March 15, 2013
Anjali Pattanayak, right, of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission talks to a Knox student about working for ISACorps.
Senior year at Knox College and Anjali Pattanayak was job-hunting. "I was applying for a lot of positions that involved community service," says Anjali Pattanayak, a 2009 Knox graduate and a regional coordinator for ISACorps, a federally-funded initiative of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.
Four years later, she's aiming to recruit other Knox students to join the state agency where she works, promoting college to high school students throughout Illinois. The agency helps high school students with career exploration and preparation for college, including college selection, application and financial aid.
"There were e-mails from Terri Saline in the career center informing students of the opportunity to work for ISAC," said Pattanayak, who graduated from Knox cum laude with majors in political science and English literature. "One of my professors, Duane Oldfield, sent an e-mail to his students that said 'if you're interested in social justice, here's a job opportunity.'"
"ISACorps looks for recent college graduates who can relate to high school students, who are interested in mentoring students, working with high school students, helping students see college as an opportunity," said Rosie Worthen, a 2012 Knox graduate also working with ISACorps.
Worthen and Pattanayak, along with ISACorps recruitment coordinator Enrique Castillo distributed material in Knox's Seymour Union, to help inform Knox students about positions within the ISACorps program. Information about joining ISACorps is available at http://www.isac.org/about-isac/employment/current-openings/isacorps.html.
"We help students with the college application process, financial aid process," Worthen said. College financial aid forms "can be intimidating [for students who aren't already familiar with financial aid]."
"We love to send recent graduates back to recruit at the colleges where they graduated," Castillo said.
At Knox, Pattanayak was active in several community service organizations, including the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, and the Reading Buddies program. She also studied in London, served in Student Senate, and was inducted into Mortar Board and the political science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha.
"Knox made me believe in the power of a good education, so this is a match made in heaven," Pattanayak, a graduate of North High School in Downers Grove, Illinois. In addition to Pattanayak and Worthen, five other Knox graduates are currently working for ISAC.
"It's a phenomenal opportunity for recent college graduates," Pattanayak said.