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Alumni Spotlight: Monica Glicken
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Monica Glicken '01, '02 • Attorney, Robert D. Ahlgren and Associates

"Through City Year, I am able to meet challenges

with confidence and determination."

Why did you decide to join City Year?

When I first signed up for City Year, I had graduated from college and had just come back to the U.S. after living abroad for a year. I wanted to spend time close to my family and I wanted to gain some real-world experience before diving back into the classroom. I looked for volunteer opportunities on the AmeriCorps website and came across the City Year program. I was very impressed by the mission of City Year so I visited the City Year Greater Philadelphia office and was impressed by the energy and motivation of the people I met there. I was all in from that moment on.




What do you value most about your City Year experience?

The most important lesson from City Year that I bring to my work as an attorney today is that achieving success does not come from waiting for someone else to hand you solutions ready-made and in a neat little box. Instead you have to take initiative, be resourceful, and be persistent. I learned to think creatively about where to look for help and not to give up until we got the resources we needed. Today as a lawyer, I draw upon the skills that I learned, and am always doing my best to be proactive, resourceful and persistent in finding solutions to my client's problems.



How has City Year played a role in your career progression?

City Year played a key role in my career progression. First of all, after doing two City Years (2000-01 and 2001-02), law school just did not seem that hard. The workload at school, heavy though it was, did not compare to all the blood, sweat and tears I poured into my projects at City Year. I give a lot of credit to City Year for toughening me up for the challenges of law school. Secondly, my work at City Year cemented my focus. Because of City Year, I came into law school 100% sure that I needed to do work that made a positive difference in the world and that was challenging and fulfilling. Today, I have a wonderful, fulfilling career as an immigration attorney, helping individuals and families apply for legal immigration status in the United States. I thank City Year for stoking my passion to help others and firming up my determination to do meaningful work in the world.



How did City Year prepare you for your career?

In City Year, we had to come up with big ideas, plan them, and then make them a reality. Although I had worked before City Year, this was the first job where I was ever given so much creative responsibility. Instead of following directions, I was part of a team that had to direct itself. It was a great preparation for the real working world, where the people who succeed are the type of people who step forward and figure out how to make things better.



Do you stay involved in community service today?

I do stay involved in community work today. I am a volunteer with the Chicago Lights Tutoring Program. I meet once a week with a high school student to tutor and mentor her. I also volunteer whenever I can with my church's food pantry activities.



What would you say to a young person considering serving with City Year?

To a young person considering City Year, I would say that if you love working with youth and you are looking for a challenging, rewarding, exhausting, and at times exhilarating work and volunteer experience, City Year may be right for you.



What would you say to a current corps member?

To a current corp member, I would say, don't give into "battle fatigue". I know how hard it is to be "on" for a whole school year and to give your all to City Year every single day. However, it is really true that you get from City Year whatever you put into it. Put your heart into it and you'll receive great rewards down the road as well.



To access resources on the Alumni Website around applying to Law School, click here.

To view more Alumni Pathways, click here.