Jennifer Riley-Collins named vice president of Advocacy at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

Alcorn State University alumna Jennifer Riley-Collins has been selected to lead the charge on combating poverty in her community.

Collins was hired as vice president of Advocacy at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law in Chicago, Illinois Tuesday, Jan. 17. Her duties include leading the Shriver Center’s advocacy staff in advancing justice and opportunity for those who live in poverty.

According to a Shriver Center press release, Collins has served as the executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi where she led legal and legislative advocacy efforts resulting in significant criminal justice reforms. She has also successfully championed protections for public benefit recipients and equal rights for LGBT community members. Collins had a decorated military career in the United States Army where she served as colonel, military assistant to the assistant secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, battalion commander, command inspector general and senior intelligence and security officer.

Collins anticipates a fine career in her new role. The Shriver Center’s dedication to taking care of others is what motivated her to pursue a career with them.

“I am honored to be a leader at the Shriver Center during this time in the nation’s history,” said Collins, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science/pre-law in 1987. “I was drawn to the position by the Shriver Center’s legacy and its continued commitment to protect the interest of people living in poverty and to advance racial justice.”

Strengthening the Center’s future is a priority of Collins. She hopes to prepare the Center’s next generation of employees to make a significant impact on society.

“I hope to posture the Center for its next generation of national impact. The Shriver Center’s legal and policy expertise regarding issues that are at the core of its mission and its expanding network uniquely positions it for impact in states across the country.”

It was her time as a student at Alcorn that Collins credits for her many achievements and personal enlightenment.

“Alcorn helped prepare me for every career opportunity and success I have been fortunate to achieve. Alcorn, as well as other HBCUs, echoed what our parents had whispered in our ears and filled the holes left by our grade school education experience and ensured that we knew our value, potential and obligation to go into the world and be champions.”

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