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Profile Amelia Peltz, SIS/MA '01

Amelia Peltz, SIS/MA '01

My current title and organization:
My current title is Gender Advisor, Office of HIV/AIDS, United States Agency for International Development.

One turning point that influenced my professional path:
Dr. Samarasinghe’s women and development class gave me a solid foundation in both the theoretical dimensions as well as the practical aspects of the field. In particular, her class helped me to develop the analytical skills that I now use on a day-to-day basis.

Why I chose SIS:
I was drawn to the interdisciplinary nature of the program as well as the fact that we were encouraged to take practical, skills-building courses.

How I make a difference in the world:
Raising my son to be kind and compassionate towards others and the earth.

My field of study:
I have a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a focus on international politics, and a Master of Arts in International Development with a focus on women, gender, and the Middle East.

My world issue of interest:
There are so many issues I care about including global health, women’s rights and empowerment, gender equality, justice and peace in Palestine, and protecting the earth’s oceans and forests.

My professional role model:
Anyone that leads me to an “ah-ha!” moment.

My favorite book:
The writings of Margaret Atwood or Carol Shields have always resonated with me. If you have not read The Handmaid’s Tale or The Stone Diaries run, don’t walk, to your nearest library and check them out today!

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Profile Kate McElligott, SIS/MA '13

SIS Alumni Profile Kate McElligott

Current title and organization:
Director of Strategic Development, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs

Degree(s) and grad year(s):
MA Social Enterprise 2013

What was one important turning point during my time at SIS that influenced my professional path?
There was something really special about my first semester at SIS that I will never forget. It was during those few months that I forged new relationships with fellow students including social activists, strategic thinkers, and global social entrepreneurs. It was a challenge to become a student again after 7 years in international development and while I remember digesting the articles, books and reports we were assigned the discussion we had in class debating current issues on economic theory and our post-financial crisis reality were really the most valuable. I learned so much from my professors, classmates, and special guest speakers. I will look back at that first semester very fondly.

What has been a--possibly unexpected--pivotal experience or piece of knowledge that has led me to my current position?
We studied quite a bit about collective impact, cross-sector collaboration, and private-public partnerships. In my new role at the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs I'm proud to promote collaboration between key players. This allows for a broader ecosystem approach to developing emerging market economies, ensuring greater diversity and resiliency. Private corporations, government agencies and social enterprises all have a critical role to play.

Why I chose SIS?
I liked the focus on experiential learning, the access to professionals outside of class, the flexibility of the courses, and the balance of management and business skills with other more academic-based theories. I chose the program because I knew I wanted to continue to work in the social enterprise space but expand my knowledge base and skill set. For me it was the perfect opportunity to do so.

How I make a difference in the world?
I go to work every day hoping that what I do makes a difference. I'm currently excited about promoting the work that small and growing businesses have on their local economies in countries like Brazil, India, South Africa and Kenya. I'm hopeful that I can help strategic partners from all sectors successfully fund and promote initiatives that benefit the lives of the poor in these economies. There is so much latent talent, enthusiasm and willingness to take risks that can be harnessed for good.

Field of study?
Social enterprise

World issue of interest?
Economic development and women's empowerment

Professional role model?
I learn something from everyone I work with.

Favorite book?
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; Betty Smith

Favorite movie?
The Usual Suspects; neo-noir film by Brian Singer

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Profile Federico A. de Jesús, SIS/MA '14

Federico A. de Jesús

Current title and organization: 
Deputy Director, Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (Office of the Governor in Washington, DC)

Degree(s) and grad year(s):
MA in Social Enterprise, 2014 (AU/SIS); BA in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics & Government (CLEG), 2001 (AU/SPA)

What was one important turning point during my time at SIS that influenced my professional path? 
The key moment for me during my two years at SIS was during my practicum, Innovation in Hungary. As part of this capstone project, I consulted for Hungary's National Innovation Office, which is part of the Ministry for National Economy. I was fortunate enough to travel to Budapest twice and meet with government officials, start-up entrepreneurs, civil society actors, and others. This experience, together with the final report and presentation I gave along with two other student consultants on how to maximize the use of “crowdfunding” in Hungary, brought together everything I learned during my time as a Masters student and opened my eyes to new ways to facilitate innovation in the economy and government. 

What has been a--possibly unexpected--pivotal experience or piece of knowledge that has led me to my current position? 
I wouldn't say that there is one such experience. I would say that I have learned that when you perform at your best for a worthwhile cause you believe in, even if you're not getting paid for it, good things tend to happen. It is easy to get discouraged, but not giving up is important because you might not reach your ultimate goal immediately, but other doors might open that could lead you to the same objective through a different path.

Why I chose SIS? 
I chose SIS because it is the only school of international service with an MA in Social Enterprise, it is one of the top ten international studies schools in the country, and since I obtained my BA from AU, I knew first hand the quality of its professors and student body. 

How I make a difference in the world? 
During my current position, I am dedicated to taking advantage of every opportunity available in Washington, DC to improve the quality of life of the people of Puerto Rico, which is where I am from. That means working with a team that focuses on making sure the U.S. federal government treats Puerto Ricans fairly while adequately addressing the unique challenges we face, and leveraging private sector and NGO engagement for the benefit of Puerto Rico. Our agency also has regional offices in Florida and New York, which provide services to Puerto Ricans that reside in those states, and our diaspora at large. In my personal time, I also volunteer and contribute to several charitable organizations and social causes. The reason I went back to school and chose this degree was so I could have additional tools that can enhance my contributions to build a more just and peaceful world, one small yet effective step at a time. 

Field of study? 
Social Enterprise

World issue of interest? 
Poverty eradication, international economic development

Professional role models? 
My father, grandfathers, Nelson Mandela, Senator Ted Kennedy, Senator Elizabeth Warren

Favorite book? 
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

Favorite movies? 
Spaceballs, The Gladiator, Braveheart 

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Profile Nick Boedicker, SIS/MA '14

Nick Boedicker

Current title and organization: 
Founder and Managing Director, Strategic Good (strategicgood.com)

Degree(s) and grad year(s): 
Master of Arts in Social Enterprise (SIS’14)

What was one important turning point during my time at SIS that influenced my professional path? 
The Social Enterprise Program begins with “The Plunge”, an immersive real-world consulting experience that fostered in me a love for working with small nonprofits and social entrepreneurs.

What has been a--possibly unexpected--pivotal experience or piece of knowledge that has led me to my current position?
During the second year of my program, Professor Bob Tomasko challenged a group of us to create and execute a design thinking workshop for development professionals in DC. It was an amazing experience and has become an important tool in my current work.
   

Why I chose SIS?
There is no other school in the world where you can find a skills-based social enterprise program within a school of international studies. It was a perfect match for me. Also, I wouldn’t want to study anywhere but DC; this is where the action is.

How I make a difference in the world? 
Strategic Good, an organization I started during my time at AU, provides support to nonprofits and social enterprises around the world to aid them in fulfilling their organizational goals.

Field of study?
Social Enterprise, Nonprofit Management

World issue of interest? 
Landmines, Livelihoods, Disability

Professional role model? 
Jerry Hauser, The Management Center

Favorite book? 
The Trusted Advisor by David Maister

Favorite movie? 
Point Break

Read more about Nick Boedicker's 2014 Social Enterprise Capstone Practicum Project.

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Profile Stephanie Navarrete, SIS/MA '14

Stephanie Navarrete

Current title and organization
Independent Consultant, stephanienavarrete.com

Degree(s) and grad year(s)
B.A. Honors Arts & Letters, 2010 / M.A. Social Enterprise, 2014

What was one important turning point during my time at SIS that influenced my professional path?
The Social Enterprise program got me questioning and thinking deeper about corporate social responsibility (CSR), what it means, and if it should included as part of a company's organizational structure. Furthermore, McDonough and Braungart's breakthrough vision for sustainability opened my eyes to the innovative possibilities for product development in the future. 

What has been a--possibly unexpected--pivotal experience or piece of knowledge that has led me to my current position?
Discovering my knack for entrepreneurship when I was too broke to attend law school has led me to where I am now. I stumbled across the Master's in Social Enterprise program months after launching my own venture. 

Why I chose SIS?
I chose SIS because of the powerhouse it is as a Top 10 APSIA school, but most importantly because it's home to the only social enterprise program within a school of international relations.

How I make a difference in the world?
I try to make a difference in the world with my thoughts, by not staying silent, through small actions, and an unhealthy optimism.

Field of study?
My field of study is broadly human rights and the environment, more specifically how product development affects the latter. I'm interested in researching and testing ways to improve sustainability in production. 

World issue of interest?
I am interested in bringing the true death to fast fashion or re-designing the process so that it brings no harm but rather benefit to its laborers and the environment. 

Professional role model?
My professional role model is Yvon Chouinard because he was willing to put one of his own products out of business after he found out it was damaging the mountains he loved climbing. He went back to the drawing board and came up with a better model. Not surpassingly, the transition proved profitable. I admire Yvon because walks his talk and remains honest all the way. 

Favorite book?
My favorite book is “La Casa de los Espíritus” (The House of Spirits) by Isabel Allende because of the folklore, spice and magic that epitomizes the passionate Latin American region that I so love.

Favorite movie?
Besides superb scenery and soundtrack, solid cinematography, and stellar acting, The Motorcycle Diaries is a favorite film because it brings me back to my roots, to ideals for equality and transparency, a love for travel and cultures, and finally, the inherent need to leave a better world than the one I came into. 

Read more about Stephanie Navarrete's 2014 Social Enterprise Capstone Practicum Project.

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Profile Trey Waters, SIS/MA '14

Trey Waters

Current title and organization
I am in negotiations for a job right now and I can provide a title and name once that gets finalized.

Degree(s) and grad year(s)
Social Enterprise 2014

What was one important turning point during my time at SIS that influenced my professional path?
An important turning point during my time at SIS happened when Professor Fischer introduced me to Andree Simon.  This introduction provided me with an amazing opportunity to gain experience in Financial Inclusion.

What has been a--possibly unexpected--pivotal experience or piece of knowledge that has led me to my current position?
The experience I gained from working with many clients to solve a variety of projects helped to prepare me for the myriad of responsibilities that I have in my current position.

Why I chose SIS?
I chose SIS and the Social Enterprise program because I was looking for a degree that fell in the intersection of Business and International Development.

How I make a difference in the world?
I work with entrepreneurs to help them realize their dreams.

Field of study?
Financial Inclusion and SME development

World issue of interest?
How to sustainably grow the private sector in developing countries.

Professional role model?
My mom

Favorite book?
Catch-22

Favorite movie?
Clue

Read more about Trey Waters' 2014 Social Enterprise Capstone Practicum Project.