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Social Enterprise Alumni

Social Enterprise Alumni

Congratulations to our graduates!

Here are the student profiles of the graduates of the Social Enterprise Masters. To see what they are been up to since graduation look through the “SE People on the Move” section in our newsletters.

Deborah Agustoni | Ticino, Switzerland

Deborah Agustoni

photo by Khavi Homsombath

Degree: George Mason University, B.A. Conflict Analysis and Resolution, minors: Women and Gender Studies; International and Comparative Studies, 2012

Pre-AU Employment: United Nations World Food Program (WFP)

Current Employment: Counter-Trafficking and Protection Unit Program Assistant at the International Organization for Migration (IOM)

AU Degree program and concentration: M.A. Social Enterprise

Career Interest: Human trafficking, alternative trauma healing, women empowerment, and conflict transformation.

"The Social Enterprise program resonated with me immediately because of its hands-on approach, space for students' creativity and emphasis on innovation and personalized coaching. I was inspired by the program and its community, and I quickly realized I found the right space where to start materializing my own ideas into the world while being surrounded by creative and social-oriented people. The social enterprise program is like an incubator where students and their ideas are encouraged and supported to thrive."

Practicum project here.

Brittany Ashenfelter | Earlham, Iowa

Photo of Brittany Ashenfelter

Degree: B.A. Sociology, George Washington University, 2013

Pre-AU Employment: Lynne Featherstone MP & Roberta Blackman- Woods MP, Business Development at True2o

Current Employment: Business Development at Signal Vine

AU Degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, Concentration: Intrapreneurship

Career Interest: Intrapreneurship, Corporate Social Responsibility, Impact Investing

"I chose the M.A. in Social Enterprise program at American because I believe it will best give me the knowledge and experience to successfully grow my company in a way that benefits not just my company, but the communities in which we work as well. Business empathy is important in solving systematic issues and this program not only acknowledges that, but focuses on how to best address that concept."

Practicum project here.

Taryn Bird | Pittsburgh, PA

SIS SE Student Profile Bird

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: Penn State University, Economics and Spanish, 2007

Pre-AU Employment: Indigo Africa, Kigali - Rwanda; Business Civic Leadership Center, US Chamber of Commerce

Work while at AU: Product and Logistics Specialist, Corporate Social Responsibility, Kate Spade New York

AU Degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise with a Concentration on Women's Economic Empowerment

Career Interest: Corporate Social Responsibility and Global Citizenship, new business initiatives in the international development space.

Practicum project here.

Nick Boedicker | Auburn, NY

Nick Boedicker

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: Georgetown University, B.A. English/Spanish, 2006

Pre-AU employment: Handicap International, Finger Lakes Migrant Health Care Project 

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise

Post-AU Employment: Founder and Managing Director, Strategic Good

Career interest: Creating economic opportunities and promoting innovation and good business practices in the developing world; sustainable funding solutions for NGOs.

“I joined the Social Enterprise Program at American University because of the unique opportunity it provides to learn practical business skills and then apply them to international development. I’ve been particularly impressed with my classmates and with the breadth of courses to choose from in the School of International Service and Kogod School of Business. It’s also been exciting to work with local NGOs and social enterprises in Washington, DC as part of my coursework.”  

Practicum project here.

Kate Burke | Santa Barbara, CA

Kate Burke

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: Westmont College, B.A. International Studies with emphasis in Latin American Studies, 1995

Pre-AU employment: Administrative Manager and Human Resources at PricewaterhouseCoopers, DAS Management, CCCU

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise Internships/work while at AU: Working Minds at Carson J Spencer Foundation and Consulting at Marq Energie

Post-AU employment: Associate Director, Partnership for Workplace Mental Health at American Psychiatric Foundation

Career interest: Capacity building and creating mentally healthy workplaces to sustain contributing leaders and teams. Partnerships and dialogue across all sectors to maximize the benefits of each.

"A distinct appeal of AU's Social Enterprise masters program is that it resides in the School of International Service. Another is that the program allows for coursework across the campus and disciplines. These factors exhibit in practical ways what Social Entrepreneurs accomplish in the field - breaking down and cooperating across barriers. I have the opportunity to practice in academia what I want to see more in business, whether for or not-for-profit; namely, joint efforts using business knowledge, policy expertise and cultural sensitivity to effect transformational change for social good."

Practicum project here.

Magali Caceres Cespedes | Asuncion, Paraguay


photo by Khavi Homsombath

Degree: B.A in International Affair with concentrations in International Development and Latin American Studies, Minor in Political Science, George Washington University (2013)

Pre-AU Employment: Director of International Relations and External Grants, Ministry of Youth of Paraguay

Current Employment: Deputy Executive Director, International Young Leaders Assembly and International Advisor to the Ministry of Youth (Pro Bono)

AU Degree program and concentration: M.A in Social Enterprise
Potential Concentration: Strategic Management for Change and Innovation in Government

Career Interest: social innovation, youth development, innovation in government, effective management for change

"I chose the Masters Program in Social Enterprise because I believe it will provide me with the right set of tools, knowledge, and experiences to make a greater difference in my country, Paraguay. I am passionate about transforming lives and addressing social issues with innovative approaches, both from the government and private sector perspectives. I believe the SE program is the perfect fit for young, passionate, leaders that want to transform their communities, nations, and world."  

Practicum project here.

Juny Canenguez | Leesburg, Virginia


photo by Khavi Homsombath

Degree:B.S. Business Management, George Mason University

Pre-AU Employment:Recruitment and Outreach Officer at the U.S. Department of State

AU Degree program and concentration: M.A. Social Enterprise with a concentration in managing people, organizations and projects

Career Interest:U.S. Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State

"Through the MA in Social Enterprise program my biggest passions come together -- the world of business and international public and private sectors.I am glad to be in a program composed of a group of diverse individuals who want to solve the world's social problems through the use of effective business practices."    

Practicum project here.

Alessandra Clara | San Salvador, El Salvador

Photo of Alessandra Clara

Degree: Johns Hopkins University, B.S. Business, Concentration: Management, 2013

AU degree program and concentration: M.A. Social Enterprise

Current employment: Social Enterprise Coordinator, American University. Social Enterprise Student Consultant for: ConTextos and Global Alliance for Children

Career interest: Social Enterprise consulting in Latin America in the areas of: income generating streams for non-profits, corporate social responsibility, and the implementation of business strategies to solve social problems for for-profit, non-profit and hybrid organizations

"I am passionate about Social Enterprises. In a world where there is a pressing need for social change; social enterprises bring out the best of human nature: innovation and social empathy. They are the perfect combination of social responsibility, business principles, efficiency and sustainability. My goal is to build a cross-sector infrastructure in Latin America for social enterprises that utilize innovative market-based, design thinking & economically sustainable solutions to poverty alleviation & economic empowerment."

Practicum project here.

Michael Cobb | Dayton, OH

Michael Cobb

Photo by Thuy Dinh

Degree: Denison University, B.A. Philosophy, Political Science, Economics, 2011

Pre-AU employment: Organizational Advancement Associate, Homefull

AU degree program and concentration: M.A. Social Enterprise, Concentration: Social Mission Business

Career interest: I aspire to be at the forefront of demonstrating that following a business model can effectively advance a social mission. There is tremendous power in utilizing the marketplace to provide opportunity and empowerment.

“I was drawn to Social Enterprise because I feel very strongly that this movement represents a dynamic and powerful force for advancing social change. People everywhere are becoming more conscious of how we can make our world more inclusive, fair, and sustainable – in many ways social enterprises are the creative expression of this consciousness put into action. I chose to get an M.A. in Social Enterprise in order to gain the skills and make the personal connections necessary to be on the leading edge of this movement!"

Practicum project here.

Federico A. de Jesús | San Juan, Puerto Rico

Federico de Jesus

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: American University, B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics & Government (CLEG), 2001

Pre-AU employment: Obama-Biden 2008 Presidential Campaign & Transition Office, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Office, U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Office, Congressman Eliot Engel’s Office, former Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner in Congress Aníbal Acevedo Vilá’s Office, and other public, private and political experiences.

Work while at AU: Associate Director for Governmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Transportation, Deputy Executive Director, Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration- PRFFA

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise

Post-AU employment: Independent consultant working on strategic communications, government relations, social enterprise solutions and more.

Career interest: Use of social enterprise solutions to advance socioeconomic change through innovations in policymaking, consulting, advocacy and other public interest ventures.

“When I learned about the cutting edge vision, the multi-faceted courses, the practical focus and the service philosophy behind AU’s M.A. in Social Enterprise, I knew that if I was serious about taking my public service career to the next level, this was an opportunity I could not afford to miss.”


Thuy Dinh | Hanoi, Vietnam

Thuy Dinh

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, B.A International Relations, 2009

Pre-AU employment: Co-founder of YESE; Communication and Advocacy Intern at Oxfam; Case studies Consultant at Oxfam

Work while at AU: Graduate Assistant, Social Enterprise Program, American University; Graduate intern – TechnoServe

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise - International Development, Poverty Alleviation

Post-AU employment: Communications Coordinator, Initiative for Global Development; Grameen Foundation; Project H.E.A.R

Career interest: Market-based solutions to poverty alleviation, Social innovations in International Development, Cross-sector collaboration for poverty alleviation

"I chose the M.A in Social Enterprise program out of my other International Development program options because I was attracted to the multi-disciplinary and practitioner-oriented aspect of the degree. My passion has always been particularly in poverty alleviation, and the new mindset of social entrepreneurship intimated a number of prospective solutions to the problem in Vietnam and around the world. The program perfectly blends my passion for change in poverty alleviation with my interest in social innovations and social entrepreneurship. I hope it will help me to contribute to the more efficiency of the non-profit sector and scaling up its impacts in poverty alleviation efforts.”

Practicum project here.

Rachel Fauber | Rockville, Maryland


Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

Degree: Towson University, Mass Communication, Environmental Studies, 2009

Pre-AU Employment: National Institute on Retirement Security, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Washington DC, Himmelrich Public Relations

Current employment: Manager of Membership Services, National Institute on Retirement Security

AU Degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise

Career Interest: Innovation in the nonprofit sector, cross-sector partnerships, building the next generation young leaders and entrepreneurs equipped with the skills needed to tackle pressing global issues

"I chose American University's Social Enterprise Program because it offered a unique community of staff, faculty and classmates who all share my personal values. The program fosters creativity and innovation, allowing students to build a personal curriculum of classes that match their interests and passions, while plugging us into robusts networks of practitioners and organizations."  

Practicum project here

Brad Fisher | Orlean, VA

Brad Fisher

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: Mary Washington College, B.A. International Affairs, 2009

Pre-AU Employment: Co-founder and operator, Virginia Wine Bottling Co LLC, Corporate Relations Intern, Grameen Foundation, Field Intern, Partnership for Tunisian Economic Development.

Work while at AU: Consulting with Cause, a social enterprise-based bar, and Snack Packers; Social Enterprise Faculty, Summerfuel

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise

Career Interests: Microfinance, empowering women, small business and entrepreneurial development, particularly in North Africa, and not becoming a corporate drone.

“Having experience both in the for-profit and non-profit world, and seeking to combine the two, the SE program was a natural match for me. Having been an entrepreneur, I wanted to use the skill-set I'd gained to help others, and the SE program gives me the tools to do just that.”

Adrienne Gifford | Pittsburgh, PA

Adrienne Gifford

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: American University, B.S. B.A International Finance, 2002

Pre-AU employment: Herren Associates, Booz Allen Hamilton

Work while at AU: Consulting engagements with World Vision International and City Blossoms, a Washington, DC non-profit

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, Concentration: International Development, Impact Investing

“As a practitioner-focused program, AU’s M.A. in Social Enterprise enables me to leverage my consulting and business experience in new and important ways. I strongly believe in the power of business to change and transform lives and in the potential for commercial best practices to be leveraged in new and innovative ways in the social sector. The SE program provides me with the knowledge, understanding, practical application, and network to contribute to a new field in which business can be a vehicle to help alleviate poverty and many other of the world’s greatest social challenges.”

Practicum project here.

Amy Gillespie | Los Angeles, CA

Amy Gillespie

Degree: Tulane University, B.A. Political Science and International Human Rights, 2009

Pre-AU employment: Active Entertainment, Millennium Films, Marcia Miller Jewelry collection, Tulane University,, American University

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise

Post-AU employment: Events Manager, School of International Service, American University

Career interest: Cross-sector partnerships, corporate social responsibility, arts based youth advocacy, and mentorship programs.

“I chose American University’s M.A. program in Social Enterprise because I was prepared to actively participate in an environment of like-minded individuals, supporting and contributing one another’s career goals for the common purpose of creating enterprises that will better the world. I was searching for a degree program that understood the benefits of collaboration, and I was interested in contributing to a program where action was expected. AU’s Social Enterprise program spoke to my desire to create, grow, and expand upon social enterprise; and it has now given me the opportunity to think up innovative solutions to old models of thought, while also being able to encourage and support high-impact entrepreneurial talent.”

Practicum project here

Lina Guerrero | Bogato, Columbia

Photo of Lina Guerrero

Degree: American University, B.S.-B.A. Business and International Studies, 2010

Pre-AU employment: Ashoka, National Council of La Raza, Office of Congressman Brad Miller

Work while at AU: Inter-American Development Bank

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, with a concentration in project management and evaluation.

Career interest: Social innovation and social entrepreneurs in Latin America

"I chose this program because it allows me to combine international development and business courses and it provides a great network of people that are passionate about finding ways to bring the private and public sector together to solve some of the world's most intractable problems. I believe that getting all sectors of society together bring the best and most innovative solutions"

Practicum project here.

Annea Hapciu | Prishtina, Kosova


photo by Khavi Homsombath

Degree: University of Dayton, Bachelor of Sciences in Business Administration (BSBA): Entrepreneurship & Marketing

Pre-AU Employment: KosovaLive Organisation & N'Yoga

Current Employment: N/A

AU Degree program and concentration: SIS: SE with a concentration in Media Production for Social Change

Career Interest: As diverse as possible ^_^

"I was attracted to the unique framework of the program - I love that it is truly as flexible as it states on the program description. I hoped to integrate several interests in my graduate program and the SE program given that it is customized to every student enables me to do precisely that. It was even a better surprise to witness how friendly and supportive the SE network of candidates and faculty are as well."  

Practicum project here

Jennifer Hartzell | Elk Grove, IL

Jennifer Hartzell

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: Yale University, B.A. Anthropology, 2009

Pre-AU employment: University Partnerships and Operations Coordinator, Ashoka's Youth Venture

Work while at AU: University Partnerships Coordinator, Ashoka's Youth Venture

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise 

Post AU employment: Teacher, Success Academy Charter Schools

Career interest: Education reform, Sustainability

"I came to AU's Social Enterprise program because of an interest in practical application and skill development with a cross-sector approach. Its location in Washington, D.C., a city bursting with innovative potential and a hub for social change has also been an incredible boon."

Practicum project here.

Erin Houston | Wilmington, DE

Erin Houston

Photo by Thuy Dinh

Degree: College of William and Mary, B.A. Government, English, 2009

Pre-AU employment: Advisory Board Company, Congressman Donald M. Payne

Current employment: Devex

AU degree program and concentration: M.A. Social Enterprise

Career interest: Making business work for global development - whether through more ethical supply chain management, building gender equity into the workforce, or encouraging corporations to participate in the purpose economy.

Practicum project here.

Khavi Homsombath | Vientiane, Laos

SIS SE Profile Khavi Homsombath

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

Degree: The Lao-American College, Business Administration, Arts of English, 2012

Pre-AU Employment: Communications Officer at the United Nations Resident Coordinator's office in Laos, Co-founder at Moringa Plus, Volunteer advisor at the College major Guidebook and Web project.

AU Degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, Concentration:Business for community development and impact investing

Career Interest: Social entrepreneurship, product and service development for social businesses, communications for change, social enterprise consultant in developing countries

"I chose to study Social Enterprise at American University because of an interest in the field of business and community development. Coming from Laos, a country where ideas of social business and corporate social responsibility are very new, I am excited to learn about the concept of socially responsible businesses so that I could apply this principle to develop the field of social enterprise back home."

Practicum project here.

Catherine Hufnagel | Vienna, Virginia

Photo ofCatherine Hufnagel

Degree: Wake Forest University, B.A. Political Science, minors: Spanish and Latin American Studies, 2009

Pre-AU Employment: Program Coordinator, Farmer-to-Farmer Program, CNFA; Program Assistant, Program for Education Reform in Latin American and the Caribbea, Inter-American Dialogue

Current Employment: Public Policy Project Coordinator, ASCD

AU Degree program and concentration: M.A. Social Enterprise

Career Interest: Youth development in the global south

"I love working for non-profits for their missions, but I've been feeling like we shouldn't have to limit ourselves to just the status quo of public vs private sectors. I'm so excited that the SE program at AU is allowing me to explore new ways of approaching old problems."

Practicum project here.

Jeremy Jensen | Salt Lake City, UT

Jeremy Jensen

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: Kogod School of Business, American University, MBA with a concentration in consulting/entrepreneurship, 2013 and University of Utah, BA Spanish Literature, 2006

Pre-AU employment: General Management in Outdoor Equipment and Apparel Industry, International Trade Officer for Economic Development Office – State of Utah, Project Manager for sustainability architecture firm.

Work while at AU: Product development and new market strategy for a tech startup called CoFoundersLab

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise
Concentration: Entrepreneurship and Social Impact Consulting

Post-AU employment: Strategy Consultant, CSC

“I applied to the SE Program at AU because I am captivated by ecosystems that harness the collective energy of innovators and change-makers focused on market-driven solutions for social impact. My goal is to create a for-profit social enterprise in the active outdoor-lifestyle and adventure travel industry. The Masters of Social Enterprise Program will help me achieve this goal. Particularly at this point in my career, because it will expose me to the diverse set of perspectives, ideas, and people that constitutes the Social Enterprise community.”

Practicum project here.

John S. Kavyavu | North Kivu, DR Congo

Photo of John S. Kavyavu

Degree: Pune University India, M.A. Development Planning and Administration

Pre-AU employment: Executive Director Pro-Microfinance International

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise

Internships/work while at AU: Pro-Microfinance International

Career interest: Building a sustainable partnership between Not-for-Profit, Private and Public Sectors to make the world a better place where every child has the opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential for their own good and that of the entire community.

"I've been planning to join AU since I came to the U.S. five years ago, but I was not clear which program. When I heard and read about the new M.A. in Social Enterprise program at the School of International Services, I thought this was exactly what I was looking for and jumped in. In fact, this program offers the opportunity to understand effective approaches to create change through sustainable partnership between Not-for-Profit, Private and Public Sectors."

Practicum project here.

Sundas Liaqat | Islamabad, Pakistan

SIS SE Student Profile Sundas Liaqat

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

Degrees: Fashion Design, 2008, MBA Marketing, 2013, Iqra Univeristy

Pre-AU employment: Academician and Entrepreneur

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, with a focus on women empowerment, international development and diplomacy.

Career interest: I am interested in women empowerment and international development working with diplomacy and driving social change. I want to be an advocate of my people and represent them in international forums.

“My country is completely immersed in various societal problems the root cause of which is poverty. Having seen the government fail, in my opinion, it now vastly depends on social entrepreneurs to stabilize the economy of Pakistan. This prospect excites me and so I am eager to take this field of study as my course of action. With one foot in fashion and the other in community development, I want to find my way forward and lead my country towards progress." 

Practicum project here.

Amanda Lotz | Augusta, NJ

Amanda Lotz

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: American University School of International Service, B.A. International Studies, 2011

Pre-AU Employment: Faison Enterprises

Work while at AU: Program Coordinator, Accion International

Degree program and concentration: M.A. Social Enterprise

Career interest: Poverty alleviation and increased access to entrepreneurial education in emerging markets, while identifying the uniqueness of culture in each community.

“As an undergraduate at AU, I developed a theoretical and analytical perspective for evaluating cases relevant to International Studies. From this experience, I knew that the professors were of a high caliber and engaged in the livelihood of their students. I considered M.P.A. and International Management programs, for the practical skills that I would develop and then use for good. I also considered International Development programs. Yet, like the missing puzzle piece that is serendipitously found underneath a couch cushion, I found all of that and more. When I found out that a new M.A. program in Social Enterprise had been created, I could not think of a better way to support my career objective of improving the quality of life for others, while ensuring that my work is measurable and impact driven.”

Practicum project here.

Miles Makdisi | Berkeley, California

Photo of Miles Makdisi

Degree: B.S. in Geography, University of Oregon, 2009

Pre-AU employment: Director, Deportes para el Desarrollo, Director of Development, Colombia Lacrosse Association

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise

Career interest: Development and support of programs aimed at maximizing human potential through cross-cultural learning and exchange, mentorship, and confidance building

"I chose this program in order to learn from leaders in the Social Enterprise sector, be surrounded by a diverse group of creative and talented people, and gain guidance related to my passions and interests. The program's curriculum focuses on practical skill development and application, and location within a leading global city for social innovation, will allow me to achieve my career goals and expand my network."

Practicum project here.

James McDowell | Dallas, TX

James McDowell

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: Howard University, B.A. Political Science, 2010

Pre-AU employment: E.L. Haynes Public Charter School

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise

Internships/work while at AU: Program Assistant for The Charles Rangel International Programs

Career interest: I am interested in using education as a means of community development.

“I chose the Social Enterprise program at American because of the interdisciplinary and practical curriculum. With this program as a tool I know I will have the knowledge of an academic and the skill of a practitioner to wholly address real world problems.”  

Practicum project here.

Kate McElligott | Naperville, IL

Kate McElligott

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: Providence College, M.A. Political Science, 2004

Pre-AU employment: CCS Fundraising consultancy, Microcredit Summit Campaign

Work while at AU: Senior Regional Development Officer, Grameen Foundation

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise

Post-AU employment: Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships, Grameen Foundation

Career interest: Market-based solutions to poverty alleviation, economic development in emerging markets, and corporate social responsibility

"I chose the M.A. in Social Enterprise program at AU for the flexibility in course offering and emphasis on practical application of academic theory. With a mix of international affairs and management courses, AU leverages best practices within both fields to create the next generation of leaders in global social innovation . In addition, the program emphasizes change management, innovation, and leadership through real-world problems outside the classroom, which is critical experience for managing and leading a social enterprise or new initiative within an existing organization."

Practicum project here.

Miriam Mehdi | Lahore, Pakistan

SIS SE Student Profile Miriam Mehdi

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

Degrees: MBA, Concentration: Human Resource and Marketing, 2011, B.A. Business Administration, Concentration: Marketing, 2010, National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences Pakistan

Pre-AU employment: Shell Pakistan Limited, Kansai Paint Pakistan

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise

Career interest: International economic empowerment, social enterprise consultancy, analytics and impact investment, poverty alleviation, illiteracy eradication

“Social enterprise program at AU is the perfect cross roads between business management and social innovation. In this fast developing world the need of social welfare via economic development is dire. I hope that this program will equip me with the right skill set to be an entrepreneur and leader for the social advancement of the global community, particularly Pakistan”

Practicum project here.

Kristen Moses | Silver Spring, MD

Kristen Moses

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: Northwestern University, B.S. Journalism and Political Science, 2007

Pre-AU Employment: Multimedia Producer, The News Journal in Wilmington, Del.; Web Content/Social Media Lead, Veterans Health Administration

AU Degree Program and Concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise; M.I., Peace Corps

Internships/work while at AU: Fall Associate with the Council on Foundations Public-Philanthropic Partnership Initiative, American University Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution In-Hall Mediator, The Grameen Foundation Bankers without Borders Volunteer

Career interest: Program marketing and evaluation in a technical environment

"For many years, I have been an observer; a sympathetic, but impartial chronicler of lives and activities I have encountered. Joining the Social Enterprise program at American University is my first step towards becoming a 'doer' and expanding my contribution to my community. Integrating this academic preparation with a Peace Corps mission will give me opportunity to explore case studies and theoretical ideals as they can be applied in the field."

Practicum project here.

Kerri Murphy | Stony Point, NY

Kerri Murphy

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: Bryant University, B.S. International Business, 2008

Previous employment: Baltic American Enterprise Fund, Morgan Stanley, and Cane & Boniface, PC

Work while at AU: Chief Operating Officer (COO), William James Foundation

Post-AU employment: Manager, Certification Program at WEConnect International

Practicum project here.

Stephanie Navarrete | El Paso, TX

Stephanie Navarrete

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: Texas Tech University, B.A. Honors Arts & Letters and International Studies, 2010

Pre-AU Employment: Founder and CEO of Rue Sophie; United States Agency for International Development, American Embassy, San Salvador, El Salvador

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise

Career Interest: Corporate social responsibility in for-profit private sector industries and innovative strategies for channeling capitalisms power towards the advancement of society

“The unique curriculum at American University, where an emphasis is placed on doing, is appealing for hands on individuals as myself. I have the opportunity to participate in a community of innovators where I can develop both as a business owner and activist. At AU I expect to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to transform any business into a social entrepreneurial venture worthy of the title.”

Practicum project here.

Jessica Nehrbass | New Orleans, LA

Jessica Nehrbass

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: University of Richmond, B.A. in Political Science (Minor in Economics), 2008

Pre-AU employment: Program Training Coordinator, USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service

Work while at AU: Global Program Support Consultant, CNFA
 and Social Enterprise Coordinator, Abriendo Mentes

AU degree program and concentration: M.A. in Social Enterprise

Career interest: Social Entrepreneurship Consulting, Faith-Based International Development, Small Business Development, Startups

“The future of social enterprise to me is an emerging paradigm shift calling for businesses to achieve profitability through more socially-responsible operations. I want to be one of the actors propelling this movement. Because of the curriculum's flexibility, the MA program in Social Enterprise allows me to gain hard business skills while incorporating them into a new approach in international community development. I’m looking forward to building practical experience in the social enterprise field through the program’s professional network, as well as working with the open-minded and encouraging SE faculty to develop my entrepreneurial ideas for faith-based sustainable business.”

Practicum project here.


Ianhuong Nguyen | Hanoi, Vietnam

SIS Social Enterprise Student Profile Iohuong Nguyen

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

Degree: B.A. International Relations, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam

Pre-AU employment: Lead Auditor, Underwriter Laboratory

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, Concentration: Corporate Social Responsibility

Career interest: Workers Right in global supply chain

“I am seeking for a life changing event.”

Practicum project here.

Kateland Oakes | Hope, ME

SIS SE Student profile Kateland Oakes

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

Degree: B.S. Global & Environmental Studies, Principia College, 2010

Pre-AU employment: The Christian Science Monitor, Seeds of Peace, The Euphrates Institute

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise

Career interest: Impact investment and international development

“To me, Social Enterprise is the future of business,development and many other sectors. I am excited to be a part of a program that combines business, innovation, and social change in order to better our world.”

Practicum project here.

Sarah Oakes | Hope, Maine


photo by Khavi Homsombath

Degree: Comparative Religious Studies

Pre-AU Employment: Frontier Communications, The Christian Science Monitor, The Euphrates Institute

Current Employment: Experiential Learning Program Coordinator, American University

AU Degree program and concentration: MA in Social Enterprise; Concentration: Leadership Development

Career Interest: Leadership Development and Corporate Social Responsibility

"I chose the Social Enterprise program at American University because it offers an alternative "both/and" way of thinking that blends the passion and service-oriented solutions of the non-profit world with the business knowledge and focused performance drive of the private sector. With an emphasis on problem-solving and innovation through, I believe this program will help students build the foundational skills to lead organizations, industries, and cultures working to create positive change within our world."   

Practicum project here.

Colin Rice | Towson, Maryland

Photo of Colin Rice

Degree: Sewanee: The University of the South, B.A. Anthropology, minor in Business, 2010

Current employement: Do More mission, Mayberg Family Charitable Foundation

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, Concentration: Economic empowerment

Career interest: Livelihood development, microfinance, impact investing, community development

"I was drawn to this program for the hands-on approach, the flexibility, and the access to the incredible networks at AU and around DC. I want to graduate with both the knowledge of important ideas and approaches in the sector, as well as the concrete experience of putting those ideas into practice, and the MA in Social Enterprise give me the chance to do that."

Practicum project here.

Steven Rodriguez | Los Angeles, CA

SIS SE Current Student Profile Steven Rodriguez

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

Degree: Dickinson College, B.A. Psychology, 2014

Current employment: Lead Innovation Office, Inspirational Medicine Foundation

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, Concentration: Healthcare development and non-profit management

Career interest: To continue fostering a worldwide, socially responsible, business culture that addresses society's most pressing needs. Finding ways to utilize advancement in technology to address the gaps with psychosocial healthcare.

“I was attracted to this program for two main reasons. First, Washington D.C. is one of the start-up and non-profit capitals of the world. Here, passionate entrepreneurs seek to act on their respective missions. As I immerse myself in this energetic environment, I feel empowered and driven to reach my career goals. Second, this program provides a unique opportunity to create your own path to success while guiding you through the key principles that define social entrepreneurs. I look forward to honing my professional skills in a collaborative and supportive atmosphere so I can execute my ideas for societal benefit.”

Practicum project here.

Caitlin Rosser | Amityville, NY

Caitlin Rosser

Photo by Thuy Dinh

Degree: Kogod School of Business & School of International Service, American University, B.A. in Business Administration, focusing on International Business and International Relations, 2011

Pre-AU employment: Financial Management Analyst at the U.S. Department of Justice; Communications Intern at the U.S. Department of Justice; Communications Intern at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Washington, DC

Work while at AU: Management Analyst at the U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.; Monitoring & Evaluation Consultant at Awamaki, Peru

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, concentration in Social Enterprise Financial Management and Monitoring & Evaluation

Career interest: Organizational financial management, Impact Evaluation and Project Design, Monitoring, & Evaluation; Social Enterprise Business Development, Fundraising & Social Enterprise Financing Plan Development

“I chose American University’s Social Enterprise program because of its emphasis on innovative cross-sector and practitioner-focused coursework. The Social Enterprise program will help me blend my interdisciplinary passions for financial management, financial inclusion, and social justice, and turn these passions into a viable career."

Practicum project here.

Gurmat Sahni | Dehli, India


photo by Khavi Homsombath

Degree: BSC. in Business Administration

Pre-AU Employment: Co-founder of Grand Slam Baseball, Managing Partner Weldon Sales Corporation

Current Employment: Co-founder of Grand Slam Baseball

AU Degree program and concentration: MA in Social Enterprise

Career Interest: Grassroots rural development:

"I am interested in equipping people belonging to low income groups in rural areas with the means and resources to create a sustainable model of generating income. I chose AU's Social Enterprise program because I wish to set up an organisation that will act as an integrating network to create and strengthen private-NGO partnerships. My area of focus lies in creating ecosystems for collaborative production and consumption in rural areas. I am also interested in finding innovative ways to attract more private resources to the field of social entrepreneurship."

Practicum project here.

Michael Sayre | Bogota, Colombia

Michael Sayre

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: Suffolk University, B.A. International Affairs/European History, 2005

Pre-AU employment: Director of New Initiatives at Partners of the Americas

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise

Post-AU employment: Technical Officer, Root Change

Career interest: To be a leader in social innovation in Latin America and participate in the development of an ecosystem that supports innovative cross-sector approaches that address pressing social problems in the region. 

"I chose American University’s M.A. in Social Enterprise because the program provided me with an opportunity to deepen my understanding of development practices and learn effective approaches to leading and creating innovative for-profit, non- profit and hybrid ventures. By being housed in the School of International Service, I am in an environment where my peers bring a wide range of experiences and have unique insights on issues such as poverty alleviation, diplomacy, service delivery strategies and management practices. The program’s focus on service and innovation in this unique environment is a blueprint of the cross-sector approach that I feel will be critical in creating the solutions to today’s most pressing problems.”

Practicum project here.

Sara Mizuta Seavey | Wayne, PA

Sara Seavey

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: Connecticut College, B.A. International Relations, 2006

Pre-AU employment: Fund for Global Human Rights, Center for Women Policy Studies, The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation

Work while at AU: Consulting, Honest Tea and the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation

Post-AU employment: Program Officer II at FHI 360

Career interest: Public-Private Partnerships, economic development with an emphasis on women's empowerment, corporate social responsibility and market-based solutions to poverty alleviation

"I chose the M.A. in Social Enterprise program at AU for the academic training with real world field experience and practical policy which will prepare me to become an a effective practitioner that can bridge both developing and developed worlds."

Practicum project here.

Aaron Shneyer | Washington, DC

Aaron Schneyer

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: Georgetown University, B.A. Cultural Anthropology and Music, 2005

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise,
Concentration: Media, Communications and Conflict Transformation

Work While at AU: Founder and Executive Director, Heartbeat

Career interest: Utilize the tools of social business, music and the popular media to transform conflicts. This effort is underway with Heartbeat, which uses music to build trust across a critical mass of Israelis and Palestinians.

“I chose to be here because the faculty of the Social Enterprise program show unparalleled support for their students and enable us to take advantage of and help build a world class incubator to develop our projects and skills. SIS in general is much more concerned with activism and challenging the status quo than any major university I have ever encountered. Being at AU, in DC and in the US, opens up many opportunities to push forward large scale changes.”

Practicum project here.

Louis Tuntufye Sichali | Lilongwe, Malawi


photo by Khavi Homsombath

Degree: Bachelor of Education, University of Malawi, Chancellor College.

Pre-AU employment: Lilongwe Technical College, Teacher of business studies and basic accounting.

AU Program and Concentration: MA Social Enterprise

Career Interest: Microfinance, Youth empowerment, Financial and Entrepreneurship literacy.

"I chose the social enterprise program at AU because it has a good combination of courses that would equip me into becoming an asset to the youth of my country Malawi. I believe the program will empower me into advocating for entrepreneurship for the Malawian youth especially in the vocational schools. It will also assist me into improving the credit score of the youth who cannot easily access finance for business ventures, by providing them with the relevant financial literacy."  

Practicum project here.

Eula Sorie | Freetown, Sierra Leone

Photo of Eule Sorie

Degree: Frostburg State University, B.S. Business Administration, Human Resource Management, 2009

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise with a concentration in gender and women

Work While at AU: University Research Co., LLC

Career interest: Women Empowerment, Human Rights, International Development, and Social Businesses

"This program is catered specifically for individuals like me; people who have a deep appreciation and passion for the advancement of society. This program is not confided to the business, international, public or private sectors rather it's a combination of all of these sectors."

Practicum project here.

Sara Stromer | Monument, CO

Sara Stromer

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: Boston College, B.A. Social Science, 2009

Pre-AU employment: National Bureau of Economic Research

Work while at AU: Grameen Foundation and American University

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise

Career interest: Public-Private Partnerships, local community building, economic development with an emphasis on women's empowerment, and market-based solutions to poverty alleviation

"After many years in the workforce, I decided to fully devote myself to doing what I feel most passionate about. I wanted to learn how I could most effectively affect positive change in the world, and the Social Enterprise program at AU is the perfect place to gain the knowledge and hands-on experience I was looking for. I am thrilled to be a part of this innovative, dynamic program. The classes are taught by excellent faculty, I am gaining practical applied experience, and I am surrounded by incredibly dedicated, creative, and engaged classmates."

Practicum project here.

Sara Telzer | Claremont, CA

Sara Telzer

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: University of California, Santa Barbara, B.A. Law and Society, 2008

Pre-AU employment: Santa Barbara Public Defenders Office, Hadsell, Stormer, Keeny, Richardson & Renick LLP, Tempest Telecom Solutions, Children of South Africa, International Education Research Foundation

Work while at AU: Operations Coordinator, Ashoka’s Youth Venture

Post-AU employment: Client Relations Officer, Bankers without Borders at Grameen Foundation

Career interest: Maximize both social good and economic gains through for-benefit businesses and social enterprises to create sustainable and effective ways to address our world’s most pressing problems.

"I chose American University’s M.A. in Social Enterprise because the program offered me an entire degree in the courses I wanted to take and the education, tools and skills I wanted to acquire. AU’s M.A. Social Enterprise program provides an education grounded in practical and experiential learning, with a well rounded offering of theoretical, management, financial and business course options. Further, the program is housed in AU’s renowned School of International Service, allowing its students unparalleled access to courses in International Development, International Affairs and International Communication; topics critical to the evolution, scale and success of social enterprises here and abroad.”

Practicum project here.

Andreas Vailakis | Redlands, CA

Andreas Vailakis

Photo by Thuy Dinh

Degree: University of Southern California, B.A. Spanish and Philosophy, 2006

Pre-AU employment: Program Director, Center for Global Entrepreneurship (CGE) in Peru; Director and founder, Beyond Volunteering in Peru; Program Coordinator, Study Abroad in Peru and Ecuador

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, International Development and Business Management

Career interest: Bridging the nonprofit and private sectors with an international focus on Latin America. Development of small-medium sized businesses

“Traditional approaches to business, nonprofits, and international development are changing and lines between these are more blurred than ever. I moved to DC and joined the Social Enterprise program to be in the heart of this exciting social entrepreneurship movement, while building skills and a network. I was especially drawn to the innovative approaches of the program, practical and applicable skill-sets developed, while having the program housed in a top-tier International Development school, SIS.”

Practicum project here.

Stevie Valdez | Gilbert, AZ

Stevie Smyth

Degree: Gonzaga University, B.A. Economics and Latin American Studies with concentration in Entrepreneurial Leadership, 2009

Pre-AU employment: Colegio Americano de San Carlos, Wells Fargo

Work while at AU: Project Coordinator at Marq Energie, Enterprise Development Intern in Relief International's Social Enterprise Division

Post-AU employment: Senior Associate, Impact Investing & Market Development, United Nations Foundation

Career interest: Social business model and strategy consulting, social finance, developing emerging markets, corporate social responsibility, SME development

"I chose the M.A. program in Social Enterprise, because I wanted to learn both business size and the social/cultural components of entering in an emerging market and starting an enterprise for the social good. There is a freedom to specialize your degree and make it what you want it. This program allows you to gain a deeper understanding of all of the factors that make a great social business through classes, internship opportunities and experiential learning."

Practicum project here.

Pomai Verzon | Nashville, TN

Pomai Verzon

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: Belmont University, B.A. Political Science and B.S. Economics, 2012

Pre-AU employment: LEAF: Linking, Educating, and Advancing Families; Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition; ACLU of Tennessee

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise – International Development and Venture Design

Internships/work while at AU: Cause - The PhilanthroPub, Grameen Foundation

Career interest: Poverty alleviation and international development through market-based strategies with increased sustainability and community collaboration

Post-AU employment: Fellow, IDEX Accelerator

“I chose the M.A. in Social Enterprise program at AU due to its focus on practical application of theory and exploration through action. Offering a multidisciplinary approach, the program gleans the best from the private, public, and NGO world to create change in an innovate, sustainable, and socially responsible way.”

Trey Waters | Darien, CT

Trey Waters

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: University of Colorado, Boulder, B.A. Economics, 2006

Pre-AU employment: Business Development Associate, British Consulate General, Chicago; Small Enterprise Development Volunteer, Peace Corps, Ghana

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise

Career interest: Impact Investing, International Development, Entrepreneurship

“I am interested in spending the next two years studying entrepreneurship as a form of sustainable development. Also, being located in Washington DC, American University is able to provide connections to internationally focused organizations where I am able to practice my lessons from the classroom and gaining important hands on experience.”

Practicum project here

Setra Yappi | Surabaya, Indonesia

Setra Yappi

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: University of Texas at Austin, B.S. in Petroleum Engineering, 2008

Pre-AU employment: Petroleum Engineer at EOG Resources, Inc.

Work while at AU: Business Advisor at Sandler Trade LLC

Post-AU employment: Project Manager, Marq Energie Consulting

Career interest: Entrepreneurship, trade and development

“Social entrepreneurship, for me, is optimism transformed into creative action. There is a vast array of social problems around us, and many demand a multidisciplinary approach to address them. A social enterprise is a realization of rigid boundaries broken down for the sake of the sustainability of our evolving civilization. American University is committed to engage practitioners to learn and collaborate in order to be the leading edge of a movement providing service to the interconnected global community. And I am proud to be part of it."

Practicum project here.