“My name is Preeti. I worked as a dental practitioner in India for five years. I believed in service. It’s everyone’s right to access care. At times, people are in situations where they are unable to access services because of circumstances that they are in. These could be because of a lack of transportation, work schedules, or maybe not being adequately aware of their existent oral health and health in general, or affordability in seeking dental care. Understanding the social determinants of health that surrounds individuals made me come up with strategies. I approached schools, talked with administrators, educated children on how oral health is linked to overall health, took small steps such as conducting outreach programs for the community that I lived in, taught my patients on the importance of good oral health at chairside. I realized how my world expanded from a dental office to a community service.

After coming to the U.S. in the year of 2007, I graduated with a Master of Public Health degree in the year of 2015 from A. T. Still University (ATSU), located in Mesa. Furthermore, I got an opportunity to teach graduate level public health courses at ATSU. I realized my responsibility has gotten even bigger than I thought. I was not just in a teaching profession. I was creating learners with a vision to be the future public health leaders and serve the community. I think a good educator should be a life-long learner. In order to achieve this, I participated in ATSU’s teaching and learning courses, learned how to do educational research, and how a curriculum is developed to meet the student’s learning needs. However, I felt as if the last piece of the puzzle was missing. So I decided to walk a few steps more and continue my passion for education where – currently along with teaching at ATSU – I am pursuing my Doctor of Education in Health Professions (EdD). 

While I was searching for some material for my EdD, I learned about AmeriCorps. I decided to apply for state member positions. I am glad I did because it brought me back in the circle of serving populations-which I loved the most!!!

As an AmeriCorps state member, I serve for Magee Middle School where my duties are connecting children with tutors of the Seeds Community Center (SCC). COVID has affected everyone. SCC helps children to recover the learning loss that has occurred because of COVID-19. My service requires coordinating with teachers, parents, academic administrators, and data to assess the progress of students and programs. I learned a lot in this period on how best practices are involved in making programs work. I am fortunate to see this program expand where together with Magee Middle school we will be serving for Leman academy of Tucson beginning this February.

I love every minute of my service. I have learned to hear more, I am here to serve, and nothing makes me happier when solutions are found by working together as one, valuing each other’s perspectives, and more importantly showing up when there is a need. I will be continuing to serve even after my EdD and this is my dream to work in health and education throughout my life and career.” 

What About You?

Wondering what to do after high school or college? For a gap year? Are you in college, like Preeti? Or are you still figuring out what to do after retirement? Serving as an AmeriCorps member through Arizona Serve like Preeti may be the right thing for you! 

Or do you want to grow your non-profit? Do you need help with accessing or developing non-profit resources? Hosting an Arizona Serve member like Seeds may be the right start for you!