a few weeks later I ended up on a phone call with my future supervisor at the Corporation for National and Community Service, now officially known as AmeriCorps.
You may be wondering, what is AmeriCorps? AmeriCorps is a federal agency that runs AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs. It has a variety of service opportunities for people of all ages in regions across the country, and it is definitely an agency to look into if you are interested in service. Their mission is “to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering." As a management and communications intern in the office of the CEO this past summer, I saw up close how this mission drives the agency. My internship experience exposed me to a variety of different people all dedicated to the mission and motivated to make positive impacts in communities across the nation.
One of those people is Lisa Guccione '89, chief of staff at AmeriCorps. After setting up remotely, I had an email in my inbox waiting for me from Lisa—a welcome to the agency and a reminder that our Laurentian family extends far beyond Canton, NY. Lisa has served in both Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. After serving in the AmeriCorps State and National program and as an AmeriCorps VISTA leader, she went on to other jobs within AmeriCorps and landed at her current role as chief of staff in 2019.
Throughout my internship, I was encouraged and supported by my supervisor to develop professionally, ask questions, set up virtual coffee chats with people whose jobs interested me, and express interest in projects that intrigued me. It was an incredible opportunity to learn from the members of the CEO's immediate team, including Lisa, who genuinely cared about my internship experience and my personal takeaways. Someone from the team even painted the logo for me, which I’m holding in the photo above!
St. Lawrence's unofficial motto, found in the stained glass at Gunnison Memorial Chapel, reads “we have lit a candle in the wilderness that will never be extinguished.” I often think of this in terms of our far-reaching alumni network, and unexpectedly making a new Laurentian connection this summer feels like a perfect example. My internship experience reminded me of the nature of our supportive SLU alumni network that is deeply invested in helping Saints along their career paths. I am so grateful for my time at AmeriCorps and for meeting Lisa and the CEO team.