Emerging Leaders Profile: An update on May Mark, EL ’14 – ’15

May Mark, Emerging Leaders alumna
May Mark, Emerging Leaders alumna from the 2015 cohort in NYC

Two years ago we profiled May Mark, an alumna of the ’14 – ’15 Emerging Leaders cohort in NYC. May had just relocated to the Bay Area from New York City. When May decided to move on from the tech startup that she joined, she turned to the AlumniCorps network to help her learn more about opportunities in the Bay Area.

May enrolled in Duke University’s intensive 17-month Cross Continent MBA program and she found that the degree complemented the skills she had acquired in Emerging Leaders. “EL helped me to focus on who I am as a leader and how I see myself in the context of others. It was a very safe space with a master facilitator and many opportunities to practice what we were learning… I had already done self-reflection, so I had a strong sense of who I was and where I need to grow.” Like many Emerging Leaders alumni, May credits her program facilitator in NYC with the program’s success: “Yael was an amazing facilitator. I spend a lot of time in the professional development space for adult learning and she’s definitely masterful at what she does.”

Thanks to the global MBA program, May now has classmates around the world. Because of her MBA cohort and other communities May is part of, she says, “I feel very comfortable reaching out to others in a new environment.” Thus, it comes as no surprise that when May got an email from AlumniCorps describing the vibrant Bay Area Steering Committee, she reached out to Steering Committee member Julie Rubinger Doupé ’09. “This new AlumniCorps community was an extension of the one I’d joined in NYC during the Emerging Leaders program. Even though the Bay Area is different, both communities have shared values.”

May (front, left) facilitating the "Managing Up" seminar
May (front, left) facilitating the “Managing Up” seminar for Project 55 Fellows in the Bay Area in December 2017.

Indeed, the Bay Area Steering Committee wasted no time in asking May to lead a seminar that December on Managing Up (see photo). She taught Fellows how to be proactive with their managers by using tactics like anticipating managers’ needs and being crystal clear with deliverables. “I really enjoy working with adult learners. My seminar included brainstorming, role-playing, and lots of discussion.” The experience differed from sessions with Emerging Leaders because the Fellows are much earlier in their careers. “The way I crafted the seminar was definitely informed by my reflections on my early work experience. I wish someone would have shared this information with me when I first entered the workforce!”

“I started to proactively build out my network, and Julie really helped me get to know people in the Bay Area.” May was able to secure a position as the Deputy School Support Lead at XQ, an organization that sparked a cultural conversation last fall to rethink high school nationwide. The organization began with XQ: The Super School Project, a competition inviting America to reimagine high school. Currently, May is focused on cultivating communities of practice among the XQ Schools, methodically encouraging school leaders and teachers to connect and learn from each other.

As May finishes her first year at XQ, the current cohort of Emerging Leaders participants are getting ready for their final sessions and closing celebrations. She reflects, “I didn’t see the Emerging Leaders Closing Celebration as the end of my experience… it was the start. I’d encourage the current cohort to continue to take the content you’ve learned and work with it… use it to reach out to others.” We’re happy to report that Project 55 Fellows in the Bay Area are benefiting from May taking her own advice.

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Regional Updates for September 2016

Region Map 2016

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 email info@alumnicorps.org.

lcolbyhyland16-ucsf_rramiefathy16-ucsf
In the Bay Area, Colby Hyland ’16 and Ramie Rathy ’16 were placed at UCSF. Here they’re gathered with other fellows at the Bay Area kick off event, August 2016

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.

PP55 Chicago
PP55 kick off event in Chicago. Fellows, mentors, and volunteers all gathered on August 28, 2016

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.

Michael Moorin ’16 (left); Joelle Deleveaux '16 (center); and Shira Cohen '16 (right) at the Washington DC PP55 kick off event in August 2016.
Michael Moorin ’16 (left); Joelle Deleveaux ’16 (center); and Shira Cohen ’16 (right) at the Washington DC PP55 kick off event in August 2016.

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

What is the impact of a Project 55 Fellowship? What partner organizations have told us…

What is the impact of a Project 55 Fellowship?

Princeton AlumniCorps, through the Project 55 Fellowship, Emerging Leaders, and ARC Innovators programs, provides ways for people to engage at every age.

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.

An Interview with Julie Rubinger ’09, San Francisco Bay Area Coordinator

Julie Rubinger '09

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.

Raise Your Hand If You Eat Food. Then Take Action!

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.

A former PP55 fellow in Boston slices fruit at a farmer's market.

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.

 

Take Action.

–   Are you an experienced professional? Put your principles into practice. Become an AlumniCorps Community Volunteer and donate your expertise to a food-related nonprofit.

–   Look at your own personal and professional networks. What organizations in your community are working on the food problem? Who might take a Project 55 Fellow or a skills-based AlumniCorps Community Volunteer?

–   Are you passionate about sustainable, healthy food? Help us to organize an educational panel or event for alumni in one of our AlumniCorps cities.

–   Are you a professional working in food and public health, social justice, the environment, or animal welfare? Contact us about speaking at an AlumniCorps seminar or panel for Project 55 fellows.

–   Join the conversation. Which of the four food system issues most concern you?  How can we start a dialogue? Click here to apply for membership in the AlumniCorps Focus on Food online discussion.