2017-18 AmeriCorps Service Opportunity

2017-2018 AmeriCorps 4H Outreach Program:
Water Rocks! – STEM Music and Outreach Service Opportunity

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Position Title:

STEM Music and Outreach AmeriCorps Service Member


General Summary:

Do you have an interest in music, youth outreach, STEM, and environmental issues? We are seeking AmeriCorps service members who are detail-oriented, strong communicators, enthusiastic, have singing skills to perform in front of hundreds of youth, and have a great sense of service and fun!

AmeriCorps members will deliver high energy, engaging outreach programs across the state of Iowa with Water Rocks!, Iowa State University’s award-winning youth water education program. Members will travel across the state, delivering Water Rocks! outreach programs at schools (music assemblies as well as classroom presentations), camps, county fairs, festivals and farmers markets. Through these outreach events, AmeriCorps members will engage with young people on water, soil, and natural resources issues, as well as inspiring them to explore STEM-related careers, raising awareness and enhancing STEM + environ¬mental literacy statewide. Further, AmeriCorps members will also have the opportunity to contribute to water quality- and soil health-related research at Iowa State University, gaining on-the-ground experience with timely conservation issues.

This full-time year-long opportunity begins in October 2017 (or as soon as position is filled), and includes 1700 total hours of service. This service opportunity with Water Rocks! is part of the larger Iowa AmeriCorps 4-H Outreach program, in which full-time and part-time AmeriCorps members will serve in school-based and community-based host sites developing and strengthening youth development programs for Iowa youth. Through partnerships with a variety of community entities and volunteers, members’ service positions will be targeted toward ensuring that children and youth have in their lives high quality positive youth development opportunities. To learn more about the Iowa AmeriCorps 4-H Outreach program, visit http://www.extension.iastate.edu/4h/americorps.


Site Specific Duties/Responsibilities for STEM Music and Outreach Service Member:

School Visits
School visits are at the heart of Water Rocks! (WR!). Young people are engaged with STEM issues through hands-on games, lessons, and interactive activities, as well as through music. Water Rocks! offers two different school programs -- Water Rocks! Music Assemblies and classroom presentations.

Water Rocks! Assemblies use music, skits, plays and lots of audience participation to engage students with STEM– a great option to reach large numbers of students! WR! Assemblies target K-3rd and 4th-8th grades, allowing the team to reach multiple grade levels (hundreds of students) in each hour-long program! AmeriCorps service members will help lead all aspects of the Water Rocks! Assemblies, including singing, dancing, acting out skits/plays, mentoring youth leaders, and delivering STEM-based educational content.

Classroom presentations involve one class of students at a time (up to 30 students). AmeriCorps service members will present to each class, engaging K-8 students with a program that is high energy, hands-on, interactive, fun, and grounded in sound science! Each program is 30-50 minutes long, and members will work with one individual classroom at a time to maximize opportunities for hands-on interaction + dialogue. Members will present on a variety of topics including water quality, watersheds, wetlands, soil, biodiversity, pollinators, and more.

Community Outreach
AmeriCorps service members will participate in a variety of community outreach events (county fairs, farmers markets, town festivals, youth camps, visits to public libraries, etc.) across the state of Iowa with ISU’s Conservation Station trailers. The Conservation Station fleet is truly one-of-a-kind in terms of educating Iowans of all ages and backgrounds about water quality, soil health, and working together to protect our natural resources. AmeriCorps members will demonstrate the rainfall simulator, as well as delivering a variety of hands-on, interactive games + activities to engage visitors of all ages on conservation issues.

Water Quality + Soil Health Research
Water Rocks! + AmeriCorps members will contribute to water quality and soil health research projects in ISU’s Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. Members will gain on-the-ground technical skills related to agricultural and biosystems engineering, environmental science, soil health and water quality through field and lab research. Members will gain a deeper understanding of timely conservation-related issues in the state of Iowa, which will also better inform their ability to conduct STEM outreach to youth and the general public on these topics.

Additional Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Read and ask questions regarding the behavioral expectations and policies outlined in the AmeriCorps Member Contract and Policies document prior to signing the form.
  • Accurately complete and submit enrollment paperwork to the site supervisor.
  • Accurately complete and submit monthly time logs by the 5th of each month.
  • Provide transportation to and from service host site and programming activities.
  • Wear official identity items such as name tag, shirts, and lapel pins during AmeriCorps service.
  • Participate in six-month and end-of-term performance reviews with the site supervisor.
  • Notify the site supervisor when going to be absent from the service host site.
  • Keep a file of all verbal and written warnings and suspensions given by the site supervisor and/or Program Director for inappropriate behavior.
  • Obtain and organize all supplies prior to the beginning of programming activities.
  • Meet daily and/or weekly with site supervisor to discuss programming topics and issues.
  • Represent the AmeriCorps 4H Outreach Program, Iowa 4-H Youth Development Program, and host site in a professional manner.


Knowledge, Skills, Abilities for STEM Music and Outreach Service Member:

  • Experience working with youth and enjoyment of working with youth.
  • Demonstrated vocal music (singing) skills – You don’t have to be an opera singer, but we’re looking for service members who can sing with confidence, enthusiasm and lots of spirit!
  • Interest and/or background in one of the following: environmental science, natural resources, ecology, conservation, soils, water quality, agriculture, and/or education.
  • Ability to plan, organize, prioritize, and complete multiple tasks with minimal supervision.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Ability and willingness to work in a team setting and to promote collaboration.
  • Ability and willingness to develop innovative and creative approaches to assigned responsibilities.
  • Must be certified in CPR and First Aid, or be willing to become certified in CPR and First Aid.
  • Ability and willingness to work flexible hours, including occasional evenings and weekends.
  • Ability to use a computer for e-mail communication, online reporting (monthly time reports, quarterly impact data), and preparing monthly great stories or semi-annual reflections.
  • Enthusiastic and personable nature.
  • Adaptable, practical, energetic, and intrinsically motivated.
  • Professional, respectful, and positive attitude.


Qualification/Terms of Eligibility:

  • Must be U.S. citizen or U.S. national or a lawful permanent resident alien of the U.S.
  • Must be at least 17 years of age.
  • Must have a high school diploma or GED or agree to obtain one before using the education award.
  • Must possess a valid U.S. driver’s license for the duration of the service period.


Working Conditions:

Service programming takes place primarily in schools across the state, delivering music assemblies and classroom presentations to youth, during the academic year. During the summer months, service programming takes place primarily in public libraries, county/state parks, and fairgrounds across the state. Service members will also contribute to agricultural water quality and soil health research projects in the field. State level sponsored member training and conferences take place in central Iowa, primarily in the cities of Ames and Des Moines.

The position requires some long days of travel via truck or automobile, and conditions at events/in the field may be on some occasions hot, humid, cold, rainy, or otherwise inclement.


Physical, Emotional, and Intellectual Demands:

Service positions require members to frequently balance, bend, climb, grasp, kneel, reach, sit, squat, stand, stoop, twist, and walk on a daily basis. School assemblies also require moderate physical activity via singing and dancing in front of hundreds of youth. Members must be able to occasionally lift and carry light to medium loads of 10 – 50 pounds, and be able to occasionally pull and push loads of 10 – 50 pounds.

Given the expansive developmental age range of students in members’ care and under their supervision, members must be able to appropriately respond emotionally and intellectually to students’ occasional inappropriate verbal, written, and physical forms of expression.


Equipment Used:

Equipment use by members in this service position is primarily programming-specific equipment such as speakers, microphones, and hands-on games and activities. In the research field, equipment used by members may include soil probe, sledge hammer, suction lysimeter, vacuum pump, balance, and more. Specific field and lab safety training will be provided.


Performance Evaluation:

The site supervisor will conduct member performance evaluations of the above responsibilities and duties at the six-month point and at the end of members’ terms of service.


Benefits of AmeriCorps Membership:

  • Receive monthly living allowance.
  • Receive education award on successful completion of term of service.
  • Opportunity to receive forbearance on qualified student loans during term of service.
  • Health care coverage for full-time members.
  • Childcare benefits for full-time members who meet state income eligibility criteria.
  • Family Medical Leave.
  • Collaborate with a variety of community and state partners.
  • Post-service job referrals by networking with community and state partners.
  • Gain hands-on experience working with youth.
  • Gain hands-on experience developing and organizing after-school programming.
  • Gain hands-on experience recruiting and managing volunteers.
  • Gain hands-on experience organizing community service learning events.
  • Prestigious service opportunity – excellent experience for future employment!


Application Instructions:

Required application materials for this unique STEM Music and Outreach Service Opportunity include:

• Cover Letter
• Resume/CV
• Singing Sample (Please provide a link to a video or audio sample that demonstrates your singing ability)

This opportunity is open until filled -- apply immediately for priority consideration! Please submit the complete application package to Ann Staudt via email – astaudt@iastate.edu.