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Social Enterprise Students

Congratulations to the graduates of the Social Enterprise Program!

Kate Burke

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Kate Burke | Santa Barbara, CA

Undergraduate 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: "Improving Workplace Mental Health".

Thuy Dinh

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Thuy Dinh | Hanoi, Vietnam

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

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

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

Post-AU employment: Program Development Associate, Social Enterprise Program; Grameen Foundation; Project H.E.A.R

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

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: "Using Participatory Filmmaking To Give Women A Voice In Their Economic Development".

Amy Gillespie

Amy Gillespie | Los Angeles, CA

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, Logoyourself.com, American University

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

Post-AU employment: Executive Assistant to the Dean of School of International Service (SIS), 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: "Do Good Images"

Jennifer Hartzell

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Jennifer Hartzell | Elk Grove, IL

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

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

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise Internships/work while at AU: University Partnerships Coordinator, Ashoka's Youth Venture

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: "Starting a Social Enterprise to Lower the Barriers to Becoming Green"

Kate McElligott

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Kate McElligott | Naperville, IL

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

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

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

Internships/work while at AU: Senior Regional Development Officer, Grameen Foundation

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: "Enouraging Risk Taking and Innovation in Philanthropy"

Kerri Murphy

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Kerri Murphy | Stony Point, NY

Degree: Bryant University, B.S. International Business, 2008; American University, M.A. Social Enterprise

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 Summary: Kerri Murphy worked with Kolton.J, a eco-vintage jewelry company in Washington, DC for her practicum. Kolton.J was looking to become a more socially responsible business than its current practice of donating 10% of profits to charity. Kerri laid the groundwork for the creation of a partnership program between Kolton.J and the DC Fashion Foundation, which will create jobs and provide art therapy and other training for disadvantaged women in the Washington, DC area.

Practicum project: "Partnership for Financial Sustainability"

Michael Sayre

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Michael Sayre | Bogota, Colombia

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

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

Post-AU employment: Technical Officer, Root Change

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

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: "Promoting Eco-Tourism in Mexico"

Sara Seavey

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Sara Mizuta Seavey | Wayne, PA

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

Internships/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: "Providing Entrepreneurship Training to Immigrant Women"

Sara Telzer

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Sara Telzer | Claremont, CA

Undegraduate 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: "Enouraging Risk Taking and Innovation in Philanthropy"

Stevie Smyth

Stevie Valdez | Gilbert, AZ

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

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

Internships/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: "Reducing the Risks in Investing in Clean Cooking in East Africa"

Setra Yappi

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Setra Yappi | Surabaya, Indonesia

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

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

Internships/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: "Increase higher education attainment and youth’s employability"

Current Students

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Taryn Bird | Pittsburgh, PA

Degree: Economics and Spanish, Penn State University, 2007

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

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

Work while at AU: Senior Manager, Global Corporate Citizenship, Business Civic Leadership Center, US Chamber of Commerce

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

Nick Boedicker

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Nick Boedicker | Auburn, NY

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
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.”  

Photo by Thuy Dinh

Marc Carr | St. Louis, MO

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

Pre-AU employment: Sale and Marketing Manager AVIS Ghana

AU degree program and concentration: 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. ”  

Photo by Thuy Dinh

Alessandra Clará | San Salvador, El Salvador

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

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

Work While at AU: Graduate Assistant, Office of the Dean of Students, American University. Student Consultant, Global Alliance for Children

Career interest: Build a cross-sector infrastructure in Latin America for social enterprises/entrepreneurs who utilize innovative market-based & economically sustainable solutions to poverty alleviation & economic empowerment in the region. (e.g. Microfinance, impact investing)

“"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. With this program, my hope is to become a driver and leader in this field, and create an environment where social enterprises can flourish and make our world more just for everyone”

Photo by Thuy Dinh

Michael Cobb | Dayton, OH

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

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!"

Federico de Jesus

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Federico A. de Jesús | San Juan, Puerto Rico

Degree: American University, Washington, D.C., 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.

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

Internships/work while at AU: Deputy Executive Director, Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration - PRFAA (Current full-time employee); Associate Director for Governmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Transportation (full-time employee)

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.”

Brad Fisher

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Brad Fisher | Orlean, VA

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

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

Internships/work while at AU: Consulting with Cause, a social enterprise-based bar, and Snack Packers.

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

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Adrienne Gifford | Pittsburgh, PA

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

Pre-AU employment: Herren Associates, Booz Allen Hamilton,

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

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

“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.”

Photo by Thuy Dinh

Lina Guerrero | Bogota, Columbia

Degree: Business and International Studies at American University, 2010

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

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

Current employment: Inter-American Development Bank

"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"

Photo by Thuy Dinh

Erin Houston | Wilmington, DE

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

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

Current employment: Devex

AU degree program and concentration: M.A. Social Enterprise (concentration not decided)

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.

Jeremy Jensen

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Jeremy Jensen | Salt Lake City, UT

Degree: MBA/MA Social Enterprise

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.

AU degree program and concentration: Entrepreneurship and Social Impact Consulting

Internships/work while at AU: In summer of ’12, worked on product development and new market strategy for a tech startup called CoFoundersLab. Learned a ton and it was awesome.

“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: "Starting a Social Enterprise to Build Communities of Activists in the Outdoor Sports and Lifestyle Industry"

John Kavyavu

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John S. Kavyavu | North Kivu, DR Congo

Degree: Pune University INDIA, MA in Development Planning and Administration

Pre-AU employment: Executive Director Pro-Microfinance International

AU degree program and concentration: M.A. in 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.”

Amanda Lotz

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Amanda Lotz | Augusta, NJ

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

Pre-AU Employment: Faison Enterprises

Degree program and concentration: M.A. Social Enterprise

Work while at AU: Program Coordinator, Accion International 

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.”

James McDowell

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James McDowell | Dallas, TX

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.”  

Kristen Moses

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Kristen Moses | Silver Spring, MD

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 SIS: 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."

Stephanie Navarrete

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Stephanie Navarrete | El Paso, Texas

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.”

Jessica Nehrbass

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Jessica Nehrbass | New Orleans, Louisiana

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

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

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.”

Photo by Thuy Dinh

Caitlin Rosser | Amityville, NY

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

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise
Career interest: Organizational financial management and social enterprise consulting; supporting the infrastructure that allows social entrepreneurs and social enterprises to thrive

“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 Schneyer

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Aaron Shneyer | Washington, DC

Degree: Georgetown University, 2005, BA, Cultural Anthropology and Music

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.”

Photo by Thuy Dinh

Eula Sorie | Freetown, Sierra Leone

Degree: Frostburg State University

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise with a concentration in gender and women issues. 2009

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”

Sara Stromer

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Sara Stromer | Monument, CO

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

Pre-AU employment: National Bureau of Economic Research

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."

Pomai Verzon

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Pomai Verzon | Nashville, TN

Degree: Belmont University, B.A. Political Science, 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

Internships/work while at AU: Consultant, Cause

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

“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.”

Photo by Thuy Dinh

Andreas Vailakis | Redlands, CA

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.”

Trey Waters

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Trey Waters | Darien, CT

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.”