Carter Gale, a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, has demonstrated exceptional strength of character, leadership, and a deep determination to improve Penn's local West Philadelphia community. Carter has served as a college access and career readiness mentor for 3 years, working closely with high school students in an effort to improve educational attainment and access to post-secondary education. In summer 2017, Carter participated in the Netter Center for Community Partnerships' Penn Program for Public Service (PPPS) summer internship, during which he engaged K-12 West Philadelphia students in sports, fitness, and health-related activities. Additionally, he researched the issue of litter surrounding school recreational areas and proposed the creation of a sustainable model that would collaborate with and deeply engage the students of that school, empowering them to become agents of change in their local community. He has continued to inspire the youth with whom he works, as well as his peers at Penn, as a passionate advocate of civic and community engagement. Carter has shown a serious and sustained commitment to improving both the Penn community and Philadelphia community at large through his impressive work on educational access and inequality, university-community partnerships, and undergraduate engagement in West Philadelphia schools.
As a youth, I derived joy and satisfaction from community service through participating in organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America. But my passion for producing meaningful change in communities emerged while in university. By participating in the University of Pennsylvania's Netter Center and at the High School of the Future, I developed a deep interest in education and in the fundamental role of schools in transforming their neighborhoods and their students. At Netter I was with GEAR UP, a program focused on mentoring students and creating a college positive attitude, and with an evaluation team where I spearheaded a project focused on evaluating college access and career readiness. In addition, my work in West Philadelphia focused my attention on the inequities within the system of education, and how this is the area where I believe I can make the most meaningful impact for good. Specifically, I want to work on projects that seek to holistically improve underserved schools and create an environment where any student can succeed regardless of where they live.