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 three years, Alex has lead a group of 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.
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 continued working with this program during the fall of 2014—developing the new Youth Courts that were established in Middle Tennessee in the spring.
In the summer of 2014, 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.
This summer Alex worked as a fellow on the Hillary Clinton campaign in Des Moines Iowa. Alex worked directly with Iowans in a community organizing capacity—discussing the political issues they care about, and empowering them to be effective leaders of the change they want to see in our country and its political system. This work involved meeting with Iowans in their homes, working with them to organize campaign events, and reaching out to non-traditional supporters who have felt alienated from the democratic process in the past. This work was a fulfilling combination of Alex’s academic and community engagement experiences—and he hopes to use some of the organizing skills he learned to be a more effective service leader in the coming year and beyond.