Expand AU Menu

Social Enterprise Students

Current Students

Meet the students of the Social Enterprise Program!

Brittany Ashenfelter | Earlham, IA

SIS SE Brittany Ashenfelter 2014

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

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."

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.

Katrina Calixte |Maplewood, NJ

SIS SE Katrina Calixte 2014

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

Degree: Rutgers University, Political Science, 2009

Pre-AU Employment: Senate Committee on Homeland Security and United States Department of Agriculture

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

Career Interest: I would like to learn from and contribute to innovative community-based programs that changes lives around the world. I am particularly interested in perfecting the unique due diligence process for investment in social enterprises, learning how to scale impact and increasing financial sustainability. 

"I chose the social enterprise program because I feel strongly about combining and diversifying approaches to solving social issues. The social enterprise program provides interdisciplinary and cross-sector hands on experience that will help combine my experience in government and politics with my passion for innovation, financial inclusion, and social justice."

Marc Carr | St. Louis, MO

Photo by Thuy Dinh

Degree: Webster University, MBA and University of Mississippi, B.A in International Studies

Pre-AU employment: Sale and Marketing Manager AVIS Ghana

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise with a concentration in Impact Investing

Career interest: Impact Investing

“American University's Social Enterprise Program has given me the opportunity to pursue my passion for social change in a strategic way. Through practical experience, and rigorous study, I am building the skill sets that will make an effective agent of social change. ”  

Alessandra Clará | San Salvador, El Salvador

Photo by Thuy Dinh

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.”

Michael Cobb | Dayton, OH

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!"

Rachel Fauber | Rockville, MD

SIS SE Profile Rachel Fauber 2014

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."

Lina Guerrero | Bogota, Colombia

Photo by Thuy Dinh

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"

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."

Erin Houston | Wilmington, DE

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.

Catherine Hufnagel | Vienna, VA

SIS SE Profile Catherine Hufnagel

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

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."

John S. Kavyavu | North Kivu, DR Congo

John Kavyavu

Photo by Amy Gillespie

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.”

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."

Miles Makdisi | Berkeley, CA

SIS SE Student Profiles Miles Makdisi

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

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.”

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.”  

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”

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."

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.”

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.”

Colin Rice | Towson, MD

SIS SE Student Profile Colin Rice

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

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.”

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.”

Caitlin Rosser | Amityville, NY

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."

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.”

Eula Sorie | Freetown, Sierra Leone

Photo by Thuy Dinh

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 issues

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”

Jennifer Stutman | Baltimore, MD

SIS SE Student Profile Jennifer Stutman

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

Degree: The George Washington University, B.A. in International Affairs with focus in European Development, with Minors in Political Science and History, 2014

Pre-AU employment: Hotline Staffer, National Sexual Assault Hotline at RAINN

Current employment: Hotline Call Specialist, National Human Trafficking Resource Center at Polaris

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

Career interest: Intrapreneurship, violence reduction, women empowerment, human rights

“I am a firm believe in social enterprise because for me it represents a maintainable form of development that empowers the very people that are receiving assistance. To me, that is what all development should be, sustainable and liberating”

Andreas Vailakis | Redlands, CA

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.”