Staff Q&A | Meet the people who read your applications

Laura Bumiller

Who she is: Senior Program Manager, Public Allies Maryland

Originally from: Columbia, Md. Attended Villanova University in Philadelphia, has lived in downtown Baltimore City for five years “and I love it.”

Before Public Allies: “I did AmeriCorps VISTA for two terms, with LIFT (called National Student Partnerships at the time) in D.C. and in Baltimore. After that experience, I went to the University of Maryland for my Master’s degree in Social Work. I was working in the school’s outreach department doing Organizational Capacity Building for nonprofits when we decided to launch Public Allies Maryland.”

What made you interested in becoming part of Public Allies? “During my AmeriCorps year, I never met another AmeriCorps member serving in Baltimore. Even though the job itself was incredibly rewarding and I’m so glad I did it, it was challenging to be so alone. I always felt like my friends and family didn’t really understand the work I was doing and I could have really benefitted from the community that Public Allies creates.

“Though each Ally is at a different organization with a unique job description, they benefit so much from sharing and growing together. So when I heard about the Public Allies program and was asked to help launch it in Baltimore, I knew right away that working as a Program Manager would be a perfect way to combine my own experience with AmeriCorps with my expertise as a Social Worker.”

What’s it like at your workplace right now? “It’s crazy! I feel like I’m working on a thousand things at once — we are running this program for the first time in Baltimore and recruitment/selection season has really amped up. My big goal for the month is to finish planning the remainder of the trainings for this program year AND to start interviewing candidates for next program year! Today, I’m working on how to lay out expectations for the Presentations of Learning that are coming up.”

What question are Allies asking you most frequently right now? “ ‘How do I explain Public Allies on my resume?’ Our Allies are definitely thinking about their next steps, and they want to make sure that they can capture the incredible work they’ve been doing this year at their placements, in training, and on team service projects. They’ve got the skills, now they just need to figure out how to explain them to someone else!”

Complete the following sentence: If you become an Ally, be ready to … “Impress me. I expect a lot from my Allies — they have to work really hard to keep up with us!”

On your desk: “I have an ‘exotic angel plant’ on my desk. I bought it because it says it only needs low light and I work in a cubicle far from any window. It’s not doing well — most likely because of the aforementioned sunlight situation. I’m holding onto the hope that one day it will be big and beautiful.

“I also have a card with this quote on it:

‘Let the beauty of what you love be what you do’- Rumi.

“It motivates me even when Social Work and Public Allies get to be challenging, because I really do love this job.”


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