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  May 23-26, 2024


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CSF Report 2010-2011



75 opportunities with 58 organizations. Student applications are now being accepted.


65 students were placed at 48 organizations across the US and in Bermuda. A number of the organizations published reports in their newsletters at the conclusion of their internships.

Alison Daminger ’12 was a PICS intern with Mercer Street Friends Food Bank, a long time PICS organization initially identified by classmate, Jeff Sprowles. Mercer Street Friends asked her to share some thoughts about her experience in their summer newsletter, Table Talk:

Alison DamingerWhen I began my adventure at Mercer Street on June 1st,I’m not sure what I was expecting – possibly that theFood Bank would resemble the pantry in my hometown, or maybe that it would operate like a grocery store. Either way, that first glimpse of the warehouse took me by surprise: a small fortress of banana boxes, letter carrier bins piled high, and cases upon cases of foods in greater quantities than I’d ever seen! Since that first morning, the Food Bank has continued to surprise me with the sheer scope of its operations and the emergency food network it supports; I only hope that my work over these past few months has contributed in some small way to its mission. I focused my internship on several primary projects, the first of which was aiding in the development of a Food Stamp Outreach program. Because many people are unaware that they are eligible for food stamps, or have difficulty navigating the application process on their own, food banks and other nonprofit organizations throughout New Jersey send representatives into the community to screen needy individuals for eligibility, guide them through the application, and act as their link to county officials. In addition to visiting several community sites and working directly with applicants myself, I helped develop paperwork for Mercer Street’s new food stamp program – client information sheets, volunteer logs, waivers –and come up with outreach protocol that will hopefully facilitate the program’s growth. The chance to meet with clients one-on one and hear their stories firsthand was a powerful way for meto put a face to the sometimes abstract problems of hunger and poverty in Mercer County. Another highlight of the summer for me was the chance t serve as the Food Bank’s "green grocer” each Thursday. It was my job to inventory the delivery of fresh produce and develop a system for distributing it to agencies. Needless to say, I’ve become quite familiar with New Jersey produce after sorting through several thousand pounds of it each week! When I heard from agency representatives that not all of their clients know what to do with these vegetables once they receive them, I created a guide to cooking with fresh produce, offering tips for storing produce, step-by-step instructions for several cooking methods, and a selection of easy recipes featuring some of the fruits and vegetables we distribute. Lastly, I devoted a significant amount of time to researching the issue of food access in Trenton. With only two full-service grocery stores for a population of 76,000, it is difficult for many of the city’s low-income residents to find and afford healthy, fresh foods. To help assess the extent of this need, I created a "food resource” survey that was conducted at several other Mercer Street Friends’ programs, as well as at food bank member agencies. Combining data from this survey – with questions about where residents do their grocery shopping, how easy it is for them to find fresh produce, and the general quality of food in their neighborhood – with my own research on barriers to healthy eating and the health consequences of limited access to nutritious foods, I was able to develop a series of recommendations for the Food Bank and other concerned agencies seeking to combat these problems in Mercer County. This research became something of a pet project for me, and I hope to use what I’ve learned as the basis of my independent work back at Princeton in the fall.

All in all, it has been a wonderful summer, and I have a feeling that I won’t be able to stay away from the Food Bank too long, even after my time as an intern is over!

Allison was not the only published intern this summer! Andy Lowy was a PICS intern this summer with the County Executive's Office of Community Partnerships of Montgomery County, Maryland, a first time participant organization brought to the PICS program by the Class of 1970. Andy, is a Junior at Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He wrote in the OCP newsletter about his "food” experience as well:

Imagine: Montgomery County as the Nation’s Model Sustainable Community Food System

Andy LowyOne of the most important challenges of the 21st century in Montgomery County and around the globe will be the creation of sustainable community food systems where more healthy food is locally produced, distributed, consumed, and composted in an efficient and environmentally sustainable way that promotes public health through improved eating habits, and unites the rural and suburban/urban communities around food. By producing, distributing, and consuming more food locally and organically, we can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions caused by shipping food long distances, reduce the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers, enjoy a wider variety of nutritious fresh local foods, and fight childhood obesity by providing more healthy food to "food deserts” and communities with limited access to these foods. At the same time, we can ensure the future economic and "food security” of the community, even as the supply of fossil fuels dwindles and the oil-dependent industrial farms can no longer produce and distribute food at their current capacity.

On March 25, 2010, the Montgomery County Green Economy Task Force (GETF) submitted to County Executive Ike Leggett its recommendations for "growing a sustainable economy in the 21st century…[achieving] green job growth…increased revenue and innovation, while enjoying a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and natural resource consumption.” Among the recommendations was the creation of a "small farm incubator” extending the County’s award-winning business incubator model to support organic farming in the Agricultural and Open Space Reserve and to encourage local consumption. Under such a program, farmers initially receive subsidized rates on land and equipment, as well as guidance and support from mature "mentor” farms, until they have grown their businesses to the point where they can operate profitably outside the incubator. On May 27, 2010, the Montgomery County Planning Board selected the Darby Hub, a 127-acre plot of land in the Woodstock Special Park in the Reserve as the location for the farm incubator.

During my ten-week Princeton Internships in Civic Service internship, I am building upon the progress made by Parks & Planning as I propose a Sustainable Community Food Initiative, a comprehensive County initiative to promote local sustainable agriculture, food processing, and distribution, and educate the public about the value of Buying Montgomery and Eating Healthy. In addition to the farm incubator, this initiative could include a Food Innovation Center with a commercial kitchen incubator and a healthy food-processing center that turns would-be food waste from local farms into nutritious meals. The Initiative could also provide business support to existing small farms through a Sustainable Farm Network and a workforce development program that brings underemployed immigrant workers from day labor centers to farms and trains them in commercial organic agriculture. It could also include a Healthy Food Hub that creates new markets for local produce and facilitates the distribution of food, especially to low-income residents who often lack access to affordable healthy food. Lastly, the initiative proposes ways to educate the public about food and encourage healthy eating habits through cooking classes, school and community gardens, and a Montgomery County "farm to school” meal program.

The PICS program and the intern at Epiphany School in Boston were featured in the June 2010 Epiphany newsletter, Always Learning:

Princeton PICS Epiphany

Ogechi OparahThis summer we are thrilled to welcome Ogechi Oparah to our school community. Ogechi is the fourth outstanding intern to come to us from the Princeton Internships in Civic Service Program. PICS is a summer internship program that supports community service activities by Princeton students and alumni. It was conceived in 1995 as a joint endeavor of Princeton classes (primarily 1969, 1970 and 1977) as a way for students to explore potential careers in public service and the non-profit sector.

Ogechi is one of 600+ Princeton students who have brought their creativity, skills and energy to more than 150 non-profit organizations. The internships encompass a wide range of endeavors in national and international organizations working in group advocacy, legal services, public policy, the environment, health and social services, community development, education and the arts.

Epiphany was fortunate to have an advocate in Chris Meyers, a longtime supporter and Princeton alumnus. "My parish (St. Paul's in Newton Highlands) and I have been supporters of Epiphany school almost from the beginning, and when John Finley spoke at my church one day, I sought him out because I thought he might be able to use a Princeton intern for the summer - it seemed like a natural fit with the Class of 1969 Community Service Fund, which I have also supported. It took a couple of years to percolate from there, but it seems to have worked out very well for all concerned."

Thank you Ogechi, Chris, and everyone involved in PICS for your active and ongoing support of Epiphany.

In Their Own Words:

Ogechi in Her Own Words

I grew up in Fayetteville, GA, just outside of Atlanta. As a rising sophomore at Princeton University, I have been involved in several activities on and off-campus, ranging fromstartinga book club for residents of aTrentonrescue mission toperforming with anon-campus dance company. At present, I am interested in the social sciences, and education in some form or another has been one of my long-standing interests.

Coming from a family that always put a high premium on education and community service, I knew from an early age that my passion for learning, teaching and serving could somehow be put to good use. When I was looking for internships in my first fall semester at Princeton University, Epiphany School immediately caught my eye. Its full-service model and focus on individualized teaching, along with it's community-based, family-oriented system, made the school an attractive choice for me, and quite the match.

At Epiphany School, I have been able to use all of my talents amidstwonderfulfaculty and staff, from teaching a WestAfrican dance workshop series at the end of the school year, to working with the students one-on-one,and helping out whenever help is needed. My job has been exceptionally fulfilling thus far, as I continually have the flexibility tohelp create new avenues for growth and improvement within the school, and enjoygreat support from the administrators who work diligentlyon a daily basis to keep this unique program thriving. I am honored to be a part of this bright light inDorchester, and Ihope tocontinuedoing good work for agreat cause.

Sarah Pease-Kerr ’11

My main assignment was to complete a report for Dr. John Long, VP of Research and Collections at the Mu­seum. Dr. Long wanted me to look at research output (grants and scholarly publications) of other major Ameri­can natural history museums to compare and benchmark the work being done by researchers at NHMLAC. I had to gather annual reports, grant reports, and data on publications and put together a comprehensive report with graphs, charts, and analysis showing what I found.

In addition to this independent project, Dr. Long set me up with curators, curatorial assistant, and collections managers in the various departments at the Museum (Anthropology, Mammalogy, Crustacea, Entomology, Con­servation, Ornithology, etc.) to assist on smaller projects such as collections rehousing, artifact photography, digi­talization of collections, artifact conservation, exhibit research, and some field work.

I was satisfied with my projects. It was challenging, new, and varied. I had a good balance between in­dependent work and time with museum researchers.

Sarah Pease-Kerr

Sarah Pease-Kerr helping Conservation staff at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County to restore a 1908 Pierce Great Arrow; part of the Museum’s history collection. 

Manuel Perez ‘11

My main task at Access Community Health Network in Chicago was to create a program manual for 340B Drug Dis­count Program. Health care entities that participate in this government program have the opportunity to buy prescription drugs at a low cost and are then able to sell them and pass on the savings to their patients. ACCESS wanted to create a pharmacy service line by partici­pating in the 340B program to treat the whole patient – not only providing primary care. It was my job to figure out how the program works and help implement it across 60 clinics; my training manual will be used to train the staff at all the clinics.

On a Wednesday afternoon, an older gentleman walked into the clinic hoping to see his doctor. He didn’t have an appointment and the receptionist told him that the health center was not taking walk-ins because we were implementing a new electronic health records system; he would need to go to the health center a couple blocks away to get seen. He responded by telling the young lady to speak with the doctor and he sat down in the waiting area. The confidence with which he spoke intrigued me because his relationship with the doctor seemed more personal than that of the receptionist; it was almost like he knew the doctor more than the people she worked with on a daily basis. When I took his information down in the waiting room, he started talking about the doctor he wanted to see. She had treated him for over 30 years and always kenw how to find a cure for his illness. He said he had sometimes gotten into arguments with her, but she always knew what was best for him. He genuinely cared for the doctor and got know her through their interactions at the clinic; he spoke of her as if she was an older sister.

Much more than delivering a service, the doctor and patient developed a relationship that continued for many years. When I spoke with the doctor later in the day, she told me how beautiful it is to treat patients; the people really appreciate the work she does and she comes to work every day to serve her patients. I realized that the intellectual capacity and opportunity to pursue a career in medicine is not given to everyone in this world; those fortunate enough to have the intelligence and passion to study should try to make the most our of their talents to help others. For these reasons, I thought about how to use my gifts to improve the quality of life for others through medicine.

Manuel Perez

Manuel Perez helping at a clinic associated with Access Community Health Network

Kaitlyn Golden ‘10

The internship started off with a variety of operational tasks. Some of my projects included:

· Developing and overseeing the end of the school year close-out procedures

· Collecting data from parents’ surveys

· Updating students grades in Excel and in online databases

· Compiling information for a summer program database

· Organizing donated books and creating a library to house them

· Printing and filing summer reading packets

These operational tasks took place primarily over the first four weeks of the internship, then the internship became primarily focused on a teaching component. I had to tutor a student in Algebra II one on one for four weeks, and I also co-taught an Algebra II summer school course to 8 students. The class met for 3 hours Monday-Friday for 6 weeks. In addition to teaching, I was also responsible for planning lessons, gath­ering materials, grading student work, and creating assessments among other things. I really enjoyed the teaching component of this internship since I will be student teaching this fall through the Teacher Prepara­tion Program. I think it was the perfect preparation for my work this fall.

One thing I’ll never forget from this internship is one of our students receiving perfect scores and saying she hadn’t seen grades like that since the 6thgrade. Restoring a child’s confidence is an awesome feeling. I am so glad I had the chance to experience the rewards of teaching because it had gotten me excited about my upcoming semester of student teaching. It has strengthened my desire to pursue a career in education and has shown me how rewarding such a career can be.

Kaitlyn Golden

Kaitlyn Golden teaching an Algebra II class at North Star Academy, Newark, NJ

Former Interns Span the Globe

Henry Barmier ’10, an intern at the Center for Public Integrity (one of the original internships in 1996) in 2007 and Jessica Lanney ’10 an intern at Boston Health Care for the Homeless (an internship developed by Chris Milton) in 2009 were awarded prestigious scholarships for graduate studies in the United Kingdom. Barmeier is at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. As a Marshall Scholar, Lanney plans to pursue two master’s degrees at the London School of Economics.

Barmeier intends to continue his study of issues related to sustainable, locally grown organic food, with goal of devising ways to localize food policy making and incentives to encourage conservation of resources. He was one of 32 American college students who won Rhodes scholarships this year. Lanney will focus on social policy and planning and urban and regional planning studies. She is one of 35 American Marshall Scholars.

Ken Schwartz ’09, an intern with the New York League of Women Voters (an internship formulated by Marion Bott) in 2006 is spending most of his time until January in Haiti working with McKinsey's pro-bono team. The team is working with Prime Minister Bellerive and President Clinton to set up the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission. Ken writes, "The study has been a great experience and I'm hopeful we are doing some good.”

Graham Peigh ’13, has already signed on as an intern for summer 2011 in order to return to Bermuda to continue the curriculum development work that he began in summer 2010 with the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science (an internship brought to the PICS program by Anne and Bill Charrier). He plans to use this year to create more science-heavy experiments for the older campers and to work with the researchers at BIOS to create projects that directly relate to their work. "The past summer [was] one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I've grown as a teacher, leader, and learner, and it's been a real pleasure working with [BIOS] team.”

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