Expand AU Menu

Social Enterprise Students

Current Students

Meet the students of the Social Enterprise Program!

Taryn Bird | Pittsburgh, PA

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.

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,

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.”

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!"

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"

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.

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.”

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.”  

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."

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

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 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”

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.”