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Two seniors awarded fellowships for yearlong public service projects

By Eric Quinoñes

Princeton NJ -- Two Princeton seniors, Robin Williams and Katie Grim, have been awarded 2004 ReachOut 56 Fellowships, which provide each winner with a $25,000 grant to undertake a yearlong public service project after graduation.

Williams, a Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs major from Greensboro, N.C., will pursue a project that aims to promote the treatment of substance abuse as a health problem rather than a criminal activity. Grim, a religion major from Bordentown, N.J., will manage a program in Newark, N.J., called Studioworks, which is for teenagers who possess a strong interest and demonstrated ability in the arts.

Robin Williams

Robin Williams


ReachOut 56 is an effort by Princeton's class of 1956 to help nonprofit organizations perform valuable public service. More than 100 members of the class have contributed funds to the program, which is involved with a number of other public service activities in addition to granting the fellowships. The first fellowships were awarded in 2002.

Candidates for the ReachOut 56 Fellowships perform their own research to find a suitable public service organization in the United States that will agree in advance to make a position available. The candidate and the organization then work together to devise a significant project or function for the year of the award.

Williams has been involved in a variety of activities in the fields of public health and minority rights while at Princeton and during summer internships. He worked in Ghana as an AIDS educator in the summer of his sophomore year. On campus, he has been a member of the Student Global AIDS Campaign, the Princeton Justice Project, the Student Volunteers Council and Community Action, and has been a moderator with Sustained Dialogue, which provides a forum to discuss race relations on campus.

For his ReachOut 56 project, Williams will prepare seven case studies in different states, using photographs and narratives to depict the personal stories of individuals affected by government drug policies. His goal is to publish the results in book form, with recommendations on how public money can be best used to minimize drug abuse and its consequences. The project will be done in conjunction with the national Drug Policy Alliance.

Katie Grim

Katie Grim

Grim has a broad musical background, ranging from opera to the Princeton Katzenjammers a cappella group. She worked last summer as an intern with the New Jersey affiliate of the national Communities In Schools program, which provides programs for more than 20,000 young people in 30 of the state's poorest districts. With her grant from ReachOut 56, Grim will be the first full-time manager of the affiliate's Studioworks program. Grim plans to establish a workshop series on Saturday mornings during the school year featuring professional vocalists and run a summer program with vocal and choral training and field trips. Students will receive a stipend for participating in the program. Grim also will focus on fund raising for Studioworks.

The projects proposed by Williams and Grim represent the best spirit of the ReachOut 56 program, according to Daniel Gardiner, chair of ReachOut 56, and James Freund, who oversees the fellowship process for the class of 1956. "They are projects in which our fellows will be playing a significant role which could not be undertaken without our funding. And they were proposed by two outstanding seniors, whose past records of achievement in public interest activity while at Princeton are very impressive," Gardiner and Freund wrote in a statement announcing the awards.