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Current Scholars

Alex Bogdon

Class of: 2016
Hometown: Orlando, FL
School: College of Arts and Science
Major(s): Political Science, History

Alex has a passion for community involvement and public service, and is honored to further these passions with the help of the Ingram family and Ingram Scholarship Program. Alex has a fascination with government and the opportunity it provides to serve people everyday. Inspired by both his parents, and mentors from Orlando City Government, Alex believes that effective and efficient government can not only improve a community, but also inspire and empower its citizens to do great things.

Alex's experiences as a volunteer at Orlando City Hall fueled his desire to work in government and inspired him to create a youth civics education program for middle and high school students from disadvantaged communities. During his senior year of high school he conceptualized, organized and implemented the program "Give Kids the Key - Orlando," bringing 37 students to City Hall to learn about the roles of the mayor and council members, and explore various City departments. During the one-day event, students participated in engaging, hands-on activities including mock-city council meetings, community service brainstorming, designing a city park and touring City Hall. Alex encouraged students to become involved in service and become leaders in their own neighborhoods.

For the past two years, Alex has lead a group fellow Vanderbilt students and Ingram Scholars, tutoring high school students in ACT prep and mentoring them through the college application process. Thanks to tremendous support from Nashville’s Oasis Center and their College Connection Program, Alex and his colleagues have developed a sustainable, high quality ACT tutoring program, open to all students at no cost.

In the summer of 2013 Alex served as an intern for Florida Senator Bill Nelson in the Orlando headquarters. Alex assisted Florida constituents in solving various issues with the Federal Government, from immigration to healthcare to military issues. Alex also conducted grant research and consulted for organizations and municipalities seeking Federal funding for their projects. From this experience Alex learned that legislation is not the only way Senators serve their state, and was inspired by the dedication of congressional staff to serving their constituents.

During his sophomore year, Alex also began working with the Tennessee Youth Courts Program, a restorative court program, which aims to prevent and intervene in juvenile delinquency, and provide an opportunity for high school students interested in law, to gain hands-on experience in the field. Throughout the year, Alex helped lead training sessions for youth court volunteers, assisted in fundraising and outreach efforts through the Tennessee Bar Association, and acted as an advisor to students during Youth Court Trials. Alex plans to continue working with this program next year, particularly in developing the new Youth Courts established in Middle Tennessee this past year.

This summer, Alex worked with the University of Florida Oyster Recovery Team (UFORT) in Apalachicola, Florida, addressing the collapse of the Apalachicola Bay’s oyster population and its impact on the surrounding community as a part of his Ingram Summer Project. This project involved interviewing community members and members of the UFORT to determine the best practices of recovery efforts so far, in an attempt to improve UFORT and the community’s resiliency efforts. Alex also worked with UFORT and local seafood workers to help develop a sustainable, community based management plan for the Bay’s oyster resource. Alex plans to continue assisting UFORT and Apalachicola’s seafood workers as their work in the community progresses in the coming year.