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“Traveling around the world working with Tibetan refugees, Romanian orphans, and Dominican street kids combined with my own disadvantaged background, lit a fire of motivation in me.”
PROFILE: Alison Chopel was pushed out of her home in her teens. “My first year in high school, I was living on the streets, and I was the only one of my homeless companions to continue pursuing my education.” After working to support herself and earn her high school degree, Alison took on the world as her classroom. She taught English in a Tibetan refugee settlement in India, and worked with a music therapist at an orphanage in Romania, also assuming caretaking and feeding duties.
Alison curtailed her education for a while after becoming a single mother, but soon found her way back to school and social activism. Having first been inspired at the refugee camp by the need for health education, she is pursuing her interest in international and domestic social work.
INSPIRATION: Alison feared she might never attend college after her son was born. But instead of hindering her academic and career goals, her son became an inspiration to pursue her education even more seriously.
ASPIRATION: Alison hopes to work with US and grassroots international organizations in social health and welfare. She is considering a doctoral program in Public Health .
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Alison has been active in the Coalition Against Sweatshop Apparel, and volunteers at the Pioneer Bilingual Elementary School. She has worked with Niños del Camino, providing services to street children in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
ACCOLADES: As research assistant for a professor of political economy, Alison co-wrote a paper that was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Public Budgeting and Finance. She is the recipient of a Rotary Club Scholarship and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
INTERESTING FACT: At 16, Alison began writing a novel based on her life in the streets. In 2006, Home in Public Places won her the Rocky Mountain Writers Association Award for first novel.
New York University
University of California, Berkeley
University of Chicago
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine