AlumniCorps Welcomes Five New Board Members in 2018

Princeton AlumniCorps’ Board of Directors recently elected five new members to the Board: Karen S. Ali, Esq., Princeton class of 1978, of Princeton Junction, NJ; Timothy (Tim) Harr, Princeton class of 1972 of Washington, D.C.; Rishi Jaitly, Princeton class of 2004, of Chicago, IL; Brian Leung, Princeton class of 2012, of New York, NY; and Kristen Smith, Princeton class of 2003, of Chicago, IL. New members attended their first Board meeting in Princeton on September 15, 2018.

Additionally, current Board members re-elected for three-year terms include Liz Duffy, Princeton class of 1988 of Lawrenceville, NJ; David Huebner, Princeton class of 1982 of Los Angeles, CA; and Andrew Protain, Princeton class of 2008 of New York City, NY.

AlumniCorps Board members meet quarterly, and play a vital role in developing policies, procedures and regulations, monitoring financial performance and AlumniCorps’ programs. They also participate actively in at least one program committee and one fundraising committee, attend scheduled board retreats, planning meetings, workshops or other board development activities, and attend, support, and participate in special events. Directors serve for a three-year term that is renewable for one cycle and bring personal/professional expertise to support the mission of AlumniCorps.

Karen Ali is an active Tiger involved in several University and alumni activities. She received the Alumni Service Award from the Association of Black Princeton Alumni on June 2, 2018. For more than 20 years, she has served as an administrator for the Fred Fox Class of 1939 Fund, a program that provides grants to students for academic-related projects. She is also an alumni interviewer for the Alumni Schools Committee.
In 2013 she volunteered through Princeton AlumniCorps ARC Innovators program for Good Grief, Inc. and edited an anthology of children’s essays about their grief journey, The Invisible Tattoo: True Stories about Children Grieving, Living, and Loving After Loss (2014).
Formerly, Karen served as a member of the Sociology Departments Advisory Committee from 2012-2018; vice president of the Class of 1978 and president of the Class of 1978 Foundation from 1998-2003; and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Class of 1978 Foundation for more than 20 years.

Karen is also active in the community, serving as the current president of the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey State Museum Foundation. She is General Counsel for the New Jersey Hospital Association, a healthcare trade association in Princeton.

Karen graduated from Princeton in 1978 with a degree in Sociology, magna cum laude and a Certificate of Proficiency in Afro-American Studies. She is a 1981 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and a member of the New York and Virginia bars.

Karen lives in Princeton Junction with her spouse, Deighton Weekes, and their son, Justin, Adelphi University 19.


Timothy ‘Tim’ Harr is familiar with AlumniCorps through doing a couple of ARC Innovator projects. He teaches international negotiation at Georgetown Law and works as an attorney/consultant, after a career in private practice and working at Motorola on a range of antitrust/regulatory/government compliance/international business matters. He has had substantial Board experience in multiple roles, having served on the Board of Green Door Behavioral Health since 2005.

Tim holds a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School and a JD (Order of the Coif recipient) from University of Virginia Law School. A resident of Washington, D.C., Tim has a pet chicken named Ivanka Trump. He also volunteered through AlumniCorps ARC Innovators program in 2015-16 with Sourlands Conservancy in New Jersey. Tims six-month-old granddaughter in Philadelphia will probably be the recipient of visits on weekends when there are Board meetings.


Rishi Jaitly is CEO of Times Bridge, the U.S.s largest venture capital firm bringing the worlds best ideas to India and Asia. The firm’s investment portfolio includes Airbnb, Coursera, Houzz, Mubi, Thrive, Uber and Vice. Jaitly is the former Vice President, Asia Pacific, Middle East & North Africa for Twitter.

Earlier, Jaitly was the Managing Director of Twitter India, the Head of Public/Private Partnerships for Google/YouTube India, a speechwriter for Google CEO Eric Schmidt and a Director of the Knight Foundation in Detroit and College Summit in Washington, D.C.

He’s the co-founder of Michigan Corps (an online service platform for Michiganders everywhere), Kiva Detroit (Americas first peer-to-peer microlending initiative), and the BMe Community (now Americas largest digital storytelling/leadership network by/for black males who lead in their hometowns).

He is a former Trustee of Princeton University, a former Commissioner of Higher Education in New Jersey, a member of the Princeton Technology Advisory Council, and a Board Member of the Princeton Club of Chicago & the Chicago Humanities Festival. Rishi was a Project 55 Fellow at College Summit from 2004 to 2005.


Brian Leung came to AlumniCorps in 2016-17 as an ARC Innovator with Harlem RBI in New York City (now DREAM Charter School) to continue his commitment to civic engagement after moving to private sector employment, working first for Fresh Direct and now as Special Operations Manager for Hellofresh USA. Since leaving Princeton in 2012, Brian has worked for the CIA as a Graduate Researcher while getting his Master of Public Affairs at University of Wisconsin Madison. He worked at the New York City Office of the Mayor, where he served as the Mayor’s juvenile justice subject matter expert and oversaw the Mayors Leadership Team on School Safety. In both of those roles, Brians work showed tangible results.

At Princeton, Brian majored in Politics and received a Certificate in Economics. He was captain of the Mens Varsity Cross Country and Track Teams, where his talent was awarded with being a two time All American and a three-time winner of the Rosengarten Award for Most Valuable Student.


Kristen N. Smith is an attorney in Holland & Knights Chicago office and focuses her practice on multifamily affordable housing finance matters. She represents institutional lenders providing debt financing and investors providing equity financing in the construction and preservation of affordable housing developments eligible for the low-income housing tax credits. Kristen also represents lenders in transactions utilizing the credit enhancement programs of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

As a former Affordable Housing Fellow at New York Citys Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and a former Assistant General Counsel at the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), Kristen has a wealth of experience working with city, state and federal agencies on affordable housing transactions involving tax credits, tax-exempt bonds and multiples sources of subsidy funds in New York City and throughout the United States.

Kristen also works with HPD to coordinate its Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (MWBEs) Building Opportunities Workshops. Kristen graduated from Princeton in 2003 with a BA in Anthropology with Certificates in Latin American Studies and Spanish Language and Culture. She followed that by receiving a JD from Boston University School of Law in 2007 and was President of the Black Law Students Association in 2006. Kristen is also a former Project 55 Fellow and has been an active member of the AlumniCorps community in each city she has lived in – Boston, New York, and Chicago – serving on Area Committees, supporting the Fellowship Programs and acting as a mentor.

Staff Update at 12 Stockton

Kimme Carlos & Brielle Blackshear
Kimme Carlos, newly promoted Operations Manager, and Brielle Blackshear, newly promoted Project Assistant

We’re pleased to announce that Kimme Carlos has been promoted to Operations Manager as of July 1, 2018, formally recognizing the excellent contribution she has made since she joined our staff in August 2016 as Office Administrator. Prior to joining Princeton AlumniCorps, Kimme founded the New Jersey nonprofit Urban Mental Health Alliance, where she continues to contribute her time as the volunteer Executive Director. Since joining our team, Kimme has gone above and beyond to professionalize our operations. In addition to managing our human resources and facilities, she developed systems and procedures to streamline administration across the staff team.

In particular, Kimme leveraged her experience as an event coordinator to handle logistics for a myriad of AlumniCorps events, including our Board meetings, staff retreats, Emerging Leaders sessions, Project 55 Fellowship interviews, and annual Project 55 Fellowship Orientation. Kimme is responsible for overseeing maintenance and renovation work on 12 Stockton, which is one of the priorities outlined in our current strategic plan. She also manages an administrative team and coordinates their support of the AlumniCorps staff. As AlumniCorps expands our programs and impact, we will rely on Kimme to manage our operations at headquarters and support the events we host across the country.

Brielle Blackshear joined AlumniCorps as our Administrative Intern in 2017. Her work ethic and team spirit made her the perfect candidate for a long-term role at 12 Stockton; we are pleased to announce that as of June 1, 2018 Brielle was promoted to the role of full-time Project Assistant, supporting all of our strategic initiatives. Brielle is a recent graduate of Rutgers University with a BA in Labor Studies and Employment Relations and a minor in Public Health. She brings a passion for nonprofit work and advocacy to Princeton AlumniCorps and hope to one day start a nonprofit of her own.

Learn more about Kimme and Brielle on our staff team page.

New Staff at 12 Stockton! Spring 2018

Soraia Francisco, Program Associate at 12 Stockton.

Princeton AlumniCorps welcomes Soraia Francisco, our new Program Associate, to the team at 12 Stockton. A native of Portugal, Soraia graduated from Rutgers University and served in multiple U.S. cities as a two-term AmeriCorps member. In her first term of service, she provided disaster relief and long-term recovery for communities impacted by Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Sandy. She then moved to the West Coast to serve as an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) tutor in Federal Way, Washington, where she served both elementary, middle and high school students. For the next three years, she continued to build relationships with and serve at-risk youth as a School Outreach Coordinator for Communities In Schools.

She is a current M.Ed. student at Widener University’s Center for Human Sexuality Studies on the Sexuality Education track. In her free time, she loves to hike with her dog, craft snail mail, and unpack social constructs with friends over a meal.

In Memoriam: Dr. Robert (Bob) Myrl Amick ’55

Dear AlumniCorps Community,

We were deeply saddened to learn last week of the death of Dr. Robert (Bob) Myrl Amick ’55 on Saturday, January 13, 2018, in Brookline, Massachusetts. Bob died peacefully in his sleep after persevering through myriad health issues over the years. Bob and his wife Carol Ruth Jockers Amick were true friends of AlumniCorps; Bob served on the Princeton Project 55 Board from 1999 to 2005 and, as late as 2014, generously donated his time to mentor Fellows in the Boston area. AlumniCorps is truly grateful for his years of service and very generous support of Princeton AlumniCorps.

Bob had an accomplished career in medicine and medical administration. He received his MD from Yale Medical School in 1959, which is also where he met Carol. He interned at Cincinnati General Hospital and after a residency served in the Army at the Fort Chaffee, Arkansas station hospital. He completed his military service in June 1965 and moved with his family to Boston, where he worked in cancer chemotherapy at the adult clinic of the Children’s Cancer Research Foundation, a division of Boston Children’s Hospital. Bob moved to Veteran’s Hospital in Jamaica Plain, MA in 1967, where he was promoted to staff physician and then appointed Chief of Staff in 1974. He received a Master’s Degree in Management Science from MIT’s Sloan School of Management as a Sloan Fellow in 1979. He returned to Veteran’s Hospital as the Associate Chief of Staff for Education, which he held until his retirement in 1998. He also held an academic post at Boston University School of Medicine as well as membership in various regional and national VA advisory groups. Bob exemplifies the contributions the members of the Class of ’55 have made to society themselves and, through Project 55, now AlumniCorps, through succeeding generations of Princetonians.

Bob’s classmates and colleagues described him as generous, quiet, and solid. Mike Lee ’55 had the privilege of attending Yale Medical School with Bob – Mike fondly remembers their experiences as lab partners. George Hackl ’55 said, “Bob was admired by his classmates for his integrity, his intelligence, his wit, and the fundamental goodness of his heart.” Kenly Webster ’55 noted he has “never known a more genuine person, dedicated to fairness and the highest ethical principles.” Steve Boyd ’55 remembered that while Bob did not attend the founding meeting of Princeton Project 55, Steve traveled soon thereafter to Boston and successfully recruited Bob to sign on to the nascent organization’s cause. Pete Milano ’55 remarked, “Bob was a person of the highest ethical and moral standards imaginable, always with a caring and insightful demeanor in his approach to people and in addressing issues of consequence. We will sorely miss him.” Anne-Marie Maman ’84 credits Bob for making her feel welcome when she was first introduced to AlumniCorps through the Boston Area Committee.

Bob is survived by his wife, Carol, of Brookline, MA; son Robert (Charlie) Amick and his wife, Tamra, of Sunnyvale, CA; daughter Helen Amick of Sunnyvale, CA; daughter Joan Kelly and her husband, Steve, of Newton, MA; daughter Lisa DiAdamo and her husband, Rob, of Brookline, MA; brother James Amick of Princeton, NJ; eleven grandchildren; and two nieces and two nephews. He was predeceased by his brother Donald Amick of Warren, NJ; his sister-in-law Helen Bradley of Center Tuftonboro, NH, and a niece.

A memorial service in celebration of Bob’s life will be held on Saturday, February 3rd at 10:30 am at the Union Church in Waban – 14 Collins Road, Waban, MA 02468. There will be a luncheon to follow at The Country Club – 191 Clyde Street, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467.

Bob’s quiet leadership and dedication are a model for us all.

In Community,

Liz Duffy ’88, Board Chair
Debra Kushma ’80, Vice President
Kef Kasdin ’85, President & Executive Director

A Note from the President & Executive Director – Winter 2018

Princeton University in the winter

As a board member and volunteer in the Princeton area for the past several years, I had always looked forward to January and the opportunity to interview applicants for the Project 55 Fellowship. This year, I had the privilege of conducting the interviews as a staff member and it gave me a deeper appreciation not only for the countless hours the staff and our volunteer alumni interviewers spend reviewing applications materials and asking thought-provoking questions, but also for the potential impact of this, our flagship program, to transform the applicants and our partner organizations. As I marked the nine-month anniversary of assuming the Executive Director role, I told every applicant I interviewed that it is (still) one of my favorite parts of the job. This year we invited about 120 Princeton University seniors to interview for over 70 placements with many longstanding partner organizations as well as several new exciting opportunities. Students took time from their busy Reading Period and exam schedules to trek in the cold and snow to our office at 12 Stockton Street. Our staff is joined by AlumniCorps volunteers as we assess which placement might best fit each candidate’s skills, passions, career goals, and specific interests. The energy of these young people is palpable and contagious, not only in our interview rooms but throughout the office. In the midst of tumultuous domestic and international news, the earnest determination of these students gives us a sense of hope for the future.

One applicant I met with is a Dreamer who has already had a profound impact on her communities. Incredibly smart, caring, and capable, she is passionate about college access and is already an accomplished poet and artist. Another demonstrated great empathy and sensitivity while reflecting on the impacts of the Swim Team scandal last year and lit up when describing his thesis research. He met with successful asylum seekers to the US who are here because of persecutions for gender identity. We met a young woman determined to be a pediatrician who remained resilient and positive despite losing her mother to breast cancer while our applicant was a Princeton undergraduate. I spoke at length with another applicant about arts as cultural narrative, storytelling, and personal expression.  This brilliant senior from a family of educators believes strongly in the ability of theater to develop empathy. As I listened to the students share their passions and future plans, I was reminded of why we do what we do and why we seek to mobilize these soon-to-be-Princeton graduates for the public good.

AumniCorps ED Kef Kasdin ’85 (center, in blue with sunglasses) and other members of Rachel’s Network near the current Mexico-US border wall, November 2017.

I thrive on the personal interactions with our community and January was just the icing on the cake of a busy fall making connections in our network. In keeping with our Bold Idea Initiative’s focus on immigration issues, in November I traveled to the Mexico-US border with Rachel’s Network. As the Board Chair of Rachel’s Network, I liaised with grassroots leaders working for fairer outcomes for immigrant populations and safer, healthier environments for border communities. You can learn more about the trip on Rachel’s Network blog, here: https://rachelsnetwork.org/borderlandstrip.

In October I traveled to the Bay Area with our Director of Programs and Strategy, Caryn Tomljanovich. We met with current and prospective partner organizations, and the Area Committee hosted a get together with volunteers and Fellows in Oakland, CA at NewSchools Venture Fund.

As February approaches and our Fellowship candidates interview with the partner organizations to which we will have referred them, we switch focus to our Emerging Leaders program, which concludes with Closing Celebrations in New York City (February 13) and Washington, DC (February 15).  It’s amazing how time has flown since we selected these 32 high potential young managers last spring and kicked off the program in June.  The Closing Day and Celebration allows for reflection on and sharing of their experiences with each other, supervisors, family, and the broader AlumniCorps community, which welcomes them to continued learning, impact, and transformation. The Program builds capacity for these dedicated and self-aware leaders, both in themselves and for the nonprofits they are preparing to run.

Each opportunity to engage with our program participants and committed volunteers brings a renewed sense of purpose and energy to the work that we do at 12 Stockton. If you are reading this Shared Effort newsletter/ blog, then you are considered a part of the great ‘fishnet’ that is the AlumniCorps family. Here’s to another year of mobilizing people, organizations, and networks for the public good.

Profile from our Network: Jim Gregoire ’69

Jane & Jim Gregoire at Princeton Reunions

Jim Gregoire ’69 has been an avid, long-time supporter of Princeton AlumniCorps, sitting on our board from 1996 to 2008. In 2006 he attained the distinction of being the first non-’55er AlumniCorps Board President. During his tenure on the board the finance committee managed AlumniCorps’ endowment, helping to ensure the stability and long-term health of the organization. Jim is also committed to Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS), where he’s a current board member and past board chair. However, in addition to mobilizing Princetonians for the public good, Jim has another passion: hiking. He walked the 2,175 mile Appalachian Trail over the course of 11 years. “When my wife Jane and I got together, I was finishing the Trail, but I told her I wanted to do something bigger and more grand. I said, ‘I think I want to walk across the country!’ ” Fortunately for Jim, Jane said yes both to marrying him and to his hiking aspirations. Jane has been a true partner in Jim’s endeavors. She keeps their network of friends and family abreast of his adventures via blog posts which she writes based on their daily conversations (jim-fall2017.blogspot.com). She also meets Jim at different points on the hike route to give moral support and provide transportation. On his trek across the U.S., Jim would fly or drive to his starting point, then complete a portion of the hike over the course of several weeks. True to his declaration to Jane, Jim walked across the country, from Portland, ME to Washington State. That feat took 300+ days over the course of eight years and was completed in 14 segments. More recently, in October Jim completed his third major milestone: He walked 2,490 miles over 156 days from Key West, FL to Lubec, ME. He started this hike in 2014, hiking from the southernmost point of the East Coast to the easternmost part of the country on the Canadian border.

Why hiking? After reluctantly abandoning long-distance running in the late 1990s due to worn-out knees, Jim took up long-distance hiking because “every day on a trail is an adventure. Anything can happen, from skies opening up and soaking me, to wildlife like otters frolicking by.” Some sections of a given route are risky, forcing him to hyper-vigilantly watch each oncoming car and truck. It’s all worth the risk to him: “I see parts of the country I’m not familiar with. I got to walk across over 70 bridges in the Florida Keys, an area now devastated by this September’s Hurricane Irma.

Jim in Lubec, ME in October 2017, at the end of his third major milestone hike.

Perspective on humanity: Jim has gotten insights into human nature while on his hikes.

“I met people who were so generous. I’d wander into a town late in the afternoon, and I’d go into the local bar & grill and order a beer. I’d start talking to the bartender and soon everyone would engage and give me advice about where to put up my tent. Not a single person has done me ill. You get such a different perspective on people when you’re talking one on one about the basic necessities of life. One couple in upstate New York even allowed me to stay in their little cabin for three days to rest my blisters. They’d pick me up and bring me to their house so I could take a break from carrying my backpack.”

Appreciating nature: Jim saw pieces of America that aren’t easily accessible by car. “I did the Lewis and Clark trail, and I could just see the history. I finished the trip along the Columbia River on the Washington/Oregon border, which is where Lewis and Clark terminated their exploration of the Louisiana Territory.”

Jim says he has been blessed with extraordinary good fortune on his hikes, “I was never sick, and I was never depressed [conditions that can hamper a long-distance hiker]. I never had a problem with animals, despite tenting out most nights. My closest call was crossing Glacier National Park in Montana. I saw a bush wiggling and I knew it was hiding a grizzly bear. After I deliberately made a noise, the bear came out of the bushes and stood on his hind legs, 10 feet tall!” Luckily for Jim, the bear eventually moved enough off the trail so Jim could continue his hike unharmed.

After Jim got to the Canadian border in Downeast Maine, Jane posted on Facebook: “I am blown away by my husband’s dogged determination when he sets a goal.” Jim’s determination blows us away too. We are honored that he chooses to expend some of it on Princeton AlumniCorps!