George Van Amson Fellowship Breakfast

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George Van Amson Fellowship Breakfast

March 9, 2016

Community Impact (CI) volunteers, staff, and Board members came together On February 26, 2016 to celebrate the work of our six 2015 George Van Amson Service Fellowship interns, all of whom are Columbia/Barnard undergraduates.  Each Fellow secured a summer service learning or social justice service internship with local nonprofits, organizations that would otherwise not be able to offer paid internship opportunities.  They worked full-time for eight weeks and received housing through Barnard College and a $3,000 living stipend from the Fellowship program. (Click here to learn more about the George Van Amson Fellowship.)


At the breakfast, Fellows spoke passionately about their experiences interning over the summer; all of them echoed the need for more services in the community and increased funding for nonprofit work.  Below are highlights of four of the internships:

  • Kristen Gonzalez (CC ’17), interned with the New York Immigration Coalition where she developed a civic engagement program for immigrant students. She shared a photo (see below) of an immigration rights rally in lower Manhattan that she helped organize.
  • Sarika Kumar (BC ’16), was a teaching fellow with Breakthrough New York, an organization that utilizes the “Students Teaching Students” model in order to promote a low-pressure learning environment for middle school students to develop self-confidence and strong peer-to-peer relationships. She spoke personally of the challenges associated with teaching middle schoolers.
  • Nicole Javorsky (BC ’18), interned at Harlem Grown, an organization that operates urban farms and teaches farming, sustainability, and nutrition to at-risk youth in communities with high poverty.  Early in her internship, planning on working to improve the organization’s website and social media outreach, she determined that a bigger impact could be made by working directly with the summer camp participants.  Her focus became teaching the campers how to use technology, specifically working with them to create customized websites and blogs, to share their camp experiences in horticultural areas.
  • Jaipreet Sethi (BC ’18), interned with Sakhi for South Asian Women, an organization dedicated to ending violence against women within the South Asian community.  She helped develop Sakhi’s new Sexual Assault Program and assisted the organization with community outreach and advocacy activities.  She interacted with survivors, helping them develop critical financial skills in support of their struggles to get back on their feet. Her work affected her in ways she had not initially expected and she also came to learn that sexual assault isn’t always gender-specific.


George Van Amson himself closed the event with a heartfelt speech, stating how impressed he was with the Fellows and the impact they made in the community.  He expressed how honored he was that his name will forever be affiliated with so many great young people as they go on to do amazing things in their lives.


Community Impact wishes to thank all who attended and showed their support!

Applications from Columbia University and Barnard College for the summer 2016 George Van Amson Service Fellowship are open through Friday, April 8, 2016. Please click here for more information and to obtain an application.