Jackie Gannon is an alumnus of Western New England University with a degree in Biology. She believes this provides a rational approach to her work and compliments well working with underrepresented communities. She has been an active volunteer of a Rhode Island food pantry for 15 years, regularly serving meals while living in the area and now returns for each major holiday.
She aspires to be a vibrant participant in the community development arena, and has done so in various forms, from tacking inefficient energy kitchens in college, promoting health and nutrition abroad, and preventing homelessness in New York City. She currently works as the External Relations Assistant at the International Aids Vaccine Initiative, an international research organization devoted to finding a vaccine for HIV. Up until very recently, Jackie held the position of Associate Director at the Bridge Fund of NYC. The Bridge Fund is a nonprofit devoted to assisting hard working New Yorkers preserve their affordable housing. This organization is unique within the social services sector of NYUC and introduced her to many resources to help individuals and families in need.
Her exposure to international government and NGOs first began when she served in the Peace Corps as a Community Health and HIV/AIDS Volunteer in Namibia. It was here she acquired front line and hands on experience with the complexities of the HIV epidemic and now she fights for its vaccine research on a policy level.
In addition to the successful HIV testing of the majority of village community members during her service, during one Worlds AIDS event, Jackie also focused her efforts on building a self-sustaining income generating project in collaboration with fellow villagers and other secondary projects within the community. Ms. Gannon lived in a mud hut with a thatched roof without running water or electricity for two years and conversed in the native language, Thimbukushu.
Her educational and professional path has been impacted with the people she has had the privilege to work and learn from, thus fueling her determination to attain a graduate degree with the National Urban Fellows to be a better advocate in the public service sector.