From the Web site of the AmeriCorps Alums
The Eli J. Segal Entrepreneurship Award is intended to recognize the exceptional impact of one AmeriCorps alum whose entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to embody service beyond his or her term with AmeriCorps is self-evident. Along with the recognition among peers at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the award entails a valuable cash prize of $5,000. Click here to learn more about the award.
Anita Yip is the Assistant Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at her alma mater Wellesley College. For the past two years, she served at Big Sister Association of Greater Boston and Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston as part of the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship (AmeriCorps). Anita holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Media Arts and Sciences from Wellesley College and a master’s degree in Corporate and Organizational Communication from Northeastern University.
Anita currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Friday Night Supper Program, a Boston Cares project leader, a Presidential Service Award recipient, and on the Advisory Board Fundraising Committee of the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship.Ryan Sarafolean '12
Ryan Sarafolean is a community organizer, educator, and proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he studied issues of privilege, power, and identity in and outside of the classroom. For four years he worked at an after school program that served the at-risk and homeless community in Madison and implemented a structured, educational program focused around youth empowerment. Upon graduation, Ryan became an Americorps Promise Fellow with Project SUCCESS, a nonprofit organization in Minneapolis. There, Ryan worked as the Civic Engagement Coordinator, working with middle school and high school youth to address local issues including gun violence.
Ryan now serves as the Founder and Executive Director of the KGSA Foundation, a nonprofit organization that reduces poverty and gender inequalities in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya. KGSA Foundation works closely with local leaders in Kibera to provide free secondary education, artistic programming, and athletic opportunities to over 130 young women each year. The core of the Foundation’s work is to build and harness the unique strength of women to lead their communities out of poverty.
Ryan just began a graduate program in International Development at American University in Washington, D.C., where he is focusing on Gender Studies and Community Development.
Each season, Arianne & Elliott teach 10 part-time apprentices and host hundreds of service learners eager to get their hands dirty. They regularly invite volunteers and community members to the farm to FEAST on the good ideas and food that Hope Grows: pasture-raised poultry, eggs, and pork. Their annual Egg Hunt and Pig Roast is THE go-to event in Sylvania, Georgia and is a testament to their work to rebuild local agriculture and rural life.
Shawn Rubin '09
Shawn Rubin is the 2009 recipient of the AmeriCorps Eli J. Segal Entrepreneurship Award. Shawn is co-founder and President of Longitude (golongitude.org), an organization that was created to empower leaders of grassroots educational human rights initiatives in developing countries. He started Longitude after an 18-month sabbatical volunteering with schools and small NGOs across the world. Shawn received his Master's in Elementary Education from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, before going on to help found the Highlander Charter School in 2000. Shawn was a member of the AmeriCorps Campus Compact program from 2002–2003, where he learned valuable skills around bringing service learning into his classroom. Currently, he lives in Providence, RI, where he manages Longitude’s growing staff and volunteer network around the world. Shawn also works as a kindergarten teacher at the Highlander Charter School in Providence. He is married to Longitude co-founder Laura Westberg, and has a son named Asher.
Rhonda Ulmer '08
Rhonda was determined to keep her vision, passion, and entrepreneurial spirit alive while leaving “No Parent Behind.” She applied for the AmeriCorps Alum Eli J. Segal Entrepreneurship Award and was selected as the 2008 recipient. The AmeriCorps Alum Eli J. Segal Award afforded her the opportunity to share the Van Bokkelen Elementary School success story across the country. In addition, it allowed the Van Bokkelen Family Network to expand into University for Parents, whose mission is to provide educational resources and parent/family classes in Anne Arundel County, MD, and beyond. The goal is to train parent leaders to become parent educators in their communities. As part of the award, Rhonda received the honor of becoming a member of the Segal Fellows Network. She expects that being a Fellow will help her to continue her lifetime of service and serve with other emerging leaders to gain knowledge, skills, and resources that will make it possible for her to turn her ideas into realities. What better way is there to honor the Eli J. Segal legacy?
Chris Myers Asch '07, Founder of the U.S. Public Service Academy
A native of Washington, D.C., Chris Myers Asch is a graduate of Duke University, with a Ph.D. in American History from the University of North Carolina. He taught elementary and middle school for three years in Sunflower, Mississippi, as part of Teach for America/AmeriCorps, and one year in Taejon, South Korea, with the William J. Fulbright program. He co-founded the Sunflower County Freedom Project in 1998 and served as Executive Director until launching the U.S. Public Service Academy in 2006. A national finalist for the Advocacy Institute's Leadership for a Changing World Award 2003, he won the 2007 Eli Segal Award from AmeriCorps Alums and became a 2007 Echoing Green Fellow. His first book, The Senator and the Sharecropper: The Freedom Struggles of James O. Eastland and Fannie Lou Hamer was released in May 2008. Asch is married to Erica Seager, and the couple has one daughter.
Vernell Robinson '07
David Breihan '06
Diana Epstein '06
Diana grew up in Los Angeles, majored in applied math-biology at Brown University, and then joined AmeriCorps NCCC at the Charleston campus. She served for a year in National Civilian Community Corps as a Corps Member and then another year as a Team Leader. After two years of national service she earned an MPP at UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy and did an internship at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). Following her master's degree she entered the RAND graduate school as a doctoral fellow, which allowed her to work on public policy research projects at RAND while earning her Ph.D. Her RAND project work was primarily in education policy and her dissertation looked at the long-term impacts of AmeriCorps service on participants. She moved out to Boston in the fall of 2009 and began working at Abt Associates, a policy research and consulting firm. Currently, she is working on a variety of research projects and program evaluations in social and economic policy, including a number of different studies for CNCS and in education and labor. Outside of work Diana is actively involved with AmeriCorps Alums, serving on the national leadership council, marching in the inaugural parade, and now serving on the board of the Boston alumni chapter.
Peter Murray '02, President of the Center for Progressive Leadership
Peter Murray is the founder of the Center for Progressive Leadership (CPL), the nation’s largest progressive political training institute. Since 2003, CPL has provided comprehensive training, coaching, and mentorship to over 6,000 progressive political and policy leaders across the country. Prior to joining CPL, Mr. Murray was the President and founder of the Empowerment Group, Philadelphia’s largest minority and bilingual entrepreneurship training organization. Mr. Murray was also co-founder and Executive Vice-President of the I Do Foundation, a national social justice foundation, and CEO of Image Contractors, a community-based construction company in Philadelphia. For his leadership in the nonprofit sector, he received the Eli Segal Entrepreneurship Award in 2002 and the Eugene Lang Community Service Award in 1999, and was selected for Fast Company Magazine’s 2002 “Fast 50,” which honors 50 leaders from around the world who are reshaping their sectors.