Bold Idea Update: Webinar Convenes Thought-Leaders on Supporting Immigrant Students


Conceived as a way to both capitalize on and grow AlumniCorps’ extensive network of its program alumni and nonprofit partners, The Bold Idea started with a two-year pilot focused on immigration. Implemented in partnership with Appleseed – a network of public interest justice centers throughout the U.S. and Mexico – the initiative has attracted a variety of new partner organizations to our work. As a key aspect of this project, we have organized a series of webinars on specific topics of interest around immigration. The second webinar in the series was entitled Supporting Immigrant Students in Universities. It was held on September 27, 2018, and attracted 99 registrations and 45 participants to tune in live and engage with the speakers.

Yurilka Hernandez, Mariana Paola Sarmiento Hernández, and Ariana Mora Mero, guest speakers on the Bold Idea webinar.

Sahand Keshavarz Rahbar ’17, AlumniCorps’ Bold Idea Fellow, now in his second year, found the featured guest speakers for the webinar by first leveraging our connection to Princeton University’s Khristina Gonzalez, Associate Dean of the College and Director of Programs for Access and Inclusion, and asking for suggestions. After some extensive research, he was referred to Mariana Paola Sarmiento Hernández (center), a graduate student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and founder of the UndocuNetwork student organization; and Ariana Mora Mero (right), Program Coordinator, Services for Undocumented Students, at the University of California (UC), Merced. AlumniCorps had recently engaged Dr. Laura Quiros, Associate Professor at Adelphi University and consultant, to co-facilitate an Emerging Leaders professional development session on diversity, equity, and inclusion (see page 2 for details). Dr. Quiros recommended inviting Yurilka Hernandez (left)— a psychotherapist at the Acacia Network in New York City with over 10 years of experience in the areas of mental health, cultural competency, and immigrant families— to join the panel. Once again, AlumniCorps’ personally connected network catalyzed the convening of experts on a public issue.

Guest speaker Mariana Sarmiento shared a photo from a recent Undocuweek event with us: ‘UndocuFemme and Unafraid.’

The three guest speakers provided a wealth of resources: Yurilka shed light on the impact of deportation on children and young adults, including those protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. Mariana spoke about the process of institutionalizing resources for undocumented students in higher education, while Ariana spoke about the implementation of an orientation program for undocumented students at UC, Merced. A free recording of the webinar can be found on the AlumniCorps website or obtained by emailing our Bold Idea Fellow .

Fall 2018 Regional Updates

Bay Area

The Bay Area got off to a great start with an orientation and goal-setting reception on August 18. The committee took their seven Fellows to see a San Francisco Giants baseball game on September 11, 2018. Pictured are (left to right) Anu Pattabiraman ’10 (committee volunteer), Yash Huilgol ’18, Erin Lynch ’18, Natalie Larkin ’18, Mark Goldstein ’18, Martin Kurian ’18, Jonah Donnenfield ’18, Tiffany Lee ’11 (committee volunteer), and Michelle Arader Fort ’10 (committee chair). The committee also hosted a seminar on Managing Up on October 18, which received very positive feedback from the Fellows; a fellow from a similar program at Stanford joined them.


The Boston Area Committee kicked off the year with lunch and a swan boat ride on August 18. In the picture on the left, above, in the front row: Alice Tao ’17 (volunteer), Alice Frederick ’17, Minjia Tang ’18, Kelly Hatfield ’17 (volunteer), Heather Barnard Gruber ’96 (volunteer).

Back row: Rebecca Curtin (volunteer), Sitraka St. Michael ’11 (volunteer), Maranatha Teferi ’16, Jonathan Yu ’18, Caitlin Sullivan ’07 (volunteer), Liam Fitzgerald ’18, and Julia Perlmutter ’17.


The Chicago Area Committee hosted a kick-off event on September 9. Front row: Carol Obertubbesing ‘73 (volunteer), Emily Pauls ‘18, Virginia Midkiff ‘16 (committee chair), Alice Mar-Abe ‘18, My Bui ‘18; mentors Kristen Molloy ’08, and Vince Anderson ’65; Chris Shin ‘18, Samantha DeKoven ‘94 (mentor), Sherry Holland (volunteer), Andrew Hahm ‘17 (recent Fellow).
Back row: Fiona Bell (friend of one of the Fellows), Ankush Rakhit ‘18, Courtney Wax ‘18, Kristen Smith ‘03 (mentor), Latalia White ‘13 (mentor/ committee member); committee members Rebecca Deaton ’91, Kirsten Hull ’99, and Stacy McAuliffe ’98; Michael Manning ’17 (recent Fellow), Nkosi Shangwa ’18, Ben Levenson ‘15 (mentor); and committee members Tom Allison ’66 and Nathalie Langerfeld ’09.


Committee member Lindsay Wall’s children, Callie and Ozzie Wall (above) also joined in the fun!

Special thanks to Carol Obertubbesing ‘73 for hosting the 2018-19 Fellows on the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise on September 9, just before the kick-off event. Back row: Chris Shin ’18, Ben Levenson ‘15 (mentor), Ankush Rakhit ’18, and Nkosi Shangwa ’18. Front row: Courtney Wax ’18, Alice Mar-Abe ’18, Fiona Bell, and Emily Pauls ’18.

New Jersey

In July 2018, the New Jersey Area Committee got the year off to a great start with a meet and greet. Fellows got the chance to meet their mentors. Pictured above, front row: Norah Reich k’00, Kristen Epstein ’97, Rick Ober ’65, and Rosed Serrano ’18.
Middle: Michael Novek ‘08 and his daughter, Josie.

Back row: Jean Trujillo *95, Audrey Henry ’76, Tom Magnus ’77, Mercy Byrne ’83, Kevin Reich ’00 and his daughter Maeve, Marsha Rosenthal ’76, Jacobine Dru ’07, Anna Kapolka ’18, Ava Torjani ’18, Kabbas Azhar ’18, Kayla Moffett ’18, John Heilner ’64, and Bill Woodrow ’71.

Audrey Henry ’76 met with Kabbas Azhar ’18, her mentee.
Mercy Byrne ’83 chats with Anna Kapolka ’18.

New York

Project 55 Fellows enjoyed a kick-off event at Judy Hole Suratt s’55’s home on September 4. This year 20 Fellows will be working at 15 different partner organizations in New York City. Pictured, left to right: Rainah Berlowitz ’97, Edric Huang ’18, Maraiya S. Hakeem ’12, Scott Taylor ’75, Dominic Michel ’70, Rochelle Forni ’18, Kef Kasdin ’85, Carolyn Birbiglia ’11, Reinaldo Maristany IV ’18, Nitasha Siddique ’18, Katrina Davies ’18, Maia Craver ’18, Kelly McCabe ’18, and Aaron Sun ’18.

Attendees listen intently at the NY Area Committee kick-off event.

Washington, D.C.

In Washington, D.C. Clara Botstein ’07—Project 55 and Emerging Leader alumna—opened up her home to host the Area Committee’s kick-off event for the Fellows in September. On October 25, Meaghan Byrne ’10 and Alan Platt ’66 (pictured left) spoke about navigating career paths at a seminar held for the Fellows. Victoria Navarro ’18, current Fellow at PeerForward, is pictured on the right.

Emerging Leaders expands Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion session, and more!

The Emerging Leaders (EL) professional development program is designed to help aspiring nonprofit leaders develop the capabilities, skills, and confidence to advance their professional contributions and accelerate their careers. Currently, 32 young nonprofit professionals—16 in New York City (NYC) and 16 in Washington, D.C. (D.C.)— are more than halfway through the program.

In Session 2, the New York City cohort heard from Cecilia Clarke (back row, left), President & CEO of the Brooklyn Community Foundation, and EL alumnus Chimere Stephens (far left), Director of NYC Men Teach, a collaboration with the NYC Department of Education, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Young Men’s Initiative, and the City University of New York.

In June and July the sessions focused on the results of the participants’ Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Skillscope 360 assessments. ELs also heard from several guest speakers, including EL alumna Felicia Jones, Director of Healthy Start at Martha’s Table.

ELs in Washington, D.C. heard from EL alumna Felicia Jones, Director of Healthy Start at Martha’s Table, and Kevin Hinton, Executive Director of Beacon House, with EL facilitator Hilary Joel ’85 at Session 2.

In September, session three was reconfigured for the 2018-19 cohort to focus on Leading For Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). This year, our regular facilitators, Hilary Joel ’85 and Yael Sivi, were joined by co-facilitators, Dr. Laura Quiros, a DEI consultant and Associate Professor at Adelphi University in NYC, and Iris Jacob, Founder & CEO of Social Justice Synergy in D.C.

One NYC participant commented that the DEI session, “…raised some personal questions about what authentic leadership looks like for me…Hopefully, the outcome is a leadership style that feels rooted in who I am and allows me to be my whole self.” In D.C., a cohort member said, “Iris was great! It would be very easy for DEI to be treated superficially by organizations. Her facilitation and guidance gave us some meaningful ways to help make it a deeply transformative and intentional process.”

In October, the fourth EL session focused on management-related topics; guest speakers were Amy Nakamoto, Vice President, Discovery Education (D.C.) and David Garza, Executive Director, Henry Street Settlement (NYC).

David Garza, Executive Director, Henry Street Settlement, speaking at New York’s Session 4 on Management 101.

On November 1, 2018, NYC facilitator, Yael Sivi, hosted an EL alumni lunch for seven participants. After reading articles about the convergence of personal and professional growth, Yael led the group in a combination of large group discussion, pair work, and some peer coaching over the course of two hours. EL alumni in attendance were: Jess Weis, Liam Cates, Margie Cadet, Caroline Coburn, Julian Forde, David Nelson, and Andrew Protain ’08, who is a current AlumniCorps board member.

Learn more about our current cohort of Emerging Leaders by browsing their bios in The Leaders Digest participant directory, available online.

Princeton AlumniCorps Thunders at Princeton University’s She Roars Conference

Kef Kasdin ’85 (left) moderated the Tigresses in Nonprofits panel (left to right): former Fellow Melissa Wu ’99, CEO, Education Pioneers; Kathy Roth-Douquet *91, CEO, Blue Star Families; former AlumniCorps board member Margarita Rosa ’74, Adviser/Consultant; and Elizabeth Lindsey *07, Executive Director, Byte Back, Inc., AlumniCorps Emerging Leaders (EL) alumna, and current EL Washington, D.C. program leader.

AlumniCorps was well represented at Princeton University’s alumnae conference, She Roars: Celebrating Women at Princeton, held October 4 – 6, 2018. Several AlumniCorps volunteers, program alumni, and board members participated in various panels. In particular, AlumniCorps’ President and Executive Director, Kef Kasdin ’85, acted as a thought leader for the panel entitled Tigresses in Nonprofits: Amplifying Our Impact. As such, she recruited nonprofit leaders and moderated the interactive panel discussion.

Liz Duffy ’88, AlumniCorps Board Chair, and President, International Schools Services, sat on the Women and Leadership: Strategies for Success panel, while current Project 55 Fellow My Bui ’18 joined AlumniCorps volunteer Olivia Loksing Moy ’06, and former Fellow Jessica (Mayer) Herthel ’96 on the panel entitled Forging Spaces of Inclusion. Olivia was inspired, as the thought leader for this panel, by the Project 55 interview she conducted with My this past January. Elizabeth Ramey *13, Emerging Leaders alumna, and Human Resources and Operations Director, Indivisible Project, moderated the panel on Activism & Movement Building. Anne Marie Maman ’84, former AlumniCorps board member, and Executive Director, Princeton Entrepreneurship Council, spoke on a panel entitled Starting a Start Up: The Art of Founding and Funding. Anne Marie also facilitated a roundtable: Single Mom by Choice. Pyper Davis ’87, a regular guest speaker at the Emerging Leaders D.C. program, and Executive Director, Educare, was on the panel: College Ready or Life Ready? Reimagining K-12 Schools. Kerry Brodie ’12, Founder and Executive Director of Emma’s Torch, an ARC Innovators and Project 55 program partner, was on the panel: Social Entrepreneurship: Women Addressing Issues Across the Globe.

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.

Our Strategic Plan in Action

Our strategic initiatives continue to gain traction! Plans for the inaugural Project 55 Fellows Retreat— one strategy for strengthening our existing leadership programs as described in our current Strategic Plan are well underway.

Chauncey Conference Center in Princeton, NJ

Thanks to our generous donors, all expenses for our 57 Project 55 Fellows will be covered by AlumniCorps! The dates for the retreat are April 5 – 7, 2019 and the event will be held at the Chauncey Conference Center in Princeton. Staff members are working on surveying new Fellows to assess what they want to gain from a retreat, developing content, and working on finding speakers and facilitators. Get to know our Fellows by reading their bios and seeing their headshots in the On the Path directory.

AlumniCorps staff are also collaborating with our Emerging Leaders facilitators to strengthen that program by offering “Booster Shots”— full-day professional development opportunities offered to over 200 Emerging Leaders alumni. Read more about our current Emerging Leaders in the update here.

Yet another outgrowth of our strategic plan—our Bold Idea initiative co-hosted a regional gathering in downtown Chicago on June 7, 2018, with Appleseed titled From Learning to Action: Working with Chicago’s Immigrant Communities. The event included a morning panel featuring speakers Seemi Choudry, the director of the Office of New Americans at the Chicago Mayor’s Office, and Meg Benson, the executive director of Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, as well as an afternoon session dedicated to brainstorming and networking among the participants. View more photos from the event, taken by 1871 photographer Gregory Rothstein during a brief portion of the afternoon brainstorming.

Also under the umbrella of the Bold Idea initiative, AlumniCorps hosted a Reunions panel discussion and Q & A session, In the Service of Humanity: Empowering Immigrant Communities. Over 40 people listened to a panel of Princetonians who are working to build capacities and develop skills among immigrants and refugees. Read details in our Reunions 2018 Update.

Another strategic plan priority is addressing deferred maintenance and performing essential upgrades to our building at 12 Stockton Street in Princeton, NJ. We are pleased to announce that in June 2018 we were one of 25 organizations to receive a historic preservation grant from The 1772 Foundation in cooperation with the New Jersey Historic Trust to repair the exterior of the building. AlumniCorps was one of 12 organizations to receive the maximum grant amount of $15,000. Princeton Town Topics interviewed President and Executive Director Kef Kasdin ’85, highlighting the historical significance of the Charles Steadman-designed building.