Could you give us your classic Notre Dame intro?
I am a senior. I am studying Psychology and Global affairs. My concentration is Peace Studies and I am minoring in Social Entrepreneurship. I am from the suburbs of Chicago but I currently live in Jacksonville Florida.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do at the Pulte Institute?
Yes, so this past summer I received one of the Pulte fellowships and I helped with the Young African Leaders Initiative, which was basically entrepreneurs from all across Africa. They are usually able to come in person to Notre Dame, but it was virtual because of the pandemic. It's a program where they are given business guidance and training. So I interned with the core team and helped with the communications and scheduling activities and figuring out how to run everything remotely. Now currently, as part of my experiential capstone for the minor, I am working for an impact investment fund manager called Beneficial Returns and I'm getting paid, partly through Beneficial Returns and partly through Pulte for my work there.
How long have you been working here?
I guess that would be since June 2020.
Can you tell us a little bit about some of your favorite experiences working within that virtual setting, some of the impacts that it had on you, and some of the things you were able to do?
For the YALI program, I really enjoyed getting to network with all of the entrepreneurs. Everyone is doing such really great work from women's empowerment to creating better access to quality education in their respective countries. Just getting to talk to them, along with the games we had some set up, was really fun. I was also able to watch some of the videos that they watched. There were lessons by Melissa Paulsen and Ed Jurkovic and other people who work at the Pulte Institute and those were super informative. I just really love experiential learning so kind of seeing how social entrepreneurship works outside the classroom was really cool. And then, I've mostly been doing marketing communications remotely but last week, I was able to go to Mexico on an investor trip so I helped run that. I got to meet so many cool people: investors in Beneficial Returns, other social entrepreneurs, social workers, and freelance consultants. And I actually got to meet my co-workers in person. We got to visit four borrower sites and we also met three other social entrepreneurs, and it was such a great experience, one of the best things I've done since being here.
What impact has your experience had on your academic and career path?
I first took Intro to Social Entrepreneurship as part –I was initially in international development studies– of the Global Affairs major. I ended up really, really loving it and the idea of being able to uplift people out of poverty through business and different systems and structures that are already in place around the world or empowering people to start their own businesses. And so I kind of fell in love with the idea of social entrepreneurship, but didn't know a lot about it. So I was really excited when they created the minor. I switched gears really quickly. I was a junior in my second semester when I ended up switching my minors. But I was able to do the virtual Social Entrepreneurship course over winter break last year, and that was incredible. Now with my capstone, I did work over the summer and my current work with Beneficial Returns and all these experiences have really, really impacted the way that I see development and just look at the world but also influenced what I wanted to do next year. I still don't quite know but I definitely am on the track of social entrepreneurship.
Why do you think it's important for students to be engaged in global development?
I think it's important for students to be engaged with Global Development because there are so many people and cultures, religions and traditions that we don't know about just from how we've grown up. Being able to experience different parts of the world and different lifestyles is really important in having a holistic education and just moving forward in life, knowing that not everyone lives the same way as you and that there are different problems that people are facing.
And I also think that everyone at Notre Dame is really bright and passionate and I think if we can channel those skills and that energy towards alleviating some of these big systemic problems that our world faces that we can do a lot of really great work. I've only just seen a glimpse of it and it's already so inspiring to see what people can do with so little and that really creates hope when there are a lot of bad or negative things going on in the world.