Guide Profile: Stacey Williams
University: Westmont College (undergrad) / University of San Diego (grad school)
Major: B.A in Social Science and a M.A in Higher Education Leadership
Service Type: AmeriCorps VISTA and VISTA Leader
Service Dates: July 2009 – July 2011
Service Location: Pensacola, FL
Native to San Diego, Stacey jumped into a year of service directly after college because she felt like her degree was a glorified piece of paper (what is Social Science anyway?) and she wanted to gain some practical experience in domestic nonprofits. Stacey was brought on to serve as a project coordinator with United Way’s clearinghouse and 24/7 call service, 2-1-1, and the EscaRosa Coalition on the Homeless. A few months into Stacey’s second year, the BP/Horizon Oil Spill happened and she stepped into the role of VISTA Leader to coordinate a new team of volunteers coming to support the economic recovery efforts following the spill. At the end of all of this, Stacey had a much clearer understanding of the health and human service sector… and she was pretty disillusioned with a lot of what she’d seen. Burnt out and concerned about how much of her work felt like addressing symptoms, she recognized that her favorite parts of her service-years were in facilitating service and development opportunities for others. With that, she returned to school to obtain a graduate degree in Higher Education Leadership. While studying, she worked at the University of San Diego’s Women’s Center focused on social justice education and leadership development. During this time, she began to cultivate her vision of social change as an internal process. In 2013, Stacey embarked on an adventure in international education. Since then, she has taught programs with three different organizations in eight countries. From facilitating human-centered design to asking big questions like Who Am I? and What is Development? to honoring the village-as-teacher, Stacey accompanies students on journeys around the world and within themselves. Sometimes, she also writes about these experiences at www.staceystravels.com.