From the president

As a leadership studies and political science major and Bonner Scholar at the University of Richmond, Anum Merchant is committed to building relationships and creating positive change through policy and direct service. During her first year at the University of Richmond, Anum was an immigration intern at the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP). She valued her work at VICPP so much that she stayed on to intern the following summer. Anum has since pursued opportunities with increasing levels of responsibility. She served as an investigative intern for the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission and a congressional relations staff assistant intern at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars. She is now leveraging her strong research skills as a legislative intern at a Richmond firm, Two Capitols Consulting. And in addition to driving policy change, Anum engages directly with community organizations such as the Scholars Latino Initiative and Girls for a Change.

Kevin Hallock


University of Richmond


Personal Statement

My first exposure to societal inequalities was while visiting my grandparents in India. My mother took my older brother and I to distribute blankets and food to homeless individuals during the cold winter months. This was when I was introduced to the term ‘pay it forward.’ To me, it is a form of service and engagement that is reciprocal in nature, and as I grew older, I found myself going back to this term through each community service initiative I undertook. It stayed with me through working with students from underprivileged communities in rural India on their soft skills or working as an investigation intern at the Public Defender's Office in Richmond, working with the investigator in aiding attorneys to provide the best defense to those who cannot afford their own representatives in court. As an active member of my community, I aim to work with individuals in disadvantaged positions while creating an inclusive and diverse environment. I aspire to continue doing so, even in my years after Richmond. I believe that grassroots efforts always make an impact in community service, and I hope to ‘pay it forward’ on the path of social justice.

Anum Merchant

Leadership Studies and Political Science

University of Richmond