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Last summer, Kathleen Gunn ’04 faced a monumental project: improving childhood literacy. Gunn received a CORPS Fellowship to work with the Robin Hood Foundation, a grant-making organization that supports poverty prevention in New York City through early childhood, education, job training and basic survival programs.
As project manager for Camp Book-a-Week, a summer program that provides reading instruction to help students meet third-grade reading standards, Gunn collaborated with Robin Hood staff and outside experts to develop a curriculum for reading instruction.
“Having taught third grade in the South Bronx for two years, I was familiar with students’ needs and different remedial instruction that could be helpful to meet those needs,” says Gunn. “This experience allowed me to contribute immediately and in a meaningful way to curriculum development and daily scheduling for the program.”
Working at Public School 19 in Corona, Queens, Gunn tracked student and staff progress and coordinated program logistics. She put her management skills to good use, overseeing a nine-person staff and providing structure and guidance to counselors without prior professional work experience.
Gunn analyzed the program’s success and made recommendations for curriculum development, training, staffing, student selection, funding and evaluation metrics. As the program rolls out to other schools, her model will serve as a decision-making tool in analyzing future resource allocation and implementation. “It was satisfying,” Gunn says, “to see a project from start to finish and to have direct contact with the recipients of the program—the children.”
With support from the Columbia Business School community, the CORPS Fellowship subsidizes summer internships in the public and nonprofit sectors.
Many thanks to the class of 2003 for its gift, which will endow five CORPS Fellowship positions.