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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

America Salgado Hernandez '18

Chicago, Illinois

Major in Anthropology and Sociology, Minors in Gender and Women’s Studies & Social Service

America’s mentors at Knox taught her the importance of civic engagement and prepared her for a career in social service.

America Salago Hernandez '18 works as a school-age specialist for families in childcare and school-age programs.

What have you been up to since Knox?

I first worked in the nonprofit field as a youth worker for Gads Hill Center in Chicago. Seeing the impact that youth programs have on families and children really inspired and encouraged me to continue working in the field. Currently, I am working at Erie Neighborhood House as a school-age intake specialist who recruits, enrolls, and processes cases for families in the childcare and school-age programs. It makes me really happy to serve the families in our community.

How has your Knox experience made an impact on your career or life?

With support from Laura Bush and Tianna Cervantez, I was able to have two internships while at Knox. I was very fortunate to have received the Knox Mellon Fellowship to pursue an internship at Heartland Alliance to work with refugee children. In the Social Service Internship course taught by Tianna, I was able to have an internship at the Galesburg School District working alongside a school social worker. These two experiences allowed me to go straight into something I loved right out of college and allowed me to grow professionally before entering the field. 

What’s the most important thing you learned at Knox outside the classroom?

The most important thing I learned at Knox outside of the classroom was the importance of civic involvement. During my time at Knox, I was a member of the co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, where service fosters a sense of community. When I think of Knox, I think of my APO brothers and the positive impact we made in the Galesburg community. The organization also helped me become a leader as I served as the alumni relations chair and blood drive chair for the fraternity. Those roles really helped me understand what it meant to be a leader and how I could take that into the professional world.

Describe something from Knox that you will always cherish.

I’ll always cherish the people I was able to meet because of Knox, including people in the Galesburg community and staff at Knox. Neil Unger, who is the APO advisor, always went above and beyond for APO. Because of professors Nancy Eberhardt, Gabe Raley, and William Hope in the ANSO department, I made sure that every term I was taking one of their classes because I knew it would be engaging, rigorous, and fun. I had so many people on my side cheering me on all four years. It was hard not to feel right at home. 

At Knox, America was involved with M.E.Ch.A., the Success Program, and Blessings in a Backpack

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Printed on Sunday, June 23, 2024