VAN member Tony Camacho (VU ‘07) can trace almost every accomplishment of his post-graduate life back to VU’s influence.
Today Tony is the communications specialist for the Oregon State Service Corps (OSSC), an AmeriCorps program, and is applying to a graduate program in communication with a concentration in non-profit marketing and public relations. In his professional role, Tony essentially serves as the public relations representative for the 53 AmeriCorps members volunteering at various non-profit organizations, schools, and government offices throughout the state of Oregon.
After graduating with a major in public relations and a minor in photography, Tony himself served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in Portland, Oregon.
“Why Portland?” says the Fort Wayne, IN native. “Because at Valpo I learned to take chances and not be scared of change.”
Tony’s AmeriCorps experience involved serving as development coordinator for a mentoring program within a non-profit organization located in southeast Portland. Because he wanted to accurately present the program, he felt the need to fully understand the impact the program had on the mentors and mentees.
“By the end of my year of service,” Tony reflects. “I was working alongside the organization’s development director and head volunteer coordinator/events coordinator in publicizing the work of the entire organization to the general public. They, as well as my AmeriCorps team supervisor encouraged me to apply for my present position. In thinking that over, I realized that a lot of the work involved exactly what I did for VU’s Office of Admission as an ambassador in admission, night supervisor, and tour guide manager, only for a national movement with more individuals.”
In addition to his Office of Admission experience, Tony credits his participation in Valpo’s chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) for enriching his career preparation.
“We had many opportunities to take professional trips to Chicago and meet with representatives from all sorts of communication areas,” explains Tony.
“On my very first trip, an overnight visit to Hostelling International-Chicago,” he recalls, “we met with the executive director, the sales and marketing director, and their fall intern. I asked many questions regarding their work and the non-profit world. Little did I know at that time that I would become the company’s next fall intern, thanks to connecting with Amanda Booth, the sales and marketing director, who had already supervised five VU interns. That internship shaped my life tremendously. I would not be where I am today without it.”