Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Sarah Percoulis: Empowering Youth in "the D"


Sarah enjoys the Big Sur coast.

April 26, 2010

Three years ago in the small Michigan farm town of Albion...

"So your majors are Political Science and French. Hmmm...you should check out this grad school out west...called Monterey something-or-other." My college academic advisor would never know the impact that she has made on my life with that statement. That night I spent hours on the computer searching for this "Monterey" school, and the rest is history.

As an AmeriCorps*VISTA member with the Michigan Nonprofit Association, I am frequently asked: What is the title of your degree? This question always leads me to reflect upon the education I received. Even though I technically have a "Master's of Arts in Public Administration in International Management," I sometimes find myself calling it a Master's in Social Change, Digital Media, Collaborative Project Management, Diverse Cultures, and much more.

Not only do our academic programs rival top schools, but the Monterey community provides an open-minded environment that fosters personal growth. I had opportunities to reinforce classroom learning through volunteer work with youth in the Monterey/Salinas community and an internship with the Monterey Peninsula Foundation. As an kinesthetic learner, this time in the field has helped me reach my highest potential.

The MIIS experience has led me to where I am today: empowering youth to "do good" in THEIR communities, back in MY hometown of Detroit, Michigan. And to think, it all started randomly!

Sarah Percoulis (MPA '09) directs the statewide social media efforts and assists with fundraising initiatives for The LEAGUE, a youth empowerment program.

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