Niko Valaris, Applied Community & Economic Development Fellow, Applied Economics
Niko Valaris is completing his professional practice as an Economic Development Specialist for the City of LaSalle, Illinois. He has been instrumental in securing and implementing a number of grants for the City. The Open Space Land Acquisition Development grant made the new recreational Rotary Park a reality. The Lighting and Gas Incentive grant funded the installation of energy efficient lighting and heat in City of LaSalle facilities.
He has provided critical data analysis for the City Council and staff, along with marketing support. Niko represents the City of LaSalle on multiple volunteer committees, such as the LaSalle Promotional Advisory Council, the LaSalle Business Association, and the MAPPING groups responsible for large business recruitment and beautification of the Downtown.
Niko came to the Stevenson Center after serving as a Team Leader and Member with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). During his NCCC service, Niko worked with a wide variety of organizations from the YMCA to Habitat for Humanity. He served as a leader for his service-minded peers and saw the Stevenson Center as an opportunity to add formal training in community and economic development to his field experience. The internship in the second year appealed to Niko: "I wanted to put everything I learned into practice and gain more real world experience. The idea of being able to take action so quickly and being around other service-minded people really drew me to the Stevenson Center."
Niko earned his BA from Fairfield University. He will complete his MA in August 2012 and continue working in local economic development. Niko also serves on the NCCC Alumni Leadership Council.
Applied Community and Economic Development (ACED) Fellows Program at Illinois State University
For those with development experience (including alumni of partner organizations like City Year)
AMERICORPS ALUMNI, want more information?
ACED Fellows Program Information
Seeking a graduate program that will equip you with the skills and tools of development professionals, one that will allow you to meaningfully apply what you learn in the classroom? Look no further.
The ACED Fellows Program at Illinois State University enhances the skills of students who want to become the new generation of development specialists. Alumni of the ACED Fellows Program hold various positions in their chosen fields.
ACED Fellows must have at least one year of full-time experience in community development or social services or the equivalent (1,700 hours)—as either a paid professional or a volunteer—prior to starting classes. Service with AmeriCorps counts towards the requirement. ACED Fellows may pursue master’s degrees with the following plans of study:
Fellows complete one calendar year of full-time coursework and 11 months of full-time, hands-on professional practice with communities or organizations needing their skills.