Alumni Stories

Beyond Prospect Sierra


Rachel Richardson, Poet and Prospect Sierra Alum, talks about lessons learned at Prospect Sierra.

Abigail Falik, In the World with Global Citizen Year

Abigail Falik, Prospect ’91, is the founder and CEO of Global Citizen Year, a non-profit organization that provides training, support and apprenticeships to young adults in communities around the globe during a “bridge year” (commonly known as a year “off” taken between high school and college). Fellows of Global Citizen Year have worked and lived in communities around the world including Senegal and Guatemala since 2008 when the organization was founded.

For Abigail, Prospect was an environment in which she felt encouraged both socially and academically. She remembers the school as being very community oriented, a trait that has been reinforced in her throughout her experiences abroad, and is prevalent within her own organization. Abigail describes Prospect as having a “creative outlook,” which inspired her own self-confidence, though she admits, “I’m still a terrible speller.” She remembers studying Shakespeare, and watching plays in Ashland, as well as her 3rd grade teacher who made everything “engaging, fun,
and interesting.”

Abigail spent a summer living and working in a rural Nicaraguan village when she was 16. “The experience transformed my sense of myself and the world, and I’ve spent the past 13 years trying to answer the question of how to ensure that many more — and more diverse — young Americans have meaningful experiences with global poverty and development, at a younger age. Today, after years of experimentation at the intersection of international development, social enterprise, and education, I believe that the time has come for Global Citizen Year to become a reality for kids from all backgrounds.”

Abigail holds a B.A. and M.Ed. from Stanford University, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. In 2009 Abigail was awarded the Draper Richards Fellowship for her work at Global Citizen Year. She has also a received the Mind Trust Fellowship, and in 2008 she was named a Rainer Arnhold Fellow and a Pop!Tech Social
Innovation Fellow.