From VISTA to Vocation

The AmeriCorps VISTA program chooses people for service in nonprofits or local government offices throughout the country. For many years, Ecolibrium3 has placed VISTA members at civic offices and community organizations in many different fields: sustainability, community health, local agriculture, transportation, technology, administration, and more. 

During their service, VISTA members make connections, build skills, and gain experience. Some VISTAs even go on to work in their field of service. Over the past year, we have been catching up with former Eco3 VISTA members to see what they’ve been up to since their year of service.

Abigail served at Zeitgeist from 2019-2020. Throughout her service, she grew more interested in transportation advocacy and community engagement. She is now working at a company that does communications and engagement for transportation and infrastructure projects. Abigail shared that her service “laid a great foundation for the community-based work I am doing now.”

Hayley served as a VISTA Leader from 2020-2021. After her service, Hayley used her noncompetitive eligibility to get a job with the Environmental Protection Agency. She is currently entering law school. “My experience with VISTA service was great,” she said, “because it brought unanticipated challenges, and made me more flexible and adaptable.”

Joel served at the University of Minnesota Extension Northeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership from 2020-2021. “I use the experience I got at NERSDP every day. I’m ready to teach myself new concepts. I feel more confident learning on the job.” Joel recently graduated from law school. 

Leah served as the Low Income Housing VISTA with the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships from 2020-2021. As part of her service Leah supported communications for local nonprofit Green New Deal Housing. “It really helped me,” she said. “It connected and prepared me for the design and advocacy work I do now in high performance housing.”  

Lena served as an Eco3 Transportation VISTA from 2022-2023. She is now a transportation designer. Lena shared that VISTA helped prepare her for her current work. “I was able to get into the mindset of ‘I know I can do this, I just have to ask a lot of questions and jump into it, and be confident.’”

Lucas served at Ecolibrium3 from 2018-2020. During his service, he became interested in helping communities move to renewable energy. Lucas is now earning a degree in energy policy. He said he is grateful to Eco3 for “opening doors and getting me into projects that I wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to engage with.”

Maia served at Ecolibrium3 from 2022-2023. After their service, Maia used their eligibility to get a position with the US Forest Service Region 8 Timber Strike Team. The job includes marking and measuring trees and can be challenging, but also fun and rewarding. Maia told us they are excited to be taking this next step in their career with the federal government.

Tracy served at Ecolibrium3 in 2021. Tracy says VISTA helped her develop her vocation: “the place where your talents and skills meet the needs of the world.” After her service, Tracy became a data scientist at Hennepin County, and has recently joined the Ecolibrium3 staff.

Ecolibrium3 also has a long history of hiring VISTA members into staff positions. Current staff members Phil, Cameron, Lora, and Tracy all began their time at Ecolibrium3 as VISTA members. Tristen and Helen also served with AmeriCorps before joining our staff. 

The AmeriCorps VISTA program benefits members, organizations, and communities. VISTA members benefit from work experience and career opportunities. Communities benefit from their service, and from having great folks working and living in the neighborhood. Host organizations benefit from the contributions of members. Ecolibrium3 is proud to be a part of the AmeriCorps VISTA program.