Kara Gerson

What was your class year and major/minor?

2004; double major, French and Government

What is your current job, and city of residence?

Executive Director of Voss Foundation, New York City

Did your academic or extracurricular experience at Bowdoin influence how you are involved in communities now? If yes, how so?

Yes. Wonderful professors, challenging courses, non-traditional class formats, and porous classrooms encouraged me to think about and participate in communities global and local. I continue to be surprised by how my undergraduate classes and assignments informed and equipped me for actual experiences I have had in ways I never could have imagined.

In what ways have you been engaged with the community since graduating from Bowdoin (both professionally and personally)?

Professionally, I have worked at Voss Foundation and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation; I also consider my journalism work at The Economist and The Hill to have been community-related as well! Personally, I currently serve on the Board of Directors of The Wassaic Project, The Babies Heart Fund at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, and InnovateEDU; and on several committees at The Spence School. In the past, I have served on committees at The Central Park Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Society, The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and The Frick Collection.

What's been your favorite or most meaningful experience in public service since you graduated?

That's a very hard question to answer, since helping people and making the world a better place is almost always meaningful, from breaking a political news story, to meeting doctors whose research you've helped fund and the people whose lives they've saved as a result. However, some of the more unusual and thrilling experiences have been on my travels all over Sub-Saharan Africa with Voss Foundation to provide access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene as a means to enable community-driven development.

Have any unexpected challenges or difficulties related to this work popped up along the way? If so, what did you learn from these challenges?

Anything worth doing is going to be challenging at times.

What advice do you have for students who want to work for the common good after Bowdoin?

Do it!