Fostering the Meaning of National Service

By Will Chrysanthos


VISTA gains additional insight into programs through Eli Segal Fellowship

I was serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA member during Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts when I first heard about the Eli Segal Fellowship

It was 2009 and I was surrounded by a multitude of national service programs doing incredible work for our country. I had served as an AmeriCorps and an AmeriCorps VISTA member for nearly four years by that point and I knew that service could be a solution to many of our nation’s most-pressing problems. But I did not know that national service could be a career.

I started to research the infrastructure that supports national service at a state and federal level, and became fascinated by CNCS and State Service Commissions. I learned about the Eli Segal Fellowship and decided that it would be an ideal option for me to build upon my years as a Corps member by learning from, and sharing my experience with, the highest echelons of decision-making in the service movement. 

Once I was named the Fellow in 2011, I quickly moved my life from Jackson, MS, to Washington, DC, and dove into work under the guidance of the national AmeriCorps Director, John Gomperts. 

I found the Segal Fellowship to be a completely different experience than any of my years of service, which is what made it so incredible. I learned how the outcome of projects, programs, and evaluations designed at CNCS have implications across the entire national service field. And I found my own experience as a service member to be a truly insightful and valuable juxtaposition of the cause and effect that decisions made at CNCS have on the service programs and their members in the field. 

I could not have asked for a more intriguing opportunity to learn what actually goes into running a successful federal program.

AmeriCorps VISTA alum Will Chrysanthos was managing an AmeriCorps VISTA project in Mississippi when he was named the 2011 Eli Segal Fellow. You can learn more about the Eli Segal Fellowship on the CNCS website and apply at The deadline to apply for this year’s fellowship is Friday, May, 23, 2014.

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