Ten Things You Need to Know About Our Strong/Gault Intern: Chamblee Shufflebarger

June 2nd, 2015

1. She’s from Birmingham, AL

I spent my whole life right here in the Magic City. I graduated from Mountain Brook High School in 2014. I can frequently be found at Barons games or on any of the great, local walking or hiking trails around town.

2. She goes to school in Maine

I am rising sophomore at Bowdoin College all the way in Brunswick, Maine which is about 30 minutes North of Portland, Maine. I intend to be an English and Spanish double major and I may also get a minor in education.

3. She’s all about non-profit work

I hope to go into non-profit work after I graduate from college. Growing up in Birmingham and seeing the disparity in education and economic distribution, I have become increasingly interested in working in a field that allows me to combat such inequality.

4. She loves movies

I am constantly watching movies of just about every genre including foreign films and documentaries. I watch just about everything that makes it to a theater or Netflix. My current favorite is this Australian horror film called The Babadook.

5. The only thing she loves more than movies is coffee

My favorite thing about Birmingham is all of the fantastic local coffee shops and I frequent just about all of them. My favorites are Urban Standard and The Abbey. When I can’t make it to a coffee shop, I readily make my own (usually with beans from O’Henry’s). It’s usually quite rare to find me without a cup of coffee.

6. She’s excited to work with us all summer

I found Alabama Possible through all of the work Blueprints does with education in the state. I am very interested in promoting accessibility in the field of education and I really wanted to get involved in the work that Alabama Possible has been doing particularly in that field.

7. She has high hopes for the state of Alabama

I think that a majority of the issues Alabama currently faces are centered on its problems with poverty and education, two issues that are very closely linked. I hope that through the work of organizations like Alabama Possible, the state of the population’s economic and educational state can be radically improved.

8. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd

I have always been a bit of a nerd. I love school, all parts of it, including tests and homework and studying and class. Mainly, I love reading and writing. I think I can credit a great deal of that love to the teachers I have been fortunate enough to have in my career as a student.

9. She wants to make a real difference in her work at Alabama Possible

I hope to do a great deal with my time at Alabama Possible. I have found their work on raising awareness and working with community member to reduce poverty inspiring, and I am so excited to be a part of that work.

10. She’s read The Great Gatsby 15 times

Like I mentioned, I have always been a nerd when it comes to reading and writing. I love Gatsby, not only the story, but I think the writing is incredible. So I have ended up reading it over and over.

 

Meet Our Law & Policy Fellow Lee Gilmer

June 2nd, 2015

Lee graduated from Furman University in 2012 with a degree in history and philosophy and a minor in poverty studies. He currently attends the University of Alabama School of Law and just completed his first year. He was born and raised in Mobile, AL and is glad to be back home after 6 years in South Carolina.

What drew you to Alabama Possible?
As an undergrad, I wanted to find a way to alleviate poverty in the South. Now, I always want to put an asterisk next to “poverty studies” because it is indeed a privilege to study poverty, but I was able to infuse my double majors with a sense of urgency and utility through it. Ultimately, I want to serve the people of Alabama, America’s 6th poorest state, and I want to serve them through legal and social advocacy. Alabama Possible has given me the opportunity to do both.

What legal work and research will you be doing?

I will be assisting Kristina Scott in completing a comprehensive internal assessment and accreditation process through a program called the Standards for Excellence. It’s easy to overlook this sort of unglamorous administrative legal work, but it is absolutely essential for all non-profits and often a critical component of grant funding. I will also be conducting policy research into payday lending in Alabama.

What did you do in between undergraduate and law school?

I spent two years in Greenville, SC competing for a post-collegiate professional track team. I was the slow poke with a bunch of Olympic Trials finalists doing my best to break four minutes in the mile. Though I didn’t quite hit that goal, I came really close and had some incredible athletic experiences with some of the best runners in America along the way.

I also spent one of those years working as a clerk for South Carolina Legal Services. It’s remarkable but unsurprising how many legal issues are solely attributable to poverty. I was very grateful for the chance to directly assist those in dire need of help and watch as our work immediately improved their lives.

What do you hope to do after law school?

I’m very interested in labor and employment law and will be working as an intern with the National Labor Relations Board during the second half of the summer. I hope to explore a variety of options in that field. I also plan to remain very active in non-profit work and poverty advocacy, specifically through groups dedicated to impact litigation. I want to sidestep lobbying and aim straight for the courthouse.

What’s the best part about living in Birmingham?

The people. This city is becoming truly diverse and vibrant, and I’m glad to be a part of it this summer. That said, the boom often masks the bust—far too many of our neighbors are struggling, and I would like nothing more than to see this city include all of its residents in the economic growth.

Montevallo High School, Alabama Possible to Host College Signing Day Celebration

April 30th, 2015

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On Thursday, April 30 at 8:30 a.m., the senior class of Montevallo High School (980 Oak Street) will announce what colleges and universities they will attend.

During the ceremony, school officials will recognize 42 seniors who will attend 18 different colleges and one student who is joining the United States Marine Corps. The senior class, who will wear t-shirts from their college of choice, will be recognized during a school assembly attended by their families, Montevallo Mayor Hollie Cost and representatives from Alabama Possible, the University of Montevallo and Jefferson State Community College.

“These students committed to attend college so that they can compete for today’s high wage, high skill jobs,” said Kristina Scott, executive director of Alabama Possible.  “Our state is no stranger to recognizing the accomplishments of talented athletes. With College Signing Day, we aim to show that academic excellence is just as worthy of celebrating.”

Many of the graduating seniors are participants in Alabama Possible’s Blueprints College Access Initiative. Blueprints connects high school students and their families with helpful resources and relationships so they are equipped to graduate from high school college and career-ready.

Currently, only 33 percent of Alabama’s working-age adults have a two- or four-year degree, but by 2020 a majority of Alabama jobs will require a postsecondary degree or certificate.

As part of this process, the Blueprints initiative teams high school students up with college student mentors to navigate the college admissions process and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, which is required to pursue student loans, grants and other scholarship opportunities.