By Kate Helm
Change isn’t easy, but Kyle Doran ’08 welcomes it. Doran has used his education every step of the way to develop as a community organizer, one who not only implements change but teaches others to do the same to help their communities.
Pursuing a master’s of public administration at Maxwell School of Syracuse University, Doran plans to work on social and policy development and analysis at the federal level when he completes his degree next year.
“I’m interested in how a community can come together to increase everyone’s quality of life,” he says. “Public administration embodies the inherent tension of our democracy: ensuring public involvement while maintaining policy expertise. When these two elements harmonize, it’s possible to create lasting policy solutions, a holy grail that motivates me.”
Doran saw the ripple effect community organizing can bring as a Peace Corps volunteer in Vaghashen, Armenia, from May 2009 through August 2011.
Read more at Doran’s blog
View Doran (go to 6 minutes, 40 seconds) in the Peace Corps 50th Anniversary video
In addition to teaching students in seventh to eleventh grades, Doran helped coordinate an environmental leadership camp for students from villages across the country. One student named Abraham demonstrated community organizing skills of his own, earning an invitation to volunteer at another camp as a student counselor.
“He adeptly led the other students in environmental education and community service projects. What happened after that is where I saw real difference,” says Doran. “Back in Vaghashen, Abraham didn’t stop working. He organized more water quality tests and coordinated a regional community service project. Seeing him take the reins and slip into the role of educator and advocator—at the age of 14 nonetheless—gave me hope that my work is sustainable.”
An English and government & law graduate, Doran credits Lafayette’s interdisciplinary blend of academics and extracurricular options with helping him discover his passion for advocacy. He gained experience as fitness assistant in Kirby Sports Center, philanthropy chair of Delta Upsilon fraternity, resident adviser, member of Lafayette Activities Forum, and pole vault competitor on the track and field team.
“The rigors of a Lafayette education and its corresponding exposure to diverse viewpoints were instrumental in preparing me for the Maxwell School,” he says. “I was encouraged to take intellectual chances in all my courses. The ability to participate in all levels in groups of every kind was crucial in learning the basics of advocacy. With this social education combined with the theory I was taught in the classroom, I felt I had a strong basis from which to start my professional pursuits. Lafayette was practical and theoretical at the same time.
“The lesson to take chances is applicable every day.”
Spoken like a true community organizer.