Ben Harmon (SaveFirst Coordinator, 2010-11) has completed a Master in Public Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, Ben spent the majority of his time representing low-income tenants facing eviction in Boston Housing Court. Additionally, he spent his summers exploring various career paths: line-level public defense in Charlotte, North Carolina; appellate indigent defense in Montgomery, Alabama; policy and legal work for the Governor’s budget team in Massachusetts; and private law in Atlanta, Georgia. This Fall, Ben will return to Alabama where he will be working as a Legal Fellow at Equal Justice Iniative, a nonprofit organization in Montgomery that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system.
Carolyn Kerchof (Corps Member, 2010-11) moved to Germany for twelve months on a Fulbright grant. After completing her Fulbright in September 2012, she moved to Zurich to study design and visual communication at the Zurich University of the Arts. In 2013, she was a parliamentary fellow at the Deutschen Bundestag, where she worked for a member of the Bundestag (Dr. Maria Flachsbarth, CDU) and researched public information campaigns at the Humboldt University. She is currently earning a Master’s degree at the Zurich University of the Arts, where she also works as a representative of the student body to the university administration and the Swiss student association. She is the creator of the project Senior Media Collective, a media organization where the content is written and designed by residents of assisted living facilities in Zurich.
Ynhi Thai (Corps Member, 2010-11) obtained a M.Sc. in Medical Anthropology from Oxford University and was then selected for the prestigious Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs. She started medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine in Fall 2013, where she was selected for the Dean’s Primary Care Scholars Program. She was recently awarded the Koopman Medical Student Research Excellence Award by UAB’s Department of Medicine as well as the national Arnold P. Gold Foundation Student Research Fellowship for her summer research project on obesity within the Latino community in Albertville, AL. Watch Ynhi’s TEDxBirmingham Talk, “Turn Your Assumptions into Empathy,” about the assumptions made about the poorest and most marginalized in society, and how they limit the opportunities given to these individuals.
After working at Impact, Caroline attended Georgetown University and received an MA in English with a concentration in film/Southern documentaries. While at Georgetown, Caroline also worked with the university’s Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship. After receiving her degree in 2011, she started working at her alma mater, Samford University, where she now serves as the Associate Director for the University Fellows program, through which she also teaches an undergraduate course on Virtues. She is currently working with the Fellows Director and Mann Center for Ethics to create and manage a service honors program called Micah Fellows. Since moving back to Birmingham, Caroline has been on the advisory board for the Trinity Commons, the Episcopal Campus Ministry for the universities in Birmingham, as well as with SAFE (Students, Alumni, and Faculty for Equality) Samford since returning in her current position. She is also involved with OneRoof Birmingham, and participated in Project Homeless Connect. “We have to be aware of the society in which we are and try to make it better — by actively working within it, but also by making ourselves better. This is something Impact instilled in me,” says Caroline. “I think we often talk of service as a part of one’s life, but really it becomes integral in every aspect of living a good life.”
After serving with Impact, Nikita Maladkar (FocusFirst Coordinator, 2012-2013) completed a dual-degree program and received her Master’s in Business Administration and Master’s of Science in Health Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Upon graduation, Nikita accepted a position with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chicago, where she works as a healthcare consultant. “Impact prepared me for graduate school and developed my knowledge of how organizations involved with health care work,” says Nikita. She is excited to help different players navigate through the ever-changing landscape of healthcare, and looks forward to working additionally with PricewaterhouseCooper’s financial education programs in Chicago.
After working at Impact, Miguel worked at Forbes for four years as a Home Page Editor and eBooks Editor, helping to grow its audience and shape its editorial vision. While in New York, Miguel worked with New York Cares, volunteering each tax season as a VITA tax preparer for low-income families in the Bronx and Brooklyn, which I have Impact to thank for. “Impact was formative in showing me at a macro and micro level all the good that the Earned Income Tax Credit does in conjunction with free tax preparation,” Miguel says. Right now, he is focusing on his writing and putting together a portfolio of work to submit to MFA programs in fiction this fall. When asked about how Impact offers preparation for the future, Miguel says it provides an outlet to work within underserved communities to affect meaningful change.