Meet the students of the Social Enterprise Program!
Akhtar Muhammad Abid | Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
Degree: Lahore University of Management Sciences, B.S. in Accounting and Finance, 2015
Pre-AU Employment: Oil and Gas Development Company
AU Degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise with a concentration in Impact Measurement and Evaluation
Career Interest: “I want to work in the education sector, especially to help children out of child labor.”
“I had this feeling that if I am 70 years old the only reason that can actually make me happy and proud will be "if I have worked for the betterment of the society and I have been able to change the lives of some people for the better". And I believe social entrepreneurship will give me the best possible way to go about it.”
Melissa A. Bassett-Graetz |Syracuse, New York
Degree: Syracuse University: B.A. Music/Percussion 2014; M.A. Arts Leadership Administration 2017
Pre-AU Employment: Executive Director for Music for the Mission; Project lead and consultant for Wacheva Cultural Arts
AU Degree program and concentration: M.A. Social Enterprise, concentrating in cultural international development with a focus in migration studies
Career Interest: "I want to create engaging, exciting, educational, and epic projects with enthusiastic people all around the world. I hope to do this through research and development for cultural preservation, integration and education for migrants, and refugees, throughout resettlement."
"It's almost serendipitous how I came to AU, and in the Social Enterprise program. I've always wanted to do more with music, and the arts, and throughout my first Master's degree I started finding more ways the arts can be a vehicle for change. Moving to D.C. was the next step, and by combining the program, with the location, my previous experience, the people and the opportunities it was the best, and most exciting option. It's not only about the education and the classes, but being around people who are inspired, excited and pushing the envelope in various ways. Say yes to the opportunities, because even if you don't know where it leads, it will be an amazing experience."
Katrina Calixte |Maplewood, New Jersey
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, Missouri
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. ”
Lindsay Dahl | Silver Spring, Maryland
Degree: Boston University, B.S. in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations, Minor in Political Science, 2008
Pre-AU employment: Digital PR and Marketing Client Manager at Blue State Digital and Edelman
Current employment: Digital Project Manager at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
AU degree and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, Concentration in Cross-sector Partnership Building and Innovation Strategy
Career interest: Knowledge sharing and innovation across the public and private sectors to tackle issues related to environmental sustainability, poverty, and economic development
“After working in marketing and communications for corporations and nonprofits, I wanted a program that offered ways to build and try out new skills, and expose myself in more depth to the social issues I care about most. American University's Social Enterprise program perfectly aligns this level of breadth and depth, approaching entrepreneurship with a social mindset from both practical and theoretical perspectives. I loved the idea of tailoring my degree to my strengths and interests, as well as the prospect of working and studying alongside a diverse group of passionate, creative students, faculty, and alumni alike. The support system and resources offered by the SE program cannot be understated.”
Ifunanya Enezuagu | Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Degree: B.A. Sociology/Anthropology University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Pace University
Pre-AU Employment: Vital Voices
AU Degree program and concentration: Social Enterprise M.A. with a concentration in international trade
Career Interest: "I plan to work with communities and governments in LDC's to develop self-sustaining community institutions and effectively negotiate trade deals with foreign corporations and governments."
"I chose the SE program because of its potential to use entrepreneurship and economic objectives to achieve social agendas. The SE program is rooted in practicality."
Caroline Englund | Fribourg, Switzerland
Degree: School of Management (Haute Ecole de Gestion), B.S. Business and Administration, 2013; Suffolk University M.B.A. Masters of Business Adminstration, 2015
Pre-AU Employment: Assistant Marketing and Development Director at Red Door Hospitality
AU Degree program and concentration: M.A. Social Enterprise with a concentration in Impact Consulting
Career Interest: Impact Consulting and Impact Investment
"I was in the International Development program, I then took Stephanie's class and I realize that it was closer to my professional objectives. I have an MBA, so I know the business side, but I feel like there is other strategies, still related to business strategies that can be applied to social enterprises and to other institutions aiming to make the world a better place."
Rina Fetahaj | Prishtina, Kosovo
Degree: London Metropolitan University, B.A. in Marketing and Psychology, 2010
Pre-AU Employment: Project Officer for HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Kosovo
AU Degree program and concentration: Social Enterprise with a concentration in Entrepreneurship and Management for Social Change
Career Interest: Empowering marginalized individuals through Social Entrepreneurship
“Through this degree, I will be better prepared to work with like-minded individuals across sectors, individuals who strive for social impact through collaboration with the aim of empowering local communities and marginalized groups.”
Charlotte Ingalls | New Orleans, Louisiana
Degree: B.A. in History and Spanish, Minor in American Studies, University of Alabama
Pre-AU Employment: Spanish Teacher, Mount Carmel Academy
AU Degree program and concentration: Social Enterprise M.A. with a concentration in Impact Consulting and Intercultural Communication
Career Interest: Educating and empowering marginalized communities in Latin America so that they may benefit from the global market economy
"I was first drawn to social enterprise in the way that it brings together what I thought to be irreconcilable entities: social advocacy and successful business models. Ultimately, I chose American's program because of the vast knowledge, experience, and compassion of everyone I met affiliated with the program."
Will Kelland | New York, New York
Degree: B.A. in Leadership Studies with a minor in Religious Studies, University of Richmond
Pre-AU Employment: Kassala University Professor for the Sudan Volunteer Programme
AU Degree program and concentration: Social Enterprise M.A. with a concentration in international development and a focus on vulnerable communities
Career Interest: Working with vulnerable communities and finding ways of empowering them
"I chose this program because I liked that it focused on practicality and hands-on experience, as opposed to just theory."
Anamika Kumpawat | San Jose, California
Photo by Professor Tomasko
Degree: Arizona State University, B.S. in Social and Behavior Sciences, Minor in Criminology & Criminal Justice and Communications, 2016
Pre-AU Employment: Intern for Senator McCain Campaign and Marketing Intern for Glendale Chamber of Commerce
AU Degree program and concentration: Social Enterprise with a concentration in Peace and Conflict
Career Interest: “My career interest is working as a Profiler within the FBI or law enforcement.”
“I chose Social Enterprise to gain a different perspective. I have always wanted to help others and have been fascinated by the brain and people in general. This program allows me to explore my passion while being able to give back to the community and helping others.”
Saloua Lahlou | Fes, Morocco
photo by Khavi Homsombath
Degree: Jacksonville State
University, B.S. in Applied Mathematics & Computer Science.
Degree: Georgia Institute of Technology, MS in Industrial Engineering in Health
Current Employment: Health and Life Sciences Senior Solutions Consultant,
AU Degree program and concentration: M.A Social Enterprise.
Career Interest: Social Entrepreneurship, Youth Education, Women empowerment,
and poverty alleviation.
“I was attracted to this program as I
needed to gain the skills necessary to grow my own non-profit organization; Crafting
Love and Hope. This program allows me to be mentored by leaders in the social
enterprise sector. The diversity in the program allows me to interact with
inspiring individuals who come from different backgrounds and are working on
solving various social problems. I hope to learn the skills needed to be a
successful social entrepreneur and a leader in my area of interest. “
Seamus B. T. McCarthy | Cape Town, South Africa
Degree: University of Cape Town: Bachelor of Social Science, Post Graduate Diploma in Management, Graduate School of Business MBA Candidate 2017
Pre-AU Employment: USAID Ethiopia and an adventure tourism startup in Lesotho
AU Degree program and concentration: Social Enterprise M.A. with a concentration in entrepreneurship and management for social change
Career Interest: "I would like to work with an organization aimed at helping underserved communities and people to solve the problems they have with the solutions they want."
"I applied for this program after having just completed an MBA because I knew I needed to do a program that was centered on the social aspect of enterprise, and so this M.A. made perfect sense."
Christine McCurdy | New York, New York
Degree: Johns Hopkins University, B.A. in International Studies, Minor in Spanish Language & Hispanic Culture, 2009
Pre-AU Employment: Co-Director with Peace Project Nicaragua; Program Officer, Farmer-to-Farmer Program with Partners of the Americas.
Current Employment: Program Director at Urban Alliance
AU Degree program and concentration: Social Enterprise with a focus in Entrepreneurship for Poverty Alleviation
Career Interest: Women's employment and economic development in developing countries, specifically Latin America “Social Enterprise is the ideal fit for my passion for human-centered work, desire to tackle large-scale social challenges, and interest in building strategic and quantitative skills in order to effectively tackle these challenges. I wanted a bit of business but wanted to make sure to keep my concentration on positive social change and surround myself with people from other countries, industries, and with experiences different from mine. Luckily, I've found the perfect balance in the Social Enterprise program at AU! After observing a couple of classes and meeting students from earlier SE cohorts, I knew it was for me.”
Betül Özyılmaz | İstanbul, Turkey
Degree: Science Education, Boğaziçi University
Pre-AU Employment: Communication & Research at Ashoka Turkey
AU Degree program and concentration: Social Enterprise with a concentration in Impact Measurement and Evaluation
Career Interest: "I want to work together with social change agents to leverage their positive and collective impact based on research and reliable data in their specific fields."
"I chose to study Social Enterprise at American University's School of International Service because of its interdisciplinary approach where shared wisdom thrives. The program provides us with a unique opportunity of a diverse network including social entrepreneurs, NGOs, business professionals, government agencies and professors in social innovation which is truly needed for having an international perspective on global challenges."
Maribel Rodriguez | Brooklyn, New York
Photo by Professor Tomasko
Degree: Rochester Institute of Technology, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Professional Photographic Illustration, 2013
Pre-AU Employment: Kindergarten Teaching Fellow at Basis Independent Brooklyn, Photography Teaching Assistant at The International Center of Photography
Current Employment: Teaching aide at the Friendship Heights Children Center
AU Degree program and concentration: Social Enterprise with a concentration in Children Studies; Education, Ethnography, Psychology, Art and Behavioral Therapy
Career Interest: “I hope to one day open a center for children from low income backgrounds, offering extra-curricular activities and guidance to enhance their natural potential for emotional, social, physical and academic growth. In the meantime I would like to work with a firm dedicated to helping children through Social and Emotional Learning.”
“I chose Social Enterprise because I met people here who are passionate about creating, maintaining and understanding social impact. This program was the right fit for me because it is a positive place with positive values.”
Karen Romero | Chalco, Mexico
Degree: M.Ed Educational
Psychology, University of Utah 2012, and B.S. Psychology, University of Utah 2009
Research Assistant, Library of Congress; Director of Women in Jeopardy Program,
YWCA; Therapist, Rape Recovery Center Utah; Emergency Services Specialist,
American Red Cross
Services Director, Ayuda
Degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, concentration in
gender violence and human trafficking in Latin America.
Career Interest: Addressing gender
violence and human trafficking in a holistic environment, utilizing access to
education to create social impact.
“I chose the Social
Enterprise program at American because of its unique structure. The program
combines the theory and practice of social enterprise in a model which allows
me to gain practical skills as well as exposure to various areas of social
entrepreneurship and innovation. In my career, I want to have the knowledge and
foundation to create and contribute to meaningful social impact, I feel that
this program provides me those opportunities.”
Bryant Sewell | Woodbridge, Virginia
photo by: Khavi Homsombath
Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Christopher Newport University
Pre-AU Employment: District of Columbia Public Schools, Office of the Chief of Staff
AU Degree program and concentration: Masters of Arts in Social Enterprise
Career Interest: Anything that empowers those who have been marginalized or excluded to develop options for change.
And a short paragraph stating your motivation for pursuing a MA in Social Enterprise: Albert Einstein stated “In the middle of every difficulty, lies opportunity.” This quote encapsulates what drives me and those who pursue opportunities in our field. I chose a program located within American University’s School of International Service to focus inward, here on local communities. Around the world like-minded changemakers are developing innovative and sustainable solutions that are connecting or reintegrating segments of our population into the economy and civil society. My goal is to combine shared global values and the creative freedoms that the field of Social Enterprise provides to disrupting the compounding effects of inequality in America. Lastly, it was the people. Before applying, I had the opportunity to meet current student, alums, and faculty, the close-knit nature of the program did me in.
Jennifer Stutman | Baltimore, Maryland
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”
Rebecca Villalobos | Tulsa, Oklahoma
Degree: Oral Roberts University, B.A. in International Relations with a minor in French, 2012
Pre-AU Employment: Program Manager at Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth
Current Employment: Social Innovations Fellow at Pact
AU Degree program and concentration: Social Enterprise with a concentration in Economic Development and Impact Assessment
“I chose the Social Enterprise program because it had an extreme practitioner focus and fostered an environment where you would be able to not only learn from your faculty, but also your peers who have really done the work and are updated on the latest trends. Other programs that I looked at did not offer this. Since I have joined the Social Enterprise I have been able to tailor the program to my exact needs and have found a second family with my peers and faculty.”
Julie Walton | Tacoma, Washington
Degree: Greenville College, B.A. 2001
Pre-AU Employment: Building Bridges; Washington Women's Network
Current Employment: I work as the Student Affairs Assistant here in SIS, supporting student leaders at the undergrad and graduate level.
AU Degree program and concentration: M.A. Social Enterprise
Career Interest: Improving advocacy for orphaned and fostered children and their primary caregivers by giving children and their caregivers a voice with the bureaucracies and systems that dictate their standards of care.
"I chose Social Enterprise as I am someone who wants to get good work done and I see practical skills and implementation throughout the SE program. After several trips to children's homes in Sri Lanka, I have become increasingly burdened by the structures and mandate handed down from international organizations that have not yielded positive benefits on the ground and yet primary caregivers and children themselves have little to no opportunity to share the impact of these decisions on their lives. I'd like to be a piece of bridging this gap so we are doing the best we can to support the most vulnerable citizens of the world. I believe we need these children and their impact, ideas, and potential just as much as they may need us to improve advocacy concerning their care."