When I applied for the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Fellowship more than two years ago, I had just returned to Virginia after living and working in a rural town in Honduras, establishing a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving educational access for Honduran youth. Energized, contemplative, and impassioned to learn how to lead organizations more effectively, I applied to New York University’s Wagner School because of the unique opportunity provided by the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Fellowship.
The Reynolds program has changed my life, my career trajectory, the way I see the world and my own role within it. During my time at the Wagner School, my Reynolds colleagues pushed me to pursue my ideas, gave me critical feedback, and provided a support system from which I gained strength, knowledge and wisdom. Alongside my graduate school work, I worked for Ashoka building a youth entrepreneurship initiative in New York City. I designed and led the Dell Social Innovation Challenge Summer Institute, where I worked with 19 fellows from 14 countries developing social ventures. I also served as President of NYU Bridge, Wagner’s student organization dedicated to social innovation. I soaked up every opportunity to read, write, learn, share, tinker, explore, attend events, listen, meet new people and think.
Currently, I am working with the University of Pennsylvania to design and build their first social impact accelerator program to train the next generation of social innovators. The Penn Social Impact House will take place in the Berkshires August 12 – 25th, 2013 with 22 fellows and more than 60 mentors engaged in social innovation globally. Furthermore, I am currently a Fellow at the Governance Lab at NYU, where I am building a free, online community for those interested in teaching and learning how to work collaboratively to solve public problems and improve people’s lives.
My vision is to re-think the way we understand learning. I am committed to working with the next generation of collaborative problem solvers. Words will not suffice for the gratitude I feel towards the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation. The Fellowship has meant the world to me and I am grateful for the tremendous opportunity to improve my skills and change the way I approach my work and the world.