Center for Community Engagement

A deeper sense of community: The Pioneer Valley Citizen Summer program

Pioneer Valley Citizen Summer Interns
September 2013—story by Jenny Morgan. This year's Pioneer Valley Citizen Summer interns.

Spend any amount of time on the Amherst College campus and you’ll likely hear mention of something called ‘the Amherst bubble.’ It’s a ubiquitous term used by students to describe, and often lament, the sense that reality seems to exist only within the confines of the campus perimeters.

Not so for students who’ve participated in the Pioneer Valley Citizen Summer (PVCS) program.

Engaging with complexity

July 2013—story by Jenny Morgan, photo courtesy Samuel A. Masinter '04.

Kate Berry ’12 has never been one to shy away from complex questions.

In fact, Berry’s willingness to engage with complexity is one of the most noticeable qualities of the 23 year old from Woodinville, Washington. In no small way, this willingness has led Berry to exactly where she is today—working full-time for the anti-human trafficking organization, Polaris Project. From a Civic Engagement Scholars internship with Polaris to an honors thesis, Berry has been grappling with the complexities of human trafficking for some time now.

The alchemy of a successful internship

July 2013—Julia
Alexander, the CCE's public service internship coordinator, is bringing reflection and social justice to the heart of the CCE's internship programs. Story by Jenny Morgan, photo by Eugene Lee '16.

As 127 students are immersed in internships across 15 states and 13 countries, public service internship coordinator Julia Alexander is eagerly waiting to learn how these internships might shape their future work or lead to unexpected discoveries. This summer—her first in the position—Alexander is coordinating two internship programs: the Civic Engagement Scholars and Pioneer Valley Citizen Summer.

Alexander knows firsthand that internships can lead to unexpected discoveries.

Then and now: A lasting big brother relationship

Joe and Jack
September 2013—story by Lindsay Ewing ‘15, photos courtesy of Jack Angiolillo ’08

After four years at Amherst College, most students leave campus with an education, enduring friendships, and an inordinate amount of purple clothing. It’s decidedly less common for a recent graduate to leave with a new sibling—but that’s exactly what Jack Angiolillo ’08 did.

Going Public Goes Public

Going Public, an original play by Elias Johansson-Miller ’12, opens Thursday night in Kirby Theater

April 2012—story by Jenny Morgan, photos by Katherine Berry '12

In August of 2010, the Los Angeles Times brought summer vacation to a screeching halt with an unprecedented online publication. The newspaper published names and rankings of some 6,000 public elementary school teachers in a searchable, online database. The ranking tool, called the “value-added analysis,” uses students’ standardized test scores to calculate how much value each teacher adds to, or detracts from, student performance.  Overnight, the story ignited a controversy and sparked a national conversation on teacher performance and standardized testing.


The story also inspired the focus of Elias Johansson-Miller '12’s thesis, Going Public, an original play that explores public education through the real stories of teachers and administrators, including many who were involved in the 2010 Los Angeles teacher-ranking story.

How Learning Happens

Education on Fire
January 2012—story by Jenny Morgan, photo by Katherine Berry '12

First ever TedxPioneerValley 'cracks open' assumptions about education

In December of 1940, Le Chambon-sur-Lignon—a small, agricultural village in southern France— began a rescue mission of heroic proportions.

Bridging years of advocacy and scholarship with life at Amherst: Professor Paola Zamperini brings Tibet to the classroom and beyond

Paola Zamperini
September 2012—Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Civilizations Paola Zamperini has begun, by all measures, an exciting year — and she’ll be the first to tell you that this year has been twenty years in the making.

Educate!’s Eric Glustrom ’07 and Boris Bulayev ’07 win 2011 Grinnell Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize for youth empowerment in Uganda

 Eric Glustrom '07 and Boris Bulayev '07

April 2011—story by Jenny Morgan, photo courtesy of Eric Glustron '07

As a seventeen-year-old high school junior, Eric Glustrom ’07 (pictured left, front row) received his first grant rejection early— and he remembers the story well.