This summer, Corrinne McClure (’21) will return to work with BRIDGES, USA, an organization based in Memphis, Tenn., that unites and inspires diverse groups of young people to develop confidence and grow into leaders committed to community transformation.
McClure, a Memphis native, has already accumulated plenty of experience with BRIDGES, USA. She has served four AmeriCorps terms of service with the organization in various capacities, including one full-year term in 2018-19 as an Experiential Education Facilitation Specialist.
This summer, McClure will be working as the Assistant Conference Coordinator for the organization’s Bridge Builders Collaborate Virtual Summer Leadership Conference. The conference includes a series of leadership and diversity trainings, community action projects, and elective events helping participants become better communicators, stronger collaborators, and more familiar with youth-led social change.
In addition to the substantial professional and service experience BRIDGES has shown McClure, it is also the place that introduced her to the Clinton School.
“I had never heard of the Clinton School prior to meeting Veena,” McClure said, referring to Veena Rangaswami, a 2013 graduate of the Clinton School who oversees the BRIDGES Collaborate program. “I expressed my hopes of finding a graduate program that paired classroom learning with practical experience and it’s like a light bulb went off. She shared stories of her time at the Clinton School and when I heard about the three field service opportunities I was sold.”
Rangaswami, who was McClure's supervisor in 2018-19, is one of several Clinton School students and graduates who have worked with BRIDGES over the years, including Molly Merry Campbell (‘09) and Sydney Shearer (‘13).
“As a Class 7 alum, I am always on the lookout for people who might be good fits for the Clinton School, and I knew right off the bat that Corrinne would love it there,” Rangaswami said.
Rangaswami recognized McClure’s passion for public service while serving as her supervisor and mentor. As McClure talked more about her interests – program development, advocacy, monitoring and evaluation – Rangaswami knew that they matched many of the skills the Clinton School helps to nurture and develop.
“I knew she would also love the access to professors, the public programs, and the opportunities for field service, because those were some of my own highlights,” Rangaswami said. “And it's been so fun to maintain my connection to the school through her these past few years.”
“I think Veena’s support in helping me find the Clinton School speaks volumes to the institution’s alumni network,” McClure sad. “I’ve never met a UACS alum that wasn’t willing to go the extra mile to help a prospective or current student!”
Facilitation is one area of interest that draws a through-line from McClure’s work with BRIDGES to her experiences at the Clinton School.
She previously served as a facilitation specialist with BRIDGES, using the experiential education cycle to support 6th through 12th grade students in leadership, diversity, and community action training in the Bridge Builders program.
She extended her facilitation skills as a student at the Clinton School, where she was trained in reflective structured dialogue practices, National Issues Forum deliberation style, and the Coming to the Table dialogue protocol.
As part of her final Capstone project, McClure worked remotely with Essential Partners of Cambridge, Mass., to evaluate the impact of the organization’s reflective structured dialogue process on a private learning institution in Cary, N.C.
“In addition to strengthening my skills as a facilitator, I was also offered invaluable insight into the importance of evaluating our work,” McClure said. “Monitoring and evaluation make us better public servants and ensures that program participants are getting the best experience we can offer.”
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.