UNM students have the chance to play a pivotal role in the Albuquerque community through service to victims of crime.   

partnered with the National Organization for Victim Advocacy (NOVA) to launch a new Victim Advocacy Corps (VAC) in Spring 2023, and now that first-of-its-kind corps is recruiting. 

Applications for the VAC are open through UNM’s Women’s Resource Center (WRC), with plans to begin the nine-month opportunity in Summer 2024. 

“We're so excited and proud that UNM is helping to pilot this partnership with NOVA. So many students on our campus have already witnessed and survived so much violence in their lives: shootings, gender-based and sexual violence, racialized harm, just to name a few,” WRC Director Aine McCarthy said. 

The VAC Student Fellows will not only be placed within a local victim service agency, but will be paid for their time at a rate of $18 per hour. McCarthy says it’s quite similar to Americorps, only dedicated to supporting survivors.   

“The VAC will provide a really unique opportunity for students who want to explore the field of responding to different kinds of victimization through advocacy,” McCarthy said. “This opportunity will not only be paid but will provide students with a lot of excellent training and experience in an area that fits with their interest and intersectional identities.” 

This is thanks to a $750,000 grant from the Office for Victims of Crime. The goal of the VAC is to engage youth in victim services and amplify the voices of historically marginalized survivors of multiple forms of violence and crime.   

Beginning with an all-expenses paid trip to NOVA’s 50th Annual Training Event in Washington, D.C, selected fellows will receive victim advocacy training and connect with 15 other students from across the country. Each student fellow will become a Credentialed Advocate at the Provisional Level, as designated by the National Advocate Credentialing Program (NACP), and participate in virtual, monthly seminars and mentorship meetings with NOVA Staff and other experienced advocacy professionals.  

UNM alumnus and VAC Program Manager Abrianna Morales has been instrumental in pairing NOVA with UNM. She believes strongly in victim advocacy of all kinds, and understanding what it means to be an ally.  

Being a part of the Victim Advocacy Corps not only gives students the chance to strengthen their connection to the community, but also gives them valuable training, skills, and experience that they can take with them after graduation—whether they pursue graduate education, a career in victim services, or do something entirely different,” Morales said.   

The VAC at UNM will also be taking place at five other minority-serving campus pilot sites throughout the United States: Aaniiih Nakoda College, Coahoma Community College, Gallaudet University, Regis University, and the University of Texas at El Paso. Needless to say, it’s a very critical moment for UNM, the WRC and the Albuquerque community.  

“UNM’s participation in this visionary pilot program demonstrates its commitment to building community and career pathways for students,” Morales said. “UNM students will be among the first in the nation to be a part of the Victim Advocacy Corps and advocate for victims in Albuquerque and beyond. It’s a wonderful opportunity for Lobos to give back to their community.” 

For best consideration, apply online before 11:59 PM EST on January 22, 2024. If you have any questions about the program, you can visit the program website or reach out to Morales, directly.