Stories of Service


By: Katie Boehm


Local DEI Leader Dr. Sandra Pulles of ServeMinnesota Receives National Service Award

Congratulations Dr. Pulles in white on a yellow banner

America’s Service Commissions recognizes Dr. Pulles for creating a more inclusive and culturally-responsive experience for AmeriCorps members and communities.

MINNEAPOLIS – October 5, 2021 – Local diversity, equity and inclusion leader Sandra Pulles, PhD, was recognized with the Outstanding Commission Staff Award by America’s Service Commissions, the professional organization of all 52 state service commissions. Pulles, who is vice president of equity and inclusion at ServeMinnesota, the hub for AmeriCorps programs in Minnesota, was presented this national innovation and leadership award on September 14.

According to the America’s Service Commissions, the award is reserved for an individual who demonstrates leadership and implements innovative strategies to get things done. Dr. Pulles was nominated by her colleagues for her work centering equity and inclusion in programming, stronger partnerships with families and stakeholders, a more diverse corps, and ultimately, better outcomes for the communities AmeriCorps serves.    

Drawing on her training as a school psychologist and deep passion for equity, Dr. Pulles builds strong relationships and urges the organization to better adapt to the needs of the community. She was instrumental in forming an advisory panel of community leaders to help ServeMinnesota and programs build recruitment and retention practices and support members of color during their service. Pulles is managing new initiatives to support Black, Indigenous, and people of color through service to a meaningful career with a living wage. Combining service and education, AmeriCorps now offers clear career pathways in education and substance use recovery; an environmental track is also in progress. Looking ahead, Sandy has plans to launch of affinity groups and mentorship opportunities for members. 

ServeMinnesota CEO Audrey Suker said, “Sandy has made invaluable contributions to ServeMinnesota. Her high-impact leadership, paired with a day-to-day diligence and commitment, is evident in better and more equitable AmeriCorps programming.”

Dr. Pulles, who earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Saint Thomas as a McNair Scholar and a masters and Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota, is a member of America’s Service Commission’s Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion work group; a Board Member for the Minnesota Equity Education Partnership (MnEEP) and co-chair of the MnEEP College Race Equity Advocacy Advisory Council. She previously served as ServeMinnesota’s Assistant Director of Equity, Inclusion, & Innovation, and before that as a coaching specialist, trainer, and researcher for the Reading Corps and Math Corps programs.

About ServeMinnesota

ServeMinnesota creates positive social change by deploying the people power of AmeriCorps to translate research into on-the-ground implementation. Each year, thousands of individuals commit to transformative service opportunities focused on improving the lives of Minnesotans through education, affordable housing, employment, the environment, addiction recovery and response to the COVID-19 crisis. Two of its innovative strategic initiatives, Minnesota Reading Corps and Minnesota Math Corps, demonstrate speed to implementation in their work to close the achievement gap and help struggling students become successful learners. By leveraging federal dollars, building strong community partnerships, and continually improving programs, ServeMinnesota ensures national service is positioned to make meaningful contributions to our state. For more information, visit

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