Ever wonder what Philly Fellows alumni go on to do? In the ‘Alumni Spotlight’ series, we’ll introduce you to our program alumni, their work, and how they benefited from the Philly Fellows program. This post features Shameika Black, who served as the Development and Communications Associate at Philadelphia VIP

Name: Shameika Black

Hometown: Seattle, WA

University: Swarthmore College


How did you decide to become a Philly Fellow?

I decided to become a Philly Fellow because it provided a community of like-minded individuals dedicated to the growth of Philadelphia.

What was your favorite part about being a Philly Fellow?

My favorite part of my Philly Fellows experience was learning about the different neighborhoods, cultures and communities throughout the city.

What were some things you did as a Philly Fellow that prepared you for the things you’re doing now?

I gained direct experience in communications and development that laid the ground work for every job out there. It taught me what it is like to be a working adult and connected to people throughout the Philadelphia non-profit sector.

Do you have any advice to those interested in applying to be a Philly Fellow?

Be passionate! You really do have to care about the city and communities to be successful as a Philly Fellow.

What would you consider your biggest success(es) since Philly Fellows?

Spending a year working and living in Gabon and learning French!

What was the most challenging part of being a Philly Fellow?

Personally, the most challenging part of being a Philly Fellow was the communal living. However, it is an essential skill to be able to co-exist with people and after settling around house work, I gained friends I’ll have for a lifetime.

A huge plus to this program is getting to live & work in Philadelphia’s vibrant communities. What did you like about living in the city? Where did you explore?

Penn’s Landing offers a plethora of free or very inexpensive events throughout the year including concerts in the summer, ice skating in the winter and movie nights throughout the year. There’s always something to do and it provides great date nights!

Are you still in touch with other Philly Fellows (present or alumni)?

I’m very close with a few fellows and keep in touch with a handful of other. We hang out in Philly of course!

What’s your favorite hobby?

Ice skating, language learning, reading, watching crime TV (think Criminal Minds not First 48), and cleaning – really.

What three items would you take with you on a deserted island?

A favorite book, right now that’s Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Bradley, sunscreen (because cancer is real) and my Lyfe Jennings mixtape.

Shameika Black currently works at McMaster-Carr Supply and was a Princeton in Africa Fellow at Olam International.