Written by Ben Mulick

Welcome to the new installment of Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin’s (the Alliance) AmeriCorps blog! My name’s Ben, and I’ll be your window into the public health AmeriCorps experience for the next year or so. While I’m welcoming you to the blog, let me tell you a bit about myself and how I got here.

My path to working at the Alliance as an AmeriCorps member was a little unconventional. I’ll come right out and say it: I’m genuinely surprised to find myself doing public health work! When I began my university education, I had been planning for a career in national security. My education was international studies-focused, with an emphasis on security-related coursework. The core courses for my degree were all interesting and provided a great foundation to help me understand the news from a different lens. Even though most of my college coursework hasn’t followed me into the start of my career, the one thing from college that I have stuck with is the Russian language. My degree required four years of a language, and I chose Russian more or less on a whim. It ended up being far and away my very favorite part of my education, and continuing to study and practice with it has become a personal passion project. While I’ve told you a lot about what I did in college, it’s hard to imagine a path from there to working in public health for children; so what happened?

Late in the process of pursuing my bachelor’s degree, I came to the realization that what had appealed to me about the national security sector had been the opportunity to help and protect people. I began to wonder if there were more effective ways of helping others than the career that I was heading toward; ways to really focus on the people who needed help the most. I started looking at other options and found myself more and more drawn toward the nonprofit sector.

In my last year of college I interned remotely with the UK-based Afghanistan and Central Asian Association (ACAA), whose mission is to help Afghan and Central Asian migrants establish safe and prosperous lives upon coming to the UK. It wasn’t long after the Taliban had come back to power, and there were a lot of people coming to the ACAA for help. My work was research-focused, and I spent most of my time either identifying financial and educational resources for the people that ACAA served or finding the information needed to help ACAA contact and partner with other organizations. It wasn’t glamorous work by any stretch, but it felt incredibly meaningful and confirmed the nonprofit sector was the right way to go. After getting my degree, I started searching for jobs and found AmeriCorps as a great way to get started with nonprofit work quickly, and in a way that would help me build the skills needed to do valuable work going forward. AmeriCorps connected me with the Alliance and I’m thrilled to be here. Even in the short time that I’ve been with the Alliance I’ve been doing a lot of meaningful work, and I can’t wait to see what the year ahead holds.

Now that we’re acquainted, you can come back and check out the blog each month for a new post about the work I’m doing, what it’s like being a Public Health AmeriCorps member, and more. I’m excited to have you join me for the journey ahead!