When most people think of Boston, they think of the famous Red Sox, the Boston Tea Party, or “Hahvahd Yahd” (okay that’s in Cambridge). Boston, though, is also a cultural and educational Mecca – a place which prides itself on being civically engaged.
With only 600,000 residents, and a relatively small city center, Boston is filled to the brim with a diverse, vibrant and productive public interest sector. In this rich environment, Project 55 fellows can’t help but have a productive, engaging and transformative year!
Princeton Project 55 fellows have a variety of unique placement options addressing environmental, health care, and educational issues throughout the Boston area. Currently we offer six fellowship positions at nonprofit organizations in the Boston metropolitan area.
Gill Pressman ’08 followed in the footsteps of former PP55 fellow Dena Koren ’04 and serves as the Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer at Building Educated Leaders for Life (B.E.L.L). Karen Jeng ’08 works at the Children’s Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Program where she is conducting policy research on the effects of food stamps on the nutrition of low income families and children.
The High Meadows Fellowship, an environmental program run by Princeton University, also participates in our program. Laura Smith-Gary ’08 is a development associate at The Food Project, an organization that employs young people to grow healthy food for local residents. Marissa Grossman ’06 also works at The Food Project, organizing college students to change their college food service operations.
Jana Holt ’08 and Margaret Arbuthnot ’07 are fellows at The Environmental Defense Fund, working to protect the environment through public policy initiatives in the Boston area. Ellen Zuckerman ’07 holds a fellowship at The Vermont Community Foundation, and serves the nonprofit sector through grant making to communities all over the state.
Our area committee is full of Princeton alumni, many of whom have been through the fellowship program and had amazing experiences. We are very focused on working with the current fellows in Boston to give them a year that will increase their professional growth, and provide them with a deep knowledge and commitment to the public interest.
The Boston area committee works hard each year to help fellows become acquainted with the city by exposing them to local public interest issues and connecting them to professional development opportunities. To this end, we have developed an important relationship with the Harvard Center for Public Interest Careers (CPIC), which provides us with the opportunity to offer a free workshop on negotiation and bargaining at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Together, we plan monthly seminars and bring fellows from both groups to social events. Seminars focus on a specific public interest issue or nonprofit organization working in Boston. Fellows, alumni and others in the Princeton community are invited to these seminars, creating an environment where fellows can deepen their understanding of the public interest sector and build a robust community. Our next seminar will focus on public interest law and will be hosted by the Harvard Law School and the Harvard Children Advocacy Program.
Socially, we keep our fellows engaged as well. In November, CPIC and PP55 fellows met at the Liberty Hotel on the banks of the Charles River for drinks and conversation. Our next social event will be a baking class at Canto 6 Bakery in Jamaica Plain (one of Boston’s twelve neighborhoods) in the early spring.
This September, we hosted our first Boston area orientation breakfast: fellows, mentors and supervisors gathered to meet one another and discuss Project 55’s fellowship program during the upcoming year.
This year, the area committee hopes to forge new connections with other Princeton alumni groups in the region. The Princeton Association of New England (PANE) has an active membership and includes committees that are working to bring young alumni together for happy hours, trivia nights and other social events.
They also organize alumni to work on community service projects and have developed a mentoring program for elementary school students at the Snowden International School in Boston. PANE and Project 55 have a lot to offer one another and we hope to develop this relationship, which will surely add value to the fellowship experience in Boston.
As a former PP55 fellow at The Food Project, I am constantly grateful for the experience I had in Boston. I attended the occasional Red Sox game and headed to Harvard – begrudgingly, of course – to watch Princeton battle Harvard. But what really made my fellowship unique and exciting was the community of fellows and alumni who engaged me on issues related to work, life and the future.
“We are very focused on working with the current fellows in Boston to give them a year that will increase their professional growth, and provide them with a deep knowledge and commitment to the public interest.”
– Rebecca Nemec ’05