AlumniCorps currently operates in seven regions across the country. Our local area committees recruit and match mentors, organize social events and seminars, and serve as guides to fellows navigating a new city. If you are interested in volunteering, please firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bay Area: We had an orientation and welcome dinner for fellows in August, in which former fellows Amantia Muhedini and Abigail Kelly lead a workshop session to brainstorm and discuss their overall goals and hopes for the year. All fellows attended and it was a great way to kick off the year. This month, we are hosting a behind-the-scenes experience at the San Francisco Opera. Fellows and mentors have been invited to a dress rehearsal of the opera, “Don Pasquale,” and will have a Q&A session with SF Opera Artistic Planning Manager, Sean Waugh.
Boston: We welcomed the new fellows to city by hosting a happy hour with the Princeton regional association. It was a success and many of our former and current fellows attended. We’ll have a welcome event for the fellows on Cape Cod, hosted generously by committee member Tom Flynn. There’ll be an informal BBQ where we’ll talk about the expectations for the year, followed by some fun activities around the Cape.
Chicago: On Sunday, August 28th, we hosted an orientation retreat for our incoming fellows. PP55 Mentor Carol Obertubbesing ‘73 introduced the fellows to the city’s history from the vantage point of the Chicago River on a Chicago Architecture Foundation boat cruise! Sherry Holland led the mentors through their own orientation program, sharing tips for connecting to their mentees. Afterwards, fellows and mentors met up for dinner at the home of Sally and Vince Anderson ‘65.
On August 31st, fellows from PP55 and the University of Chicago and Northwestern Public Interest Programs (PIP) came together for a “PIP-nic” in Millennium Park. Our seminar series kicked off on Wednesday, September 8th, covering topics like public interest, asset-based community development, and workforce development.
Washington, DC: We recently hosted a kick-off event to introduce our new committee members and determine participants’ interest in topics/ideas for this year’s programming. This event was hosted by our area committee advisor, Tonya Miles and was attended my P55 fellows, Emerging Leaders, mentors, and alums. While at CityBridge, Joelle Deleveaux is exploring potential solutions for the charter school facilities crunch in D.C. For his part, Michael Moorin has begun to do intensive research into the education marketplace in DC and school incubation.
To see more photos from the 2016 PP55 Welcome events, visit our Facebook album
Here are just a few of the many experiences that partner organization supervisors and contacts through the years have shared.
“All PP55 fellows I have worked with have been smart, capable, positive, hard-working, and great team members. They are always wonderful! Our fellow was WONDERFUL!!! She had a great attitude, was a hard worker, and was eager to learn.”
Corey Merrill, Fourth Grade, Head of School, Community Day Public Charter School, Lawrence, MA
“It’s great to have people coming in who are hard-working and enthusiastic, who are open to learning about the sector but who also bring new ideas and questions.”
Katherine Canning, Education Through Music, Inc., New York
“The [fellows] are always hard-working, smart, dedicated, and help infuse a lot of energy into the overall group.”
Meredith Buxton, UCSF Breast Care Center, San Francisco
“Our Fellow was a very strong staff person and performed just as strongly, if not better, than an entry-level staff member.”
Ilana Zafran, Umoja Student Development Corporation, Chicago
“We are delighted to continue partnering with AlumniCorps and look forward to adding a new fellow next year. The most worthwhile thing about the Project 55 program is having bright, energetic, curious young people adding value to our organization.”
Ann Ginsberg, Aeras, Rockville, MD
“PP55 Fellows are bright, committed, hard-working, ethical and passionate do-gooders. The Fellows are the reason a host organization ought to cast its lot with PP55. PP55 Fellows are of such high quality that any host organization smart enough to organize itself to take advantage of this great resource will find itself completely blessed.”
John Horan, North Lawndale College Prep, Chicago
“We have enjoyed our partnership with AlumniCorps. They provide training that allows the fellows to grow professionally during their time with the agency. It is great to work with the young talent. Our fellow was capable of producing high-level work early on in his fellowship and grew to the point of needing less direct supervision to accomplish tasks.”
Matt Vanover, Director of Public Education and Deputy Superintendent, Illinois State Board of Education
“From our perspective it is wonderful to have the services of a bright, motivated recent graduate for a year. As a non-profit organization, there is always more work than there are people to do it. As an organization that relies heavily on scientific analysis, having skilled, educated Fellows gives us a significant boost in being able to track and analyze literature. It is also always beneficial for an organization like ours to develop relationships with students who will go on to become the next generation of scholars and professionals.”
Dr. John Balbus, Environmental Defense, Washington, D.C.
More than 50 fellows have been placed for the upcoming year. See the program website for a current list of all fellowship placements here. Princeton Project 55 Fellowships are made possible by passionate area committees and local volunteers, generous donors, and highly effective partner organizations. Thank you for your shared effort.
Julie Rubinger ’09 recently accepted the position of Area Coordinator for the San Francisco Bay Area region of the AlumniCorps community. Julie is currently a PP55 fellow at NewSchools Venture Fund in San Francisco, CA and was a fellow at Education Through Music in New York, NY from 2010-2011.
In the following interview, Julie talks about her PP55 Fellowship experience and explains why she decided to take on a more active role in the AlumniCorps community.
Share a bit about your PP55 Fellowship Program experience: What inspired you to become a fellow? What kind of work have you been doing?
My senior year at Princeton coincided with the Obama presidential campaign, and it was a very exciting time on campus. Politics aside, Obama’s campaign empowered students like me to believe that we can make a difference in society. I knew that as a first step in my career, I wanted to work for a social cause. The Project 55 Fellowship program provided exactly what I was looking for, and I feel very fortunate to have been placed at Education Through Music in New York City, where I helped with their fundraising efforts. At Education Through Music, I gained exposure to the public education landscape in New York City, and worked with impressive individuals at a well-run, highly impactful organization. After two years there, I moved to San Francisco but stayed within the AlumniCorps community to join the development team at NewSchools Venture Fund. Here, I’m working on building a community of investors and raising philanthropic dollars so that we can support innovative entrepreneurs around the country who are improving public education for low-income students. It was a huge change moving from New York City to San Francisco, but I immediately fell in love with the Bay Area. The welcome I received from the Princeton community, as well as my supportive colleagues at NewSchools, helped me acclimate quickly to the new city, new job, and new life in San Francisco.
What motivated you to become the San Francisco Bay Area Coordinator?
I was involved in the New York Area Committee during my second year in New York City, and I really enjoyed working with others on the committee to support the fellows and give them a great experience. I had great mentors in New York, such as Chet Safian ’55, whose service to the fellowship program I found very inspiring. The AlumniCorps community in San Francisco is smaller, but I quickly learned that there are many phenomenal Princeton alumni here in the Bay Area that are doing really interesting work, and are eager to mentor and support the fellows. Next year, I am excited to involve more alums in the activities and programs of the fellowship program, and help give the fellows a great all-around experience.
We all eat food, but few of us care to think about what systems, policies, costs, and risks are associated with bringing that food to our tables. The production and consumption of food affects every aspect of our lives as individuals, as members of a local community and as agents of a global economy.
In September 2010, Gordon Douglas MD ’55 and Sheila Mahoney began a conversation about food.
The Focus on Food initiative was conceived with the goal of cultivating Project 55 fellowship opportunities for recent Princeton graduates at organizations committed to food-related issues in this country. The issues range from obesity to farm factory pollution to food safety regulation to farm worker rights—all of which may be linked to our industrial food system, which is itself a product of government policies and business practices that support the production of vast quantities of low-priced, low-grade food, whatever the costs to the common good. As diverse and numerous as the issues may be, Focus on Food recognizes four broad areas of advocacy in today’s food movement: public health, environmental sustainability, social justice and animal welfare. Alumni have the opportunity to advance the issues in any one of these areas, whether by examining policy, promoting awareness or effecting change on the ground.
– Are you an experienced professional? Put your principles into practice. Become an AlumniCorps Community Volunteer and donate your expertise to a food-related nonprofit.
Boston is excited to welcome two new Project 55 fellows for the 2011-12 year: Dinah Chen’11 and Ben Stone ’11. They were formally brought into the fold with a meet and greet of current AlumniCorps area committee members, mentors, and past alumni at Scholars Bistro, a new restaurant in downtown Boston on September 13th. We’re also pleased to announce matching our fellows with not one, but two mentors for the fellowship year to provide our new Bostonians with a rich and diverse set of knowledge and experience.
The first seminar was held September 27th at The Food Project, where fellows learned about the mission of this innovative nonprofit and also literally got their hands dirty helping out on the farm. We’re also looking forward to a continuing partnership with Harvard’s CPIC program, alternating with seminar planning throughout the year.
Our steering committee is pleased to welcome Amy Burghardt Muehlbauer ’05 to Boston, a former NYC Fellow at Education Through Music and welcome back Jen Carpenter ’96. Lizzie Harvey ’06 will be taking over as chair of the area committee after great leadership from Rebecca Nemec ’05.
The eight Chicago Project 55 fellows are off to an excellent start this fellowship year. They all report being extremely busy at their placements and have also begun their weekly seminar series with the fellows from University of Chicago, Northwestern and this year Harvard as well. For the first seminar, John Fish ’55 spoke about the history of Chicago politics, and after becoming better acquainted with their city, the fellows introduced themselves to each other and fellows from the other programs.
Project 55 Fellowship Program Manager Sara McCord also visited Chicago in September to meet with PP55 fellows, partner organizations and alums and brainstorm how we can get more applicants interested in the Windy City.
Additionally, Aiala Levy ’07 will be succeeded as Chicago Area Coordinator for the fellowship program by Vince Anderson ’65, who has been the point of contact for organizations and fellow support in recent years. Founder of the Chicago Project 55 program and local resident John Fish ’55 was elected as AlumniCorps’ new Board Chair on October 1st.
AlumniCorps Board members Tom Allison ’66 and Paula Morency ’77 are working with Kef Kasdin ’85 to gather information and ideas for a potential Community Volunteers initiative reaching alumni from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s in the Windy City.
Harry Berkowitz ’55 recently welcomed the three Project 55 fellows for the 2011-12 fellowship year during a lunch with the directors of their organizations – two agencies which have been long-time partners of the Project 55 Fellowship Program. Julia Kearney ’11 and Michael Belmont ’11 are working at the Norwalk Community Health Center (NCHC), and Tiffany Lee ’11 is at Housing Development Fund (HDF) in Stamford.
Both programs have been expanded this year. Tiffany will be more directly involved with the families seeking loans and will help them qualify at HDF. NCHC has expanded the amount of involvement with patients, the hospital residents and programs that will expose the fellows to the nature of community health care. As always, the Connecticut fellows have also been graciously invited to participate in New York area programming.
The year is off to an excellent start for the New York City area, where all 22 Project 55fellows gathered on September 10th for a local orientation. There the fellows had a productive discussion of what professionalism means in the fellowship context and how to face city life on a tight budget, and several stellar public-transit-related prizes were raffled off. Several fellows also headed together to the Idealist.org Graduate School Fair on September 15th.
Sam Suratt ’55 and Judy Hole Suratt hosted the Welcoming Dinner on September 27th, and the first seminar will be a perennial favorite debate on the criminal justice system between a powerhouse prosecutor and a titan of the criminal justice bar, to take place October 18th. New York alumni Janice Nittoli *85 and Alejandro Perez ’10 joined the Board of Princeton AlumniCorps on October 1st.
The Philadelphia area got the 2011 – 2012 fellowship year off to a great start with a trip to a minor league baseball game featuring the Camden Riversharks. The outing was organized by the Princeton Club of Philadelphia, and Camden Riversharks owners Tony Rosenthal and Ruth Ganister P’07. There, the fellows got a chance to meet alumni in the area and socialize with the PICS summer interns. Later in the summer, fellows welcomed the Class of 2015 at the annual picnic for incoming freshman from the Philadelphia area (many of whom we hope will be future Project 55 fellows!). In September, the local AlumniCorps community got together for a potluck to welcome the Project 55 fellows. The dinner also featured a showing of Waiting for Superman and a discussion about the movie and ways to take action.
San Francisco is home to six Project 55 fellows this year including a new placement at the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula, with Executive Director Peter Fortenbaugh ’89. In June, the fellows met at Palomino’s near the Bay Bridge for a small happy hour and will meet their regional TAN fellows of the Stanford SPIN and Harvard CPIC programs in October. The local programming continues to be led by committee, including alums Emily Chiswick-Patterson ’05, Camille Logan-Weekes ’95,
Jessie Garton Szymanski ’05, Helen Amick ’87, Erin Ebbel ’06 and welcomes new members Elisha Smith *09 and Julie Rubinger ’09. Elisha and Julie have fit right in: Elisha planned the closing dinner for the 2010-11 fellows and Julie, who spent the last two years at Education Through Music in New York, is planning the PP55 seminars and coordinating with SPIN and CPIC. Bay Area alumna Leesy Taggart ’78 also recently joined the AlumniCorps Board of Directors in October.
The AlumniCorps DC Area Committee officially greeted our fourteen 2011-12 fellows on July 21st, with a welcome dinner at Zorba’s Café in Dupont Circle. Several weeks later, a group of current and former fellows spent the morning of Saturday August 20th volunteering together at Stuart-Hobson Middle School through the DC Public Schools Beautification Day initiative. In preparation for the first day of school on Monday, our group helped distribute textbooks to classrooms, cleaned the blacktop playground, and swept the sidewalks in front of the building. It was a great way not only for us to become acquainted with one another, but to spend time in the community and meet Stuart-Hobson students and parents working alongside us.
Lisa Lazarus ’02 and Elizabeth Pillion ’05, Mentoring Chair and Vice-Chair, led a successful training session for all new and returning mentors in August. With the help of our mentors, DC AlumniCorps will look to expand the mentors-at-large program this year as well.
The DC Area Committee will be chaired this year by Ari Altman ’97, after a successful year under the leadership of Kate Lewis-LaMonica ’08. Local alumni and a significant number of 2010-11 fellows will be assisting in the leadership effort.
Our pilot year of the AlumniCorps Emerging Leaders Program for professional development continues to be a success!