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‘A pinnacle of professionalism and compassion’: Maddie Pooley of Omaha named 2019-2020 AmeriCorps Member of the Year

Maddie Pooley Photo

Elected and honored by her peers, College Coach Maddie Pooley is the 2019-2020 AmeriCorps Member of the Year. The annual end-of-year award goes to a coach recognized by his or her peers as someone who demonstrates outstanding service and leadership.

“Maddie is an exceptional leader and wonderful teammate. Whenever the College Coaches have a question, they ask her first. Maddie is always happy to jump in and help accomplish extra tasks, and I always know that I can rely on her when I need help with something. Maddie is a great coach to her students. She practices empathy, challenges cynicism, and energizes her students with her upbeat attitude and unique ability to help students from all backgrounds,” said one AmeriCorps Member in a nomination.

Maddie Pooley

Maddie graduated from Bennington High School in 2014 and went on to study English at Auburn University in Alabama. There, she received her bachelor’s degree in 2018. Throughout the past two years, she served hundreds of college students from Omaha as a two-term AmeriCorps Member.

“Maddie approached her service with humility, passion, and the ability to do what it takes to serve her students. She became an expert in FAFSA and financial aid because that’s what her students needed. She was also quick to share her expertise with her peers and supervisors,” said Program Director Katie Cunningham. “Everyone sees Maddie as a thought partner and subject matter expert. She formed genuine connections with the students she served, took the time to learn their goals and dreams, and how she could be a part of helping them reach those dreams.”

The three best things about her experience with College Possible were her relationships with fellow Corps, helping students and learning about college access, Maddie said.

“It was connecting with other Corps members and creating life-long friendships; learning more about higher education and the work being done to remove barriers for students and creating access to education; and lastly, getting to know the students and their college journeys!”

Maddie begun a new journey this month. She is an Admissions Representative at University of Nebraska Omaha and plans to get a master’s degree to continue her education.

A few testimonies from her 2019-20 peers:

  • On multiple occasions, Maddie has taken the lead of projects and brought her ideas and talent to the table. Maddie has urged autonomy within her students and created a close cohort at Nebraska Wesleyan University among students.
  • Maddie has been a great role model for corps members, new and old, across all functional groups. She keeps her eyes on the prize by thinking of all the students in our program not just the ones she serves or only the college students but our students as a whole.
  • Even when things can seem frustrating, Maddie is always the first person to tackle situations with a positive attitude. She goes above and beyond in supporting her peers, including those who aren’t in her functional group. She is a great listener and does an amazing job of supporting her students.
  • What a pinnacle of professionalism and compassion. Not only is Maddie a wonderful mentor and advocate for her students, but she is also a great coworker and friend. She is a leader among her fellow college coaches and a role model to both new and returning Corps. Her persistent engagement with her students is truly special.

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