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.
Asawari Sodhi ’15 comes from New Delhi, India and is a PP55 fellow with Safer Foundation in Chicago. At Princeton, she studied Comparative Politics and also Dance. She spent a year in Serbia as a participant in the Bridge Year Program, and then a summer in Bosnia as an IIP intern. She also studied the Indian constitution, and rural development through her internships back home. Apart from social/political theorizing, she enjoys choreography and performance.
Why did you choose a Project 55 fellowship to launch your post-Princeton life?
It was a logical outcome given my academic and work history. Moreover, as a yearlong fellowship, PP55 promised to be an involved experience and a good interlude to an advanced degree.
What projects are you working on?
I’ve been helping with legislation, policy research for the Safer Policy Institute, research for the senior team and recommendations to the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform. I’m also working on two white papers on court fees and occupational licensing.
What is the value to you of the fellowship?
I have an interest in public policy. The fellowship has been an opportunity to see it in motion. Also, being with an organization for a year allows time to understand and gain their trust. It gives my experience and the littlest contribution more depth.
What are your plans for next year?
I’ll begin planning for graduate school while, hopefully continuing to work in public policy.
If you were to sum up the experience in one or two sentences for a blog post, what would you say?
Deep end with buoys.
This article is part of a series spotlighting the impact of our programs.
Safer Foundationis one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit providers of services designed exclusively for people with criminal records. They focus on helping their clients secure and maintain jobs because they understand that employment offers the best chance at successful re-entry. Sodiqa Williams ’05 has been Associate Vice President, Policy and Strategy since 2014.
Why did you hire a Princeton Project 55 fellow?
As an alumna of the Princeton Project 55 program, I know the tremendous opportunity there is for a Princeton graduate entering the world of public interest. I started my career in public policy and politics eleven years ago as a Fellow for the then-Lt. Governor of the State of Illinois, who later became Governor. I wanted to afford the opportunity to another Princeton graduate to learn and work at one of the nation’s leading organizations in reentry and workforce development. In order to truly turn this nation around, we need the best and brightest working on critical criminal justice issues.
Also, I understand the tremendous talent and work-ethic of those who enroll in the PP55 program as an intern or fellow. I knew that in order to get Safer’s vision materialized we needed the best, and that was a PP55 Fellow.
What projects is your fellow working on?
Asawari came to Safer to lead our newly created Safer Policy Institute. The Policy Institute provides weekly updates to synthesize the most important of the latest in the criminal justice system, and when possible, uses this synthesis to assess Illinois’ position and advance action. It is also a forum to mobilize action on impactful legislative developments. With Asawari’s leadership and excellent writing abilities – I suspect due to her in-depth knowledge of policy analysis and journalism – the Institute is quickly establishing Safer locally and internationally as a reliable source that can contribute to an advocate’s efforts in criminal justice and reentry policies. In addition, it is effectively re-directing the discourse on criminal justice reform to focus on reentry.
Asawari’s role, however, has not been confined to the Institute. She is now an integral part of the Policy and Advocacy Team. She has drafted testimony and high-level recommendations for state commissions, county boards, and government officials. Asawari also has been key in pushing legislation at the state level. We are currently working to push HB 5973, legislation that codifies for Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR)’s licensing purposes EEOC guidance on employing people with criminal records. It does so for the high growth professions of cosmetology, funeral services, accounting, real estate and roofing. EEOC guidance encourages consideration of mitigating factors such as time since commission of an offense, its nature and gravity, bearing upon job sought and evidence of rehabilitation. HB 5973 states that a conviction record directly related to the practice of a profession. If this legislation is enacted, I can confidently say Asawari played a big part in our success.
Asawari is also working on an initiative funded by JPMorgan Chase to engage health care employers in a national discussion about promising new opportunities to recruit and employ people with conviction records. While the industry has historically been closed to this population, the initiative aims to expand and diversify the pipeline of applicants seeking health care employment to meet the significant demand for qualified workers.
What is the value to your organization of having a Princeton Project 55 fellow?
Asawari has brought tremendous value to Safer; there are now two brainy people who are excellent writers! Before she arrived, I was able to do some great innovative work but now she is helping me with research and drafting of policy documents. Now our ability to make significant substantive impact has tripled.
In particular, I am ecstatic to have a Princeton Project 55 fellow like Asawari because I know I can trust her when I delegate a project. She not only provides exactly what I asked for but also an excellent work product. With our fast-paced environment and small staff, matched with very high expectations from senior leadership, it is critical that I have someone on my team who can keep pace with us as we are repeatedly called for our advice and guidance, as we continue to advocate for policies allowing equal employment opportunities for all, and as we develop new opportunities in high-growth industries.
Asawari has done such a fantastic job Safer has made her an offer to become our Public Policy & Legislative Affairs Coordinator at the end of her fellowship in 2016.
What is the impact on your beneficiaries of having a Project 55 fellow?
The impact can be seen now and will be seen for many years into the future as we continue to open historically closed doors in high-growth industries such as healthcare, remove barriers to employment opportunities, and recommend to top government officials and agencies cost-effective, evidence-based practices that will reduce recidivism and save taxpayers’ dollars.
If you were sum up the experience in one or two sentences for a blog post, what would you say?
Having a Princeton Project 55 Fellow is the best short-term and long-term investment organizations can make not only to build up their internal capacity, but also to make significant positive impact. These Fellows are the best and brightest who lend their intelligence, skills, drive and determination to advance critically important causes.
This article is part of a series spotlighting the impact of our programs.
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.
Boston hopes to grow its Princeton AlumniCorps base next year and recruited five organizations to submit positions this fall, reports Lizzie Harvey ’06. Many thanks are due to Tom Flynn p’10 and the rest of the Boston Steering Committee for their continued recruitment efforts. Current and past fellows joined with Harvard Center for the Public Interest Fellows to celebrate the holidays at Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square in December. This past January, the Boston program held a seminar on sustainability and is looking forward to upcoming seminars on medicine and education.
The Chicago PP55 fellows continue to collaborate with fellows from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University in their weekly seminar series. Recent seminars included a conversation with Mildred Wiley and Howard “Nat” Piggee ’96 at Bethel New Life, a community development organization on Chicago’s West Side, where Kathleen Connor ’11 is currently a fellow. Another seminar was led by David Kay at METROsquash, an organization that uses squash to draw Chicago public school students into experiences that broaden their educational, cultural, and community service horizons.
METROsquash has hosted many PP55 fellows, including current fellow Jackie Moss ’11. PP55 fellows were joined by Northwestern and University of Chicago fellows for a holiday gathering in December, and are looking forward to more gatherings in the coming months.
Board members Paula Morency ’77 and Tom Allison ’66 are leading the effort to build out Community Volunteers in Chicago. Stay tuned!
“The Connecticut branch of AlumniCorps and the PP55 Fellowship Program has been blessed with outstanding fellows again this year,” writes Harry Berkowitz ’55. Julia Kearney ’11 and Michael Belmont ’11 are at the Norwalk Community Health Center, where they have been immersed in every aspect of the Center and are playing an integral role in its functioning. Tiffany Lee ’11, at Housing Development Fund, has likewise reported she is deeply involved in the organization, and is enjoying her fellowship. The fellows continue to travel to New York to join the New York AlumniCorps family in their monthly seminars. Fellows have enjoyed meals with Harry, who continues to support the Connecticut AlumniCorps community with his good spirit and great energy. Connecticut is looking forward to hosting fellows again at the Norwalk Community Health Center and the Housing Development Fund in the coming year, in addition to other new partnerships with local organizations.
Kristen Smith ’03 reports that the year continues to go well for the New York AlumniCorps family. The annual Career/Networking Night took place at the home of Laurie & Arthur Malman ’64 on Wednesday, December 7th. Facilitators included Paul Nehring ’10, Jess Jardine ’10 and Andrew Goldstein ’06. Chet Safian ’55 & Jenny Safian s’55 hosted a holiday celebration at their beautiful home on December 13th.
The NY program kicked off the New Year on January 12th with a trek uptown to the Hispanic Society of America for a seminar on the arts. Distinguished panelists included Marcus Burke ’69, Mark Rossier and James Martin (former Princeton dance teacher). Marcus Burke, the Senior Curator at the Hispanic Society of America, also gave a tour of this hidden gem in Washington Heights. This seminar was organized with the help of Judy Hole Suratt s’55.
On Wednesday, February 29th, Prep for Prep will host a seminar on ‘Sustainable Food and Public Health’ featuring Dr. Gordon Douglas ’55, Mia McDonald and Matt Rice. On March 27th, at the Whitney Museum, fellows will be receiving a behind the scenes look at the museum and its Biennial Exhibition due to the hard work and planning of Scott Taylor ’75 and NY Seminar Committee Co-Chairs Katie Ko ’09 and Reilly Kiernan ’10.
Emerging Leaders will host its first cohort in New York this year! Applications are now available online.
Current fellow Joseph Sengoba ’10 is working to organize a forum focusing on Philadelphia’s criminal justice system in the Spring, inspired by the New York seminar at District Attorney’s Office of New York, which he attended. According to Carol Rosenfeld ’05, the Philadelphia fellows attended an amazing forum on education reform at the beginning of November, which was organized by former PP55 fellow and Philadelphia area committee member Katie Thaeder ’09. February’s seminar will focus on using social media for social change, and the group is also looking forward to attending the Princeton Global NetNight in March to practice networking skills.
The Philadelphia area is thrilled that they’re on track to once again double the fellowship program for the coming 2012 – 2013 fellowship year. They are continuing to recruit partner organizations through the Spring round – please email Carol Rosenfeld ’05 at email@example.com if you know of any organizations in Philadelphia that would benefit from hosting a fellow.
Community Volunteers has launched in Mercer County, and now offers five new substantive volunteer opportunities for Princeton alumni looking to lend their talents and skills to local nonprofits. To read more about our new partners and available volunteer opportunities, click here.
There are two exciting upcoming events in the Princeton area. On March 2nd the Princeton Senior Resource Center will be hosting an exciting panel and discussion about channeling your talents in meaningful ways. The event is entitled “Living with Purpose”. To learn more about this exciting event, visit www.towntopics.com. On March 14th, from 7-9pm, Princeton AlumniCorps will be hosting the Princeton Global Net Night 2012: Developing Your Personal Brand. In addition, learn about volunteer opportunities for alumni to use their professional skills to help nonprofits address critical needs. Hope to see you there! To learn more visit www.princetonaaa.org/events.
San Francisco Bay Area
Julie Rubinger ’09 writes that the Bay Area fellows are doing well. After a career mixer hosted by the Harvard CPIC program in October, Julie reached out to members of the local AlumniCorps community to participate in a November seminar on education. Entitled “The Future of K-12 Education in America”, panelists included April Chou ’96 of KIPP Bay Area, Andrew Garland ’01 of The New Teacher Project, Derek Mitchell of Partners in School Innovation, and Kit Tollerson ’08 of Rocketship Education. The panelists discussed the challenges of closing the achievement gap, and how individuals and organizations are developing innovative solutions to improve public education.
In early December, Chet Safian ’55 visited the Bay Area and met with all of the fellows in the Marina district. Chet recounted some wonderful stories about the history of Project 55 and the importance of public service. The fellows celebrated the holidays with other fellows from Stanford and Harvard, at Yerba Buena Gardens in downtown San Francisco.
Emily Silk ’10 and Sara Twardock ’11 report that the seminar series is well under way in Washington, DC. After taking part in an interactive office dynamics seminar led by Charity Fesler ’01 and Lisa Lazarus ’02 in December, fellows enjoyed a January seminar about post-fellowship plans: “Planning Your Next Move”, led by professional career coach and talent recruiter Katie McNerney and DC Area Committee Chair Ari Altman ’97. Next up? A highly anticipated discussion of environmental policy, hosted by Justin Smith ’90 at the Department of Justice!
The DC region has also hosted a number of more informal events: December saw fellows, committee members, and mentors gathered at the home of Kathleen McCleery ’75 & Bob Martinez ’75 for a holiday dinner featuring delicious homemade soups and equally enjoyable conversation. Fellows also recently convened at happy hour event planned by the three newest additions to the DC area committee: current fellows Carol Dreibelbis ’11, Rachel Sverdlove ’11, and Sarah Twardock ’11. They are now looking forward to a busy spring—beginning in February, when Kathleen McCleery ’75 will host fellows at PBS NewsHour, where she is Deputy Executive Producer.
AlumniCorps looks forward to celebrating the inaugural year of Emerging Leaders following the final session on March 13th. We are grateful to all of the individuals and organizations whose ongoing support has contributed to the great success of the program. Nonprofit professionals in Washington, DC who meet the application criteria are encouraged to apply now for the second year of the program which will begin this June.
Hear PP55 Fellows’ Stories from Around the Nation!