The Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation announced 23 recipients of its annual GU Impacts fellowship alongside a series of changes to the program Monday.
The program, which sends students to work in social impact organizations for 10 weeks in the summer, is seeing a significant expansion this year, with the program almost doubling from last year’s 16 participants.
87 students completed the application this year., with a 26.4 percent acceptance rate. The program received 73 applications last year.
The 23 fellows will work at nine partner organizations in India, Nicaragua, Peru, the Philippines, Rwanda, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. The fellows will also partake in fall past-programming that includes capstone presentations, reflections and career development.
Some of the new initiatives being piloted in the 2017 fellowship program include the addition of a graduate student from the Global Human Development program. The program is also debuting a partnership with the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, entrepreneurship collaboration space kLab, the Gashora Girls Academy for Science and Technology and Akazi Kanoze Access, a United States Agency for International Development-funded school, in Rwanda.
GU Impacts project manager Matthew Fortier said these changes are part of the program’s efforts to expand and reach more communities internationally.
“I’m really excited about the program this year because it’s the largest program to date,” Fortier said. “We also expanded the number of partnerships, and with that we are entering new geography — we are working in East Africa, specifically in Rwanda, for the first time, and we’re placing students in three different partnerships in the same country, which is really exciting.”
According to Fortier, one of the most important aspects of the program is how it teaches Georgetown students to apply what they learn in the classroom to real -life situations.
“Whether it’s working for a nonprofit, a for-profit, or a government initiative, students can apply the skills they learn in the classroom, and that will not only help them to refine their skills, but also to determine how to make the most their remaining time at Georgetown,” Fortier said.
According to Fortier, the program hopes to provide students with an experience that will stay with them through their time at Georgetown and beyond.
“The hope is that these experiences will be transformative and that students will take their experiences with them for the rest of their lives, and as they go on to make important decisions in the various positions that they hold, that this GU Impacts experience will stay with them and influence them in a positive way moving forward,” Fortier said.
Beatrice Hociota (MSB ’19), a GU Impacts alum who participated in a partnership with Mochila Digital in Managua, Nicaragua, and now serves as the program’s alumni mentor, said the program allowed her to combine her skills with her career interests to grow both personally and professionally.
“Through GU Impacts I was able to work in a business setting while also improving my Spanish speaking skills and learning about a different culture,” Hociota wrote in an email to The Hoya. “It gave me the opportunity to learn to be okay with being uncomfortable – both personally and professionally. The growth that I have been able to see in myself and in my peers as a result of this fellowship has been incredible.”
Louisa Christen (SFS ’19), who is part of the 2017 class of GU Impacts Fellows, will be working with Agora Partnerships in Managua, Nicaragua. Christen said GU Impacts is important because it empowers different groups around the world to exercise their innate potential.
“It is a fellowship that, as a whole, is dedicated to actualizing social change, leveling the playing field around the world and improving local communities,” Christen wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Though the program’s mission is carried out in the local community, its vision reaches much farther. In our globalized world, unlocked human potential undeniably comes around to impact all of us.”
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