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Project Tiger Futures supports pandemic classes ’20 and ’21 in their transitions to work

Having graduated into the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, Princeton’s classes of 2020 and 2021 are getting the chance to explore meaningful service and professional opportunities through Project Tiger Futures.

With significant financial support from the University, new alumni are taking advantage of Project Tiger Futures’ customized work, research and service experiences, providing them with skills and knowledge as they navigate the current employment landscape and pinpoint their near-term career goals.

“Knowing that the last 18 months of pandemic constraints have limited many students’ opportunities, we were delighted to offer resources to help the Great Classes of 2020 and 2021 start the next chapter of their lives on a strong foundation,” said Dean of the College Jill Dolan. “This truly unprecedented effort provided recent graduates who had not yet secured fall employment with personalized advising and the opportunity to apply for several new programs devised by our staff with support from the provost.”

Project Tiger Futures offers employment for recent alumni through three programs:

• The University Administrative Internships (UAI) offer marketable growth opportunities at Princeton University to new graduates who are interested in gaining experience in higher education administration. Year-long, paid positions are currently offered in Athletics, the Center for Career Development, the Council on Science and Technology, the Emma Bloomberg Center, the John H. Pace ’39 Center for Civic Engagement, the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students, Outdoor Action and the Office of Sustainability, the Office of Undergraduate Research, the Office of Wintersession and Campus Engagement, and University Health Services and Health Professions Advising.

• “Design Your Own” service fellowship recipients work with nonprofit organizations worldwide while advancing causes from the arts to the environment to wellbeing. Princeton advisers helped fellows develop three- to nine-month paid employment opportunities with a variety of organizations, so they can gain work skills and subject knowledge while serving individuals and communities.

• Placements through AlumniCorpsProject 55 Fellowship program allow new graduates to work with nonprofit partners in the Princeton AlumniCorps network. Fellows participate in all aspects of the program, including mentoring, coaching, leadership development and social justice learning. Partner organizations include HomeWorks in Trenton, New Jersey; the National Dance Institute in New York City; and Compass, an organization that connects business professionals with nonprofits in Washington, D.C. A placement also was made through Princeton in Asia with the Siam Society in Bangkok, Thailand.

To date, 44 recent alumni are employed through Project Tiger Futures. Nine work at Princeton through UAI, 28 students have created their own service fellowships, and five have been placed with nonprofits through AlumniCorps’ Project 55.

“It has been fantastic to see the depth and variety of opportunities that our most recent alumni had available to them through the Project Tiger Futures programs,” said W. Rochelle Calhoun, vice president for campus life. “I’ve been truly inspired by the ways that our alumni have used these opportunities to work in and support communities that have been hard hit by the pandemic.”  

Project Tiger Futures is organized by the Office of the Dean of the College and the Office of Vice President for Campus Life, with funding provided by the Office of the Provost, the Pace Center, and the Office of International Programs.

As many of these positions can be customized, some Project Tiger Futures beneficiaries are crafting unique opportunities in their chosen fields.

Kailie McGeoy, who graduated in 2021 with a concentration in psychology and certificates in environmental studies and entrepreneurship, already has co-produced an international webinar with more than 1,000 attendees and created multimedia marketing materials for Hybrid Social Solutions, a social organization dedicated to eradicating energy poverty in the Philippines.

Moving forward, her job responsibilities include a rebranding for the organization, including a website remodel, and the implementation of impact databases.

“My experience with Hybrid is a wonderful foundation for my future career plans, as I am looking to pursue a career in the impact/advocacy space (particularly environmental) through creative design and media,” McGeoy said. “The greatest benefit of this fellowship, however, has been seeing how the power of community coupled with technological innovation has uplifted marginalized communities. I have become familiar with the way that social enterprises operate and been exposed to different branches within our organization from sales to program innovation.”

Like many other beneficiaries of Project Tiger Futures, McGeoy worked closely with a Princeton adviser and other mentors to develop, tailor and land her work opportunity. The active participation of a large group of advisers from Princeton’s supporting offices, departments and centers has been critical to Project Tiger Futures’ success.

Many of the Project Tiger Futures jobs have a service element, which is a central part of the Princeton student experience and an important part of what gives students’ lives and careers meaning beyond Princeton, said Kimberly de los Santos, the John C. Bogle ’51 and Burton G. Malkiel *64 Executive Director of the Pace Center.

“During the pandemic, students’ lives and studies have been interrupted, but we also know communities have been disrupted and that nonprofit organizations and civic institutions are being asked to meet greater demands,” she said. “So the DYO fellowships are an opportunity to support students as well as communities.”

In the past year, seniors and recent alumni who might have immersed themselves in communities didn’t get the chance to do so by volunteering in Princeton or Trenton, or by taking internships in other cities, or exploring the world, de los Santos said. “These fellowships offer students that chance,” she said. “We also hope they further the commitment of these young alumni to respond to the needs of the world.”

McGeoy designed her fellowship based on her original plan to join Hybrid Social Solutions as part of Princeton's International Internship Program, which was canceled in summer 2020.

Tamupuwa Kamba, who graduated with a degree in ecology and evolutionary biology in 2021, created a fellowship with the Greater Houston location of Easterseals, a nonprofit that works with disabled, autistic and neurodiverse youth, adults, veterans, and their families and caregivers.

Kamba said he hopes to use the opportunity to gain insight into and experience working with neurodiverse and disabled people. He will work in the organization’s Transition program, which offers services to youth with disabilities in their transition from school into the workplace.

“The plan for my project is to launch a creative writing enrichment program alongside the Transition program,” Kamba said. “Being neurodiverse myself, I want to use this opportunity to share some of the things that have helped me transition into adulthood, and I want to offer encouragement to youth and adults so that they can get the most out of life.”

In addition to Project Tiger Futures, Princeton has supported graduates of the pandemic classes primarily through its Center for Career Development.

At the onset of the pandemic, Career Development moved its offerings online so seniors and recent graduates could continue to access one-on-one advising, programs and recruiting opportunities.

Career Development also oversaw a variety of initiatives for the pandemic classes enlisting Princeton alumni, who created or shared virtual internship and job opportunities at their organizations, developed remote projects, and connected with job seekers online individually or in small group conversations on a variety of career-related topics. The center continues to serve recent graduates.