Throughout her freshman year at Vanderbilt, Bridget nurtured an interest in education reform that followed her from her high school years. Early on, she volunteered as a tutor alongside several Ingram Scholar peers at various schools and organizations. At the end of her first semester, she was asked to take on a leadership role with The Afterschool Program (TAP), a tutoring/mentoring program in North Nashville. Bridget delighted in accepting the position, and in the work that followed. She served as a program coordinator for spring and fall 2013, and was also a part of the summer 2013 staff as an elementary math instructor and co-director. From working hands on with the students to more behind the scenes with volunteer recruitment and organizational development, Bridget’s experience at TAP was invaluable. Not only did she learn and apply new skills related to working with children and managing organizations, but also she grew in her understanding of the hard realities of social change, and how she wants to be a part of it.
Moreover, with the generosity and technical support of the Ingram Scholarship Program, Bridget spent the summer 2014 working with the United Way of the Midlands in her hometown, Omaha, NE. She worked on the Omaha Data Collaborative team and helped to architect a community-wide data-sharing system for out-of-school time providers. She helped agencies construct a shared theory of change and helped develop measurement tools according to those agencies’ identified outcomes. Bridget deeply enjoyed her work at the United Way. It built on her prior experience working in more direct service with out-of-school time programs, and it inspired in her a unique interest in evaluation -- in its technical processes and in its power to help us do community work in the most effective, efficient, and collaborative ways.
Bridget took this interest in evaluation back to Nashville in the fall 2014 where she began work with Vanderbilt’s Office of Active Citizenship and Service (OACS) as a member of the Student Advisory Board and with Metro Nashville’s United Way as a member of a Volunteer Review Team. As a member of the OACS Student Advisory Board, Bridget was an advocate for better evaluation regarding the community impact of service programs at Vanderbilt. Meanwhile, as a member of a United Way Review Team, she conducted grant reviews for local agencies’ -- evaluating their progress towards identified goals and outcomes -- and then helped make funding decisions. In February 2015, thanks to the generosity of the Ingram Scholarship Program, Bridget was able to attend the University of Minnesota’s Evaluation Studies Spring Training where she was able to learn from leaders in the field. Overall, Bridget was glad to have had the opportunity to continue learning about and working in the field of program evaluation in her junior year.
Inspired by her Ingram mentor, Peachy Myers, and alongside fellow Ingram scholar, Alex Bogdon, Bridget spent the summer 2015 working in Des Moines, Iowa on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Bridget was an integral part of optimizing the digital organizing program for the entire campaign, working specifically on digital analytics and storytelling.
Furthermore, Bridget is excited about the busy senior year to come. She will be studying abroad at the University College of Dublin in the fall and completing an internship in the spring. Ultimately, Bridget has been fortunate to do and learn many things in her time at Vanderbilt, but none of it would have been possible without the Ingram Scholarship Program. She is eternally grateful for the profound lessons the Ingram Scholarship Program has taught her about the world and about herself; and for the support they have and will continue to extend in her life at Vanderbilt and beyond.