AmeriCorps Alumni Spotlights: Laura Griglak

Groups of AmeriCorps Members

Laura Griglak: Pre-Award Grant and Contract Specialist, Kettering UniversityWoman smiling with the words Alumni Spotlight written on photo

AmeriCorps Program: LISC AmeriCorps
Program Years: 2021
Host Site: Neighborhood Engagement Hub
Community Challenges Addressed: Neighborhood Blight, Youth Employment
Communities Served: Neighborhood Groups
Notable Projects Supported: Spring and Fall Citywide Clean-Ups, Porch Fest, Youth Employment Program

Why did you join (your program/AmeriCorps)?

“I needed something that was short term and that would help me get to my ultimate goal, which was to do something with grants. I knew that (AmeriCorps) would look good on a resume.

I knew that the Neighborhood Engagement Hub at least dealt in grants and that I would be meeting the right people and learning the right things. 

It was also something I could do that would make me feel like I was making a difference in the community. It was the right time of my life because I had just graduated with a master’s degree in English, and I needed a transitional job. So, I ended up doing (AmeriCorps).”

How did you grow as a person during your service year?

“I learned how to engage with the community in a more useful way. I learned a lot of things that only people who work with the community would learn. Such as the idea that you want to ask the community what they need instead of assuming what they need…. It’s not about what I think. It’s about what the community needs. And I think that was a very invaluable lesson to learn.”

What opportunities did a year of service bring to you?

“I don’t think I would have the job that I have now if I hadn’t done (AmeriCorps). Now I’m at Kettering in the Office of Sponsored Research, working as the Pre-Award Grant and Contract Specialist. Which basically means that I help the faculty that are pursuing contracts and grants obtain those things. Right now, I have 8-9 grants and contracts that I’m managing.”

What types of connections have you built in Flint because of your service year?

“Obviously, NEH will be a lasting connection. I just actually spoke to somebody today who is putting together a proposal that is going to be partnering with NEH for a project. I’m like, “I know those guys!” [laughing]

I met a lot of people in the community, a lot of community leaders. I feel like I understand the city of Flint better, how it operates and how all the different entities function within each other.”

Do you have anything else to add about your service year?

“The best part was building relationships that will last. I still play Mario Kart with my old co-worker. I still hear my old boss’s name thrown around at the University. It is just nice to add that dimension to my life. 

AmeriCorps will always be something that I will be proud that I did.”