BSC Office of Communications

News from the Hilltop

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2011

Birmingham-Southern College announces 2011 class of Hess Fellows

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Hess Center for Leadership and Service at Birmingham-Southern College has announced its 2011 class of Hess Fellows.

Birmingham-Southern College announces 2011 class of Hess Fellows
The 2011 Hess Fellows are (front row, from left) Danielle Rucker, Alexa Marie Ruiz, Patrick Welch, Jennifer Commander, Lydia Robinson, John-Andrew Young, and Kelsie Overton; (back row, from left) Jeanne Jackson, director of the Leadership Studies Program, Sarah Pittman, David Olsen, Ethan Wilkinson, Crystal Shurett, Katelin Adams, Swaroop Vitta, and James Randolph, AmeriCorps VISTA member.  Not pictured is Brittany Herring.

The 14 rising juniors and seniors at Birmingham-Southern will spend eight weeks this summer working as full-time staff members at some of the nation’s leading advocacy organizations.  They will tackle a broad range of issues, including ending world hunger, improving education, empowering women, eliminating homelessness, and revitalizing downtown Birmingham, as they interact with policymakers and learn the mechanics of advocacy. 

The Hess Fellows Program consists of three phases.  In addition to the summer advocacy internships, Hess Fellows are participating in five pre-internship seminars this spring.  Upon returning to Birmingham-Southern for the 2011 academic year in September, each Fellow will design and implement an advocacy project on campus. 

“The guiding mission of the program is to transform students into advocates for social change, a goal that resonates with the BSC community,” said Jeanne Jackson, director of the college’s Leadership Studies Program.  “Student applications doubled this year, and a record number of agencies requested to host a Hess Fellow from BSC.”

New agencies participating this year include the William J. Clinton Foundation in New York City, GLIDE Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco, the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama in Birmingham, and the Coalition on Human Needs in Washington, D.C.

The 2011 Hess Fellows are:

  • Katelin Adams, a rising senior Spanish major from Anniston, who will work with the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama in Birmingham.
  • Jennifer Commander, a rising senior English and Spanish double major from Auburn, who will work with the William J. Clinton Foundation in New York City.
  • Brittany Herring, a rising junior history major from Helena, who will work with Bread for the World in Washington, D.C.
  • David Olsen, a rising junior business administration major from Madison, who will work with the Alabama Poverty Project in Birmingham.
  • Kelsie Overton, a rising junior religion major from Brentwood, Tenn., who will work with the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C.
  • Sarah Pittman, a rising senior history major from Mobile, who will work with Operation New Birmingham in Birmingham.
  • Lydia Robinson, a rising junior international studies major from Homewood, who will work with Vital Voices Global Partnership in Washington, D.C.
  • Danielle Rucker, a rising junior economics major from Nashville, Tenn., who will work with the YWCA of Central Alabama in Birmingham.
  • Alexa Marie Ruiz, a rising junior business administration major from Elkmont, who will work with the Mobile Area Education Foundation in Mobile. 
  • Crystal Shurett, a rising senior urban environmental studies major from Hoover, who will work with GLIDE Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco.
  • Swaroop Vitta, a rising senior economics major from Hoover, who will work with the National Alliance to End Homelessness in Washington, D.C.
  • Patrick Welch, a rising senior urban environmental studies major from Gadsden, who will work with the Coalition on Human Needs in Washington, D.C.
  • Ethan Wilkinson, a rising junior history major from Tallassee, who will work with the Alabama Civil Justice Foundation in Montgomery.
  • John-Andrew Young, a rising senior political science major from Vestavia Hills, who will work with Collaborative Solutions in Birmingham.

Hess Fellowships are funded by the Joseph S. Bruno Charitable Foundation, the Dixon Foundation, Ronne and Donald Hess, the Independent Presbyterian Church Foundation, and several private donors.

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