Did you know that many AmeriCorps members tailor their service to correspond with their career interests? Current AmeriCorps member, Abbi Atkinson shares insights on her experience teaching STEM to kids in low-income communities in Cincinnati and how it has affected her. Question: Where do you serve? Answer: I have served with the Cincinnati Zoo since 2018 and will be done later this year at the end of the program year. Q: What do you do in this role? A: Environmental education through an education grant that allows kids in the low-income community around the zoo to have access to STEM education. I teach classes year-round, write curriculums, help to recruit children for the programs, and have made long-lasting relationships with the children served. Q: How has serving as an AmeriCorps member impacted your life? A: As most of the people serving in AmeriCorps, service is in the core of my being. I have served in other areas, but never one that also corresponds with my career interests. It has been incredible to serve with people with the same goals as me and who also love nature as much as I do. This position has given me so much hope for the future of the Earth, life-long friendships, and so many opportunities to serve a community that is transitioning into family. Q: What have you enjoyed most about your experience? A: The relationships that I have made are so dear to me. I moved to Cincinnati from Arkansas about a year and a half ago and it quickly became home. The people that I serve with and for are all so inspiring and continue to fuel my passion for this field. I have been able to build relationships with families in the community by teaching their children about the animals that I love. I have also been able to grow as a person and a professional. Q: Would you recommend joining AmeriCorps to your peers? Why or why not? A: Yes! It is a wonderful opportunity to grow as a person, make so many connections, and learn more about the field you are serving in. Q: What’s next for you? A: After my second year of service comes to an end, I will be finishing grad school through the Zoo’s and Miami University’s Advanced Inquiry Program. Upon graduation, I will be looking for jobs in a field that allows me to continue serving my community and the world around me through environmental education.