Current title and organization:
Deputy Director, Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (Office of the Governor in Washington, DC)
Degree(s) and grad year(s):
MA in Social Enterprise, 2014 (AU/SIS); BA in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics & Government (CLEG), 2001 (AU/SPA)
What was one important turning point during my time at SIS that influenced my professional path?
The key moment for me during my two years at SIS was during my practicum, Innovation in Hungary. As part of this capstone project, I consulted for Hungary's National Innovation Office, which is part of the Ministry for National Economy. I was fortunate enough to travel to Budapest twice and meet with government officials, start-up entrepreneurs, civil society actors, and others. This experience, together with the final report and presentation I gave along with two other student consultants on how to maximize the use of “crowdfunding” in Hungary, brought together everything I learned during my time as a Masters student and opened my eyes to new ways to facilitate innovation in the economy and government.
What has been a--possibly unexpected--pivotal experience or piece of knowledge that has led me to my current position?
I wouldn't say that there is one such experience. I would say that I have learned that when you perform at your best for a worthwhile cause you believe in, even if you're not getting paid for it, good things tend to happen. It is easy to get discouraged, but not giving up is important because you might not reach your ultimate goal immediately, but other doors might open that could lead you to the same objective through a different path.
Why I chose SIS?
I chose SIS because it is the only school of international service with an MA in Social Enterprise, it is one of the top ten international studies schools in the country, and since I obtained my BA from AU, I knew first hand the quality of its professors and student body.
How I make a difference in the world?
During my current position, I am dedicated to taking advantage of every opportunity available in Washington, DC to improve the quality of life of the people of Puerto Rico, which is where I am from. That means working with a team that focuses on making sure the U.S. federal government treats Puerto Ricans fairly while adequately addressing the unique challenges we face, and leveraging private sector and NGO engagement for the benefit of Puerto Rico. Our agency also has regional offices in Florida and New York, which provide services to Puerto Ricans that reside in those states, and our diaspora at large. In my personal time, I also volunteer and contribute to several charitable organizations and social causes. The reason I went back to school and chose this degree was so I could have additional tools that can enhance my contributions to build a more just and peaceful world, one small yet effective step at a time.
Field of study?
World issue of interest?
Poverty eradication, international economic development
Professional role models?
My father, grandfathers, Nelson Mandela, Senator Ted Kennedy, Senator Elizabeth Warren
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
Spaceballs, The Gladiator, Braveheart