University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.A. in Public Policy, 2004
: Anchorage Legal Services Corporation, Anchorage, AK
Erin Durkin has spent the last few years working at community development non-profits. Her first experience in the field began at Isles, Inc. in Trenton, NJ, where she learned that an integral part of successful community development is the promotion of self-reliance and empowerment. That experience brought her to the Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC) in Brooklyn. There, she managed the Single Stop program, which provides public benefits application assistance and advocacy, legal and financial counseling, and free tax preparation to over 500 participants annually. By working with participants across FAC programming, she was fortunate enough to gain an understanding and interest in advocating for workforce development, affordable housing, and consumer protection. Erin decided to pursue a joint degree combining a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School with an M.A. in Urban Planning from Hunter College's Graduate Program in the Department of Urban Planning. Her hope is to promote smart and community-focused economic development with a concentration on ensuring the financial viability and opportunities of local residents. This summer, as a Sparer Fellow, she will work at the Anchorage office of Alaska Legal Services Corporation, which provides free legal services to low-income residents.