Tell me a little about yourself.
I grew up in Sparta, New Jersey, and attended the College of New Jersey where I majored in Psychology and minored in Marketing. I went on to work in marketing for 10 years, but was itching for something more, so I decided to move to Barcelona, Spain to get my Master’s Degree in International Studies. After completing my classes in Spain, I moved back to Boston to fulfill my internship requirement and finish my thesis. I interned at the International Institute of New England, the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement, and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti.
What are you writing your thesis about?
I am extremely passionate about providing education for immigrants and refugees entering our country. We are experiencing a “brain waste” – people coming into the U.S. who are highly educated, but who don’t have the English language skills necessary to find a career. For my thesis, I’m looking at what cities in the U.S. are doing as compared to other international cities, such as Canada (the gold standard), and assessing what could potentially work in Lowell, MA in terms of an educational support system for immigrants.
What else are you up to?
I’m working full-time at the International Institute of New England, helping refugees and immigrants living in Lowell find employment. I’m hoping to finish my thesis by September 2017, and would eventually like to get my PhD.
How did you first learn about TPC?
When I got back from Spain and was working in Boston, I religiously checked the Boston Network for International Development website for volunteer opportunities, and the Young Philanthropist Conference was listed. I was really interested in learning more, so decided to attend.
What was your favorite thing about the Young Philanthropist Conference?
The conference was amazing. I didn’t realize when I signed up that it was a conference only for women, and that it was hosted by TPC. The room was electric all day. After the event ended, I knew I wanted to learn more about TPC. I had heard the Fellowship mentioned a few times throughout the event, and decided this was a group I had to be a part of, so I applied for a Fellowship and was accepted.
Why did you apply for a Fellowship?
I decided to apply because I left the Young Philanthropist Conference on a total high – and I wanted to feel that way about my volunteer opportunities all the time. I want to have a voice, and I want to be part of a larger community of women that are doing great work to support the local communities in which we live. There is power in numbers, and to me, it’s cathartic to meet people who share the same belief system.
What do you like about being a part of TPC?
I love the overall feeling of being in a community of women – of incredible women doing amazing things. I enjoy seeing the grantees and the people who we support. Now, more than ever, we need to support one another. I like the fact that TPC challenges the norm and turns traditional beliefs on their head.
What committees are you going to get involved in?
I’m definitely going to participate on a Grant Review Team. I have worked in marketing for 10 years and would like to support the Marketing and Communications Committee. I’ve also done event planning, and am passionate about getting more women 35 and under involved, so I’ll also be supporting the Young Philanthropist Initiative.
What are you most looking forward to in 2017?
I’m looking forward to getting more involved in TPC and growing our community of young philanthropists. I feel like I can have a voice at TPC, being surrounded by a group of likeminded women, and that really excites me.
We at TPC say our young philanthropists are “changing the face of philanthropy.” What do you think about that?
I think young philanthropists are evolving the face of philanthropy. Young philanthropists add a new perspective to this important work. We are able to offer different opinions and viewpoints, ones that older generations might not have thought about. The face of the world is changing, so it’s important that the face of philanthropy also evolves so that it represents more of the population.
If you’re interested in learning more about refugee resettlement and how you can help, contact Jennifer at email@example.com.