Princeton AlumniCorps Welcomes New Executive Director, Andrew C. Nurkin

On behalf of the Princeton AlumniCorps Board of Directors, President Kathy Miller ’77 and Chairman John Fish ’55 are thrilled to announce the hiring of Andrew C. Nurkin as the next Executive Director of Princeton AlumniCorps.

Andrew joins Princeton AlumniCorps after four years on the staff of the Pace Center for Civic Engagement at Princeton University, where he developed and managed public leadership and civic action programs that engage undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, and alumni. He previously served as the Executive Director of Fine By Me, an organization dedicated to promoting equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people on campuses and in communities across the country. Andrew has also worked as an organizer with national campaigns to end poverty and comes to Princeton AlumniCorps with extensive experience in mobilizing individuals to take shared action on issues of public concern. Originally from Atlanta, Andrew holds a M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, a MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a BA in English from Duke, where he served a three-year term on the Board of Trustees. He also volunteers as a writing instructor at Garden State prison.

Andrew writes, ” Over the past four years it has become clear to me that Princeton AlumniCorps is not simply another elevation in the civic engagement landscape. AlumniCorps is doing something different and particularly compelling, and if civic engagement has now become a defining feature of Princeton, then AlumniCorps (and its earlier incarnation as Project 55) deserves a heap of the credit. You have built an entire organization devoted to maximizing the positive social impact of that unique network known as Princeton alumni, and in the process you have enriched the ways generations of graduates think about the purpose of their Princeton experience. The methods are as inspirational as the aims: intergenerational mentorship, responsiveness to community-identified needs and broader trends in the nonprofit sector, a collaborative ethic, and a humility that opens the way for energy and good ideas to become visible outcomes. The word catalyst seems apt for this organization that does indeed precipitate and accelerate change.”

AlumniCorps President, Kathy Miller ’77 writes, “Andrew has the skills needed to successfully work with our large cadres of volunteers and board members and relevant to furthering the growth of our programs through expanded alumni engagement. I am personally looking forward to working closely with Andrew in my role as President, and am confident that you will find him to be thoughtful, intelligent, articulate and sincerely passionate about the work of the organization. ”

Andrew begins at the Princeton AlumniCorps offices on Monday,  June 25, 2012. He can be reached at or 609-921-8808 ext. 2.

Dan Gardiner ’56, friend, partner, and TAN member, dies

GARDINER–D. Daniel Willard, 77, died on May 15. Born July 19, 1934, in Philadelphia, he attended The Episcopal Academy and graduated in 1956 from Princeton University, where he majored in history and American studies and was captain of the squash team. He was active in the First Troop Philadelphia City Calvary. During his adult life, he lived in New York City, Long Island and Chappaqua, N.Y., Little Compton, R.I., and, most recently, Princeton, N.J. He was a Chartered Financial Analyst and, for most of his career, a partner in the asset management firm W.H. Reaves & Co., specializing in the telecommunications industry. After retiring in 1998, he became a passionate leader of Princeton ReachOut56-81-06, and, in 2007, his Princeton classmates presented him with the Distinguished Classmate Award for his contributions. ReachOut56-81-06 is a philanthropic effort of Princeton’s classes of 1956, 1981, and 2006. Its projects include coordinating college guidance programs and other volunteer efforts in underserved schools, and the annual award of one-year fellowships to graduating Princeton seniors who seek to implement public interest projects they have designed. A tournament player in several racquet sports, Dan also relished a good game of family doubles and was thrilled when he finally had enough tennis-playing grandchildren to host a family tournament. He is survived by Joyce Warren Gardiner, his wife of 40 years, his brother, John F. Gardiner, Jr., Dan’s five children, Daphne Trotter, Willard Gardiner, Sargent Gardiner, Michael Gardiner, and Meg Gardiner, and nine grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 4:30pm on Thursday, June 7, at the Princeton University Chapel, on the main campus in Princeton, New Jersey. Donations to PrincetonReachOut56-81-06 are welcome at http://www.princetonreachout. org/donate or by check to PrincetonReachOut56-81-06 at 12 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ 08540.

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.

A letter from Kamilah Briscoe ’00, PP55 alum

Kamilah briscoe '00

I was a PP55 fellow in NYC many years ago and worked at an organization called the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship.  I was there for four years(!) and it was probably the best thing that could have happened to me.  The Watson Fellowship ( is a program for undergraduate students here in the city that was – in large part – modeled after PP55.  One of the big differences was that the colleges that were invited to participate are many of the institutions that educate low-income, first generation college students.  For many students, it helped to clarify a steady, productive, meaningful career path.  It’s made an enormous difference.  Chet Safian played an important role in helping us develop materials, selection processes, internship sites for our students – anything and everything.  That program is now more than ten years old, and has its own really wonderful and diverse alumni.

I left the Watson Fellowship and went to work at a research institute at NYU for six years.  As I was leaving, I came across an open position at the Colin Powell Center which involved directing several scholarship programs for students interested in public service.  During my interview, the director of the Center acknowledged that the Powell fellowships had, themselves, been modeled after the Watson fellowship.  So in roundabout way, I’ve come full circle.  I’m sure you all have a sense of how wide your impact has been on individual fellows like myself, and on colleges involved in TAN – but here’s yet another example of PP55’s wide-reaching influence.  It’s a model that travels well, and that works.  I know I’m now three times grateful for the leadership PP55 has taken in this field – and I know I’m not the only one.

It goes without saying (I hope) that if I can be helpful in ANY way, please feel free to let me know.   I have a lot to be grateful for.

To ensure more PP55 experiences like Kamilah’s, visit and click the Donate button. Every little bit counts!

Pace Center for Civic Engagement Joins The Alumni Network


Princeton AlumniCorps is proud to announce the addition of Princeton University‘s Pace Center for Civic Engagement to The Alumni Network (TAN), making it the second new affiliate this year! The following interview highlights their approach and dedication to education, innovation, and excellence in public service among Princeton alumni.


Tell us about the Pace Center. What is the overall mission, vision, and strategy of the organization?

The Pace Center for Civic Engagement is the University’s central resource for civic engagement. It supports efforts by undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, and alumni to identify and act on the problems of society. The mission of the Center is to integrate civic engagement with the teaching and learning mission of Princeton University by helping all members of the extended Princeton community to identify and address issues of public concern through engaged scholarship, active citizenship, and effective public leadership for the purpose of building stronger communities and societies throughout the world. Pace connects students  with opportunities to thoughtfully address civic problems and have an impact through activities including direct volunteer service, civic action break trips, social entrepreneurship, political action, public service internships and fellowships, volunteer teaching and tutoring, and engaged academics.

The Pace Center manages and support two postgraduate fellowship programs – High Meadows Fellowships focused on the environment and sustainability and the Charles W. Puttkammer ’58 Prisoner Reentry Fellowship.

The High Meadows Fellowships program places recent Princeton graduates in two-year paid positions with three of the nation’s leading non-profit environmental organizations: Environmental Defense Fund, The Food Project, and Vermont Community Foundation. The organizations aim to protect the environment and build environmental sustainability, or bring an environmental focus to building community capacity and increasing the self-sufficiency of community residents.  Generously funded by the High Meadows Fund, Fellows have an opportunity to learn more about the issues these organizations address, while they gain valuable professional experience and explore a career in the public interest. During the course of the fellowship, High Meadows Fellows make a genuine contribution toward advancing the organizations’ objectives and mission. The cohort of fellows is maintained at 8 fellows.

The Charles W. Puttkammer ’58 Prisoner Reentry Fellowship program is a program that places a recent Princeton graduate in a two-year paid position with one of New Jersey’s leading nonprofit organizations, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (NJISJ). The Institute aims to raise the profile of prisoner reentry issues for state decision-makers and local communities, and to help protect communities from the negative impacts of reentry. The Institute provides job training and appropriate social services to facilitate the reentry of former prisoners into their home communities. Generously funded by the Charles W. Puttkammer ’58 Prisoner Reentry Fellowship program, the Prisoner Reentry Fellow has an opportunity to learn more about the issues the NJISJ organization addresses, while gaining valuable professional experience and exploring a career in the public interest. During the course of the fellowship, the Puttkammer Fellow will take on substantive and challenging work and make a genuine contribution toward advancing the organizations’ objectives. As of 2011, there are two Puttkammer fellows.


Who is eligible to participate?

Current enrolled Princeton seniors in good standing. Depending on the specific positions, non-U.S. citizens may not be eligible to apply.


What are the requirements of the program (s)?

For both the High Meadows and Puttkammer programs, the requirements are as follows:

  • Fulfill the 2-year commitment
  • Mandatory orientation program
  • Participate in requested Princeton-sponsored meetings, conferences, recruitment events
  • Contribute to marketing plan and materials
  • Communicate with Pace Center staff
  • Complete mid-year and end-of-year evaluations


What kind of positions in the nonprofit sector do you offer? (e.g. environment, public health, government, urban development, education) 

Broadly, the High Meadows positions are focused on the environmental sector, and the Puttkammer fellowship positions are focused on the criminal justice sector. Depending on the position, the focus on the work may be on public policy, corporate partnerships, philanthropic grant-making, legislative research, and more.


How long has your organization been up and running?

The Pace Center was founded in 2001. The High Meadows Fellowships have been associated with the Pace Center since 2002. The Puttkammer Fellowships have been with the Pace Center since 2009.


How did your organization begin? What inspired this organization?

The Pace Center was named for John Pace, Jr., a member of Princeton’s Class of 1939. The High Meadows Fellowships were founded by Carl Ferenbach, Princeton Class of 1964, and the Puttkammer Fellowships were founded by Charles W. Puttkammer, Princeton Class of 1958. Both fellowship programs reflect the interest and commitments of the respective Princeton alumni.


How many fellows and interns have you placed in total?

In any one year, there are 8 High Meadows Fellows. The first year of the Puttkammer fellowship program had 1 fellow and in subsequent years, there have been 2 Fellows in a year.


Where geographically do you place fellows/interns?

All High Meadows fellowships are located throughout the U.S.  The Puttkammer fellowship is located in Newark, NJ.


Can you provide an example of a success story within your program?

Sure – visit the Pace Center website to read more –


Who is the primary TAN contact for your program/organization?

Elsie Sheidler,; 609-258-7260.

Meet our Newest TAN Affiliate – The Princeton Social Enterprise Network

About The Princeton Social Enterprise Network (PSEN)

PSEN is a platform and a resource for Princeton University alumni who are interested or engaged in social enterprise – the use of sustainable, market-based solutions to social and environmental challenges. PSEN connects and activates a broad network of Tigers – currently spread across the Princeton community – by aggregating, coordinating, and distributing social enterprise programming, resources, and networking opportunities.

PSEN achieves this through a two-part model: a simple yet effective online communications platform and a network of regional chapters, which activates the online community with regional events.

By connecting fellow Tigers to the resources, information, and support they need to establish and scale innovative social ventures, PSEN aligns the full energy, capability, and business acumen of the Princeton University community behind a shared goal of service through enterprise.

Who is eligible to participate?

PSEN is an open community for all PU alumni interested or participating in social enterprise. In the coming year, PSEN plans to launch a social enterprise mentorship program that will specifically target recent graduates and budding social entrepreneurs, and match them with accomplished mentors who can offer advice, support, and guidance. Though PSEN exists first and foremost to serve PU alumni, PSEN also intends for its Chapters to be regional resources.

What are the requirements of the program?

There are no requirements to participate in PSEN. However, as a member-driven organization, PSEN aims to cultivate and active member base that is engaged in regional chapter programming; contributing news, opportunities, and resources to our newsletter; and otherwise contributing to building a supportive community around social enterprise at Princeton.

What kind of opportunities in the nonprofit sector do you offer?

PSEN creates and publicizes opportunities for engagement in the social enterprise sector. Social enterprise describes the use of market-based models and strategies to advance a social or environmental mission. Social enterprises may be nonprofit, for–profit, or a hybrid structure (such as a Low-Profit limited liability company, or L3C).  PSEN convenes regional events that focus on special topics or informal networking and info-sharing. PSEN’s seasonal newsletter aggregates all career opportunities, events, announcements, and other resources submitted by members at and distributes the content to our national subscribers.  PSEN will also convene an annual Social Innovation Business Plan Competition, in which Tigers can compete for funding and exposure for their social enterprise business plans.

How long has your organization been up and running?

Roughly a year.

How did your organization begin? What inspired this organization?

PSEN originated in 2010 as a “social enterprise track” within the Princeton Entrepreneur’s Network (PEN) annual business plan competition. Princeton University, a world-class institution committed to excellence across disciplines, has yet to emerge as a leader in social enterprise. The founders of PSEN observed a distinct lack of coordinated social enterprise programming, resources, and initiatives within the PU community. Furthermore, PSEN believes that social enterprise is a compelling meeting ground for the Princeton University community and a powerful new channel through which to activate the school motto, “In the Nation’s service and the service of all nations.”

How are alumni involved in your organization?    

PSEN offers programming and resources for:

  • Older Alumni seeking late-stage career change, or opportunities to use private sector skills for social impact
  • Experienced social entrepreneurs who can offer thought leadership, mentorship, and guidance to young Tigers
  • Budding entrepreneurs seeking to launch a social enterprise
  • Recent graduates seeking professional or engagement opportunities that couple private sector models with mission-driven work

 Where geographically do you run programming? 

PSEN is focusing on dense metropolitan regions in the continental United States, Canada, and the UK. Currently there are 4 established chapters in the United States, with launches planned in LA, the San Francisco Bay Area, Montreal, and Boston.

How are you funded?

PSEN is currently funded by corporate sponsorship and expects to gain more sponsors as the program grows. PSEN offers a compelling value to corporate sponsors because of the reach of our newsletter and regional events. Sponsors receive publicity in all of PSEN’s communication channels as well as access to PSEN events.

PSEN has partnered with Princeton Entrepreneur’s Network (PEN) to accelerate the corporate sponsorship effort. PSEN is also exploring a commission-based incentive model to attract and retain volunteer resources in this administrative area.

What is the relationship between your organization and the University/College with which you are affiliated?

PSEN is a member of TAN, but is not yet formally funded or recognized by Princeton University. Rather than take a top-down approach, PSEN has decided to grow organically through our Regional Chapter model. This year, as we strengthen our existing chapters and launch new ones, PSEN will approach the University for official recognition and administrative and/or financial support.

Can you provide an example of a success story within your program?

In little more than 12 months, PSEN has grown from a “social enterprise track” within the Princeton Entrepreneur’s Network (PEN) to an independent organization with founding sponsors, a committed administrative team, revolving volunteers, four regional chapters, and a broad network of participants and newsletter subscribers. The consistent attendance and energy at Chapter launches and regional events has demonstrated a significant demand for social enterprise programming and resources in the PU community. Between 20-30 Tigers attended Chapter launches in each city to network, learn about PSEN, and listen to panel speakers. This summer the PSEN New York held a successful clean tech event with four experienced panelists active in the clean-tech sector.

What has been your biggest challenge or area of concern this year?

PSEN is an entirely volunteer-run, member-driven organization. Coordinating and growing PSEN is a second job for the administrative team. It has been a challenge to recruit and retain committed volunteers while also overseeing all aspects of PSEN’s growth, programming, communications, and funding. The team believes that compensated full or part-time positions are ultimately needed to scale the organization effectively. PSEN is actively seeking funding resources that will enable us to increase our administrative capacity and generate greater value for our members and the PU community.