By Carol Obertubbesing ’73
Current PP55 Mentor
I first learned about Princeton Project 55 in 1993 when I attended the first Princeton Community Service Conference organized by John Fish ’55 and Bob Loveman ’69. I was so impressed by the fellows and the dedication of all of those involved that I immediately signed up to become a mentor for one of the summer interns and, later, the year-long fellows.
In Chicago, mentors have helped fellows, most of whom are recent graduates and have not lived in Chicago before, adjust to working life and a new city. I moved to Chicago with some reluctance myself and yet have grown to love its beauty and the vibrancy of its social and cultural communities.
I try to share this love with incoming fellows through a Chicago tip sheet and by introducing my mentee to some favorite places and activities. Having worked in numerous nonprofit organizations, I also try to offer guidance when appropriate. Other mentors have offered career advice and even helped fellows with difficult personal issues such as immigration.
I have served as a PP55 mentor for over 15 years and, besides a strong belief in the mission of the organization, I have also found it personally gratifying. As a transplanted Easterner, I have learned even more about the Chicago community through conversations with my mentees about their work and through the PP55 seminars.
Some of my mentees have shared my interests in theatre or music. Others have taught me about fields, e.g. science and technology, of which I have less knowledge. All of them have stimulated my thinking and each one has been a delight to know personally.
Many of my mentees have been alumnae and it has been encouraging to see how positive their experiences as women at Princeton have been. Serving as a mentor has enabled me to get to know some of these amazing young women and to see that Princeton has been a more welcoming place for them.
I have had a few women in my life who have forever changed it for the better. I hope that the women now graduating from Princeton, particularly with their Princeton Project 55 Fellowship experience, will do this for the next generation, and I hope that in some small way I have been able to do this for the women I have known.
I am glad community service is now a more prominent part of the Princeton experience—on-campus, off-campus, before and after graduation—and that the University and its students, staff, and alumni are more committed to “Princeton in the Nation’s Service and in the Service of All Nations.” I hope to continue to be part of this effort by serving as a PP55 mentor, and I encourage you to get involved in some way as well.
I encourage all alumni—both men and women—to get involved in Princeton Project 55. Together, we can bridge the generation gap, encourage more Princeton graduates to pursue careers in community and public service, learn about and strengthen our communities, and begin to have the kind of civil discourse and civic engagement that will help us build a better world.
Carol Obertubbesing ’73 is a PP55 mentor, past Chair of Princeton University’s Committee on Academic Programs for Alumni, past President of the Princeton Club of Chicago, VP of Communications for the Princeton Club of Chicago, and recipient of the Club’s Arnold M. Berlin ’46 Award for Service to Princeton.