Joseph McKeen
Center for the Common Good

Amar Patel
Class of 2013

Posted February 13, 2013

From Edison, NJ Amar's first service experience at Bowdoin was on a Community Immersion Pre-Orientation Trip to North Haven Island.  He hasn't looked back.

As a first year and as a sophomore Amar participated as a volunteer on Common Good Day and then as the Assistant Coordinator of the day for the last two years.  Double majoring in Economics and Government & Legal Studies, Amar broadened his public engagement work in the community-based course ECON 211: Poverty and Redistribution.  He continued to explore these topics through a Community Matters in Maine Summer Fellowship with the Maine Center for Economic Policy and then used his experience there to inform his Independent Study in Economics with Prof. John Fitzgerald: Buying Local: An Economic Impact Analysis of Portland, Maine.  Read more about his findings here. 

As a sophomore Amar began working with the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project, a Portland, ME organization that coordinates the volunteer efforts of Maine attorneys and community members to help people of low income navigate the civil justice system.  This Bowdoin Volunteer Corps student group has been traveling to Portland and working with the legal community for over 10 years.  Amar's work with VLP and as a co-leader of this student-led service group over the last two years has focused his interest in law and informed his future plans to attend law school.

Amar's work as a leader for our Community Immersion Pre-Orientation trip in 2011 served to familiarize him with the greater Brunswick community.  As the college expanded Pre-O into Orientation for all First Years, Amar co-lead the McKeen Center's first Wabanaki focused Orientation trip.  The group partnered with the Passamaquoddy Cultural Heritage Museum, clearing the site of a WWII prisoner of war camp and painting the exterior of the museum, and received a weaving lesson from Molly Neptune Parker, renowned Passamaquoddy basket weaver and a 2012 recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship.

Having served on both the grant and the development committees for the Common Good Grant program, this year Amar has stepped into a leadership role serving as a McKeen Fellow co-coordinating this program with fellow senior, Micah Ludwig.

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“Taking academic theory and immediately applying it problems that our communities face is a unique and challenging opportunity. In a community-based economics course, I learned about poverty and the various ways it could be addressed. The following summer, I was able to use those theories and lessons to make my internship experience more meaningful. The synergy between service and education has helped me shape my goals of doing public sector policy work.”