My name is Nick Brown. I received my bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College where I studied Cinema and Photography. I grew up in Rhode Island and after college moved to Los Angeles where I worked in film and tv for a year, before moving back to Rhode Island to work on a local movie about my hometown.
When did you serve the Community Builder Program as an AmeriCorps VISTA?
"I served Souris Basin Planning Council as an AmeriCorps VISTA from July 2020 to July 2021. I served as a VISTA in Minot, North Dakota. "
Why North Dakota?
"When I began to think about where I wanted to serve, I decided I wanted to experience a life that was so far removed from my own. I was specifically looking at host sites in the Midwest and Alaska. I was interested in serving AND discovering a unique community, and North Dakota definitely fit that description in my mind, mostly because as someone from the east coast, I was ignorant to rural communities and serving in Minot gave me direct access to North Dakotans."
What was your role?
"I was a Communications VISTA for Souris Basin Planning Council. I helped create promotion materials for SBPC as well as creating social media posts that included photos and videos."
What was your favorite project you worked on?
"The Creative Economy Summit. I created two videos showcasing artists within the community and it was great to showcase other artists through a medium that means a lot to me."
Artist Video from the Creative Economy Summit | Little Red Liar | Arvin Davis Jr. | Minot, ND
What challenges did you face during your service?
"The main challenge was being two thousand miles away from my family. It wasn’t as difficult as living in Los Angeles because North Dakota was only an hour behind. There was also the fact that I simply wasn’t familiar with rural America, so I had to listen and ask questions to my coworkers about best course of action, because you never know what can be learned from simply asking “Why?”
When you transitioned out of your role as an AmeriCorps VISTA, what did you do next?
"I accepted a permanent staff position at Souris Basin Planning Council to become their full-time Communications Specialist. I held this position for a year and half."
What are you doing now and how do you feel AmeriCorps has contributed to your success?
"I am currently the Digital Communications Specialist for Harvard Human Resources at Harvard University. I wouldn’t have this position if it weren’t for my time as a VISTA for Souris Basin Planning Council’s Community Builder Program. Serving gave me the confidence to succeed doing what I find fulfilling at a company, or in this case higher institution, that I didn’t believe could be achieved. It also prepared me on specific roles that I would like to one day grow into; a manager and then Director."
What is your favorite part of this new role and where do you hope to grow?
"Much like the work I took part in Community Builder Program as an AmeriCorps VISTA, this role at Harvard is putting me at the forefront of showcasing the people of this community. My favorite part is meeting people who genuinely love the work they do, and that makes me feel even better about the work I do. Harvard is not shy about staff moving internally, so I know to always keep an eye out for opportunities in other departments across the institution. I hope to get my Master’s Degree through the Harvard Extension School and take as many classes and lectures as I can."
Click here to learn more about the Community Builder Program and AmeriCorps .