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Santa Clara University Undergraduates Beef Up Resumes While Doing Social Good Abroad
Thursday, May. 17, 2012
Like most college students, Santa Clara University junior Misa Mascovich faces a tough job market when she graduates — but she hopes that doing market research this summer for a social entrepreneur in Uganda might open some doors.
A communications major specializing in film, Mascovich is one of 10 University “Global Social Benefit Fellows” who will gain valuable business experience conducting field research for social entrepreneurs in far-flung nations.
The new program is designed to offer Santa Clara students an opportunity to engage in practical social justice abroad, says Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara, which runs GSBF.
Mascovich and the nine other Fellows — all juniors— have spent the past quarter preparing for projects. Her three-person team will work with a Ugandan solar-product distribution company, Solar Sister, analyzing women's solar lantern feature preferences, creating videos on how to use the solar products, and examining how women are becoming social entrepreneurs in Africa.
The Fellows, also being deployed to Paraguay and India, are the first students in this pilot program, made possible by a $2 million grant that links SCU students with a worldwide network of social entrepreneurs who have been through the university’s Global Social Benefit Incubator.
None of the students currently expects to be a social entrepreneur, but all expect what they learn in this fellowship to vastly change the arc of their future careers.
“This whole fellowship is so much more than I expected it to be,” said political science student Tori Yundt, one of Mascovich’s teammates. “It’s helping to mold us to things we want to do, and opening so many doors for the future.”
The groups are highly interdisciplinary, by design. Engineering, political science and liberal arts students are on the teams, and all will use the experience next year to develop their senior projects.
When the students come back from their summer trips, they will spend two weeks helping another 20 social entrepreneurs from all over the world, who are coming to SCU for the university’s mentoring program, the Global Social Benefit Incubator™, or GSBI. GSBI, now in its 10th year, provides competitively chosen social entrepreneurs with eight months of mentorship and training -- including an intensive two-week summer “boot camp” on SCU’s campus – by Silicon Valley executives and SCU faculty.
“If you would have asked me six months ago what I’d be doing this summer, what I’m doing now wouldn’t have even been a thought,” said Mascovich.
The Global Social Benefit Fellows program was funded by a generous $2 million grant from the RNN 99 Foundation through its trustees Ann Bowers, Barry Fernald, and the late Paul L. Locatelli, S.J., former SCU president.
May 17, 2012