When I entered VISTA just after finishing a math degree, I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. Through a series of twists and turns, VISTA service led to continued employment in nonprofit management, followed by graduate school, and then more graduate school.
I'm now a PhD Candidate at Syracuse University studying virtual organizing and systems for large-scale civic participation. My VISTA experience as a volunteer coordinator for a literacy agency provided valuable background for my dissertation research on citizen science, a form of research collaboration involving the public in real-world scientific research.
Although it hardly made sense at the time, all of the unique job experiences I've accumulated since starting out in VISTA have added up to a great foundation for a long and fulfilling academic career for which learning and service go hand-in-hand.