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Seniors earn ReachOut 56 grants for service projects

By Eric Quiñones

Photo of: Mallika Ahluwalia



Photo of: Rebeca Gamez


Princeton NJ -- Seniors Mallika Ahluwalia and Rebeca Gamez have been awarded 2005 ReachOut 56 Fellowships, which provide the winners with a $25,000 grant to undertake a yearlong public service project after graduation.

Ahluwalia, who is from New Delhi, India, will work with Catalyst Chicago, a monthly newsmagazine, to analyze and support improvement efforts in Chicago’s public schools. Gamez, who is from Flemington, N.J., will use her fellowship to work with a New York-based nonprofit group to organize English-language classes for Latino day laborers and help them better understand their legal rights. Both students are majoring in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

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.

For her ReachOut 56 project, Ahluwalia will work on producing the prototype of an annual report card on certain aspects of Chicago’s public school system to document progress being made by schools, students, communities and the school district. The report is intended to reach beyond the Catalyst Chicago readership to the broader educational community.

Ahluwalia, who also is a candidate for a certificate in African studies, has served as president of Princeton’s Consortium of International Student Organizations and co-chair of the University’s International Festival. She also has participated in the International Students Association, Student Volunteers Council, Princeton South Asian Theatrics and the tennis club. Earlier this year she won an undergraduate paper competition sponsored by the Association for Professional and Practical Ethics.

For her ReachOut project, Gamez will work with New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), a nonprofit organization that serves new immigrant communities of various cultures. In addition to organizing language classes and educating immigrants on legal issues, Gamez will develop policy recommendations regarding Latino immigrants and establish working relationships with New York businesses, city officials and community advocates.

At Princeton, Gamez has helped develop English-language classes for Spanish-speaking University employees and organized a conference on workers’ rights for Latino Heritage Month. She is a member of the Princeton Justice Project, Chicano Caucus and Acción Puertorriqueña student organizations. She also spent a semester abroad studying at the University of Chile and has worked on public service and education projects in Bolivia and Mexico.