For Castleton alumnus Kyle Dash '20, exploration has always been ingrained in his everyday life. The Ecological Studies graduate with a minor in Adventure Recreation has strived to combine his educational experience with world travel and new challenges, which have carried over into his post-graduate position with AmeriCorps.
Throughout his undergraduate studies, Dash was drawn to courses that featured a travel component. His academic journey at Castleton allowed him to engage in hands-on learning experiences in Costa Rica, Iceland, and the California Mojave Desert through various science courses. He was also active in the local community through his work with various clubs on campus including, the Habitat for Humanity, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Sustainability, Rotaract, and Outing clubs, in addition to his effort with the Green Campus Working Group and Spartan Climate Action Committee.
Though undecided about his desired career path, Dash knew he wanted to continue to travel the world and make a difference in his community, as he did at Castleton. Joining AmeriCorps not only proved an ideal fit for his on-the-go lifestyle but also allowed the recent graduate to explore a variety of future career possibilities.
"I have been able to meet fun, supportive people, travel to places I've never been before, and help communities, while also having time to think about career paths," Dash said of his AmeriCorps experience.
In his first assignment to Washington, D.C., he worked with the Salvation Army, organizing volunteers and registries for donation drives. Additional work has consisted of construction and remodeling projects, organizing and cleaning food pantries, helping to clean and sanitize rooms and areas to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and putting together meal bags for the community. As his assignment wraps up in D.C., Dash is looking forward to what comes next, including an upcoming project in West Virginia building hiking trails and assisting with conservation tasks, as well as a new assignment in North Carolina educating school children about local farming operations.
"Currently, I am certified as a Type 2 Wildland Firefighter/Trainee, and am a Forest Team alternate for one of the forest teams in the AmeriCorps Southern Region program,” he said. “I plan to utilize the qualifications and certifications that I have gained from my training in many future environmental projects."
In looking to the future, Dash maintains his quest for exploration and adventure.
"Seize every opportunity that you come across when in AmeriCorps,” he explained. "People who successfully complete a term of service in AmeriCorps are highly prized by many employers, including nonprofit organizations and federal agencies, because they have received lots of training and certifications that make them valuable to employers."