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Social Enterprise Students

Current Students

Meet the students of the Social Enterprise Program!

Akhtar Muhammad Abid | Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

Photo of Akhtar Muhammad Abid

Degree: Lahore University of Management Sciences, B.S. in Accounting and Finance, 2015

Pre-AU Employment: Oil and Gas Development Company

AU Degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise with a concentration in Impact Measurement and Evaluation

Career Interest: “I want to work in the education sector, especially to help children out of child labor.”

“I had this feeling that if I am 70 years old the only reason that can actually make me happy and proud will be "if I have worked for the betterment of the society and I have been able to change the lives of some people for the better". And I believe social entrepreneurship will give me the best possible way to go about it.”

Deborah Agustoni | Ticino, Switzerland

SIS Deborah Agustoni 2015

photo by Khavi Homsombath

Degree: George Mason University, B.A. Conflict Analysis and Resolution, minors: Women and Gender Studies; International and Comparative Studies, 2012

Pre-AU Employment: United Nations World Food Program (WFP)

Current Employment: Counter-Trafficking and Protection Unit Program Assistant at the International Organization for Migration (IOM)

AU Degree program and concentration: M.A. Social Enterprise

Career Interest: Human trafficking, alternative trauma healing, women empowerment, and conflict transformation.

"The Social Enterprise program resonated with me immediately because of its hands-on approach, space for students' creativity and emphasis on innovation and personalized coaching. I was inspired by the program and its community, and I quickly realized I found the right space where to start materializing my own ideas into the world while being surrounded by creative and social-oriented people. The social enterprise program is like an incubator where students and their ideas are encouraged and supported to thrive."

Brittany Ashenfelter | Earlham, Iowa

SIS SE Brittany Ashenfelter 2014

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

Degree: B.A. Sociology, George Washington University, 2013

Pre-AU Employment: Lynne Featherstone MP & Roberta Blackman- Woods MP, Business Development at True2o

Current Employment: Business Development at Signal Vine

AU Degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, Concentration: Intrapreneurship

Career Interest: Intrapreneurship, Corporate Social Responsibility, Impact Investing

"I chose the M.A. in Social Enterprise program at American because I believe it will best give me the knowledge and experience to successfully grow my company in a way that benefits not just my company, but the communities in which we work as well. Business empathy is important in solving systematic issues and this program not only acknowledges that, but focuses on how to best address that concept."

Katrina Calixte |Maplewood, New Jersey

SIS SE Katrina Calixte 2014

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

Degree: Rutgers University, Political Science, 2009

Pre-AU Employment: Senate Committee on Homeland Security and United States Department of Agriculture

AU Degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, Concentration: Impact Investing

Career Interest: I would like to learn from and contribute to innovative community-based programs that changes lives around the world. I am particularly interested in perfecting the unique due diligence process for investment in social enterprises, learning how to scale impact and increasing financial sustainability. 

"I chose the social enterprise program because I feel strongly about combining and diversifying approaches to solving social issues. The social enterprise program provides interdisciplinary and cross-sector hands on experience that will help combine my experience in government and politics with my passion for innovation, financial inclusion, and social justice."

Juny Canenguez | Leesburg, Virginia

SIS Juny Canenguez 2015

photo by Khavi Homsombath

Degree:B.S. Business Management, George Mason University

Pre-AU Employment:Recruitment and Outreach Officer at the U.S. Department of State

AU Degree program and concentration: M.A. Social Enterprise with a concentration in managing people, organizations and projects

Career Interest:U.S. Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State

“Through the MA in Social Enterprise program my biggest passions come together -- the world of business and international public and private sectors.I am glad to be in a program composed of a group of diverse individuals who want to solve the world’s social problems through the use of effective business practices.”  

Marc Carr | St. Louis, Missouri

Photo by Thuy Dinh

Degree: Webster University, MBA and University of Mississippi, B.A in International Studies

Pre-AU employment: Sale and Marketing Manager AVIS Ghana

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise with a concentration in Impact Investing

Career interest: Impact Investing

“American University's Social Enterprise Program has given me the opportunity to pursue my passion for social change in a strategic way. Through practical experience, and rigorous study, I am building the skill sets that will make an effective agent of social change. ”  

Magali Caceres Cespedes | Asuncion, Paraguay

SIS Magali Caceres Cespedes 2015

photo by Khavi Homsombath

Degree: B.A in International Affair with concentrations in International Development and Latin American Studies, Minor in Political Science, George Washington University (2013)

Pre-AU Employment: Director of International Relations and External Grants, Ministry of Youth of Paraguay

Current Employment: Deputy Executive Director, International Young Leaders Assembly and International Advisor to the Ministry of Youth (Pro Bono) 

AU Degree program and concentration: M.A in Social Enterprise

Potential Concentration: Strategic Management for Change and Innovation in Government

Career Interest: social innovation, youth development, innovation in government, effective management for change 

"I chose the Masters Program in Social Enterprise because I believe it will provide me with the right set of tools, knowledge, and experiences to make a greater difference in my country, Paraguay. I am passionate about transforming lives and addressing social issues with innovative approaches, both from the government and private sector perspectives. I believe the SE program is the perfect fit for young, passionate, leaders that want to transform their communities, nations, and world."

Alessandra Clará | San Salvador, El Salvador

Photo by Thuy Dinh

Degree: Johns Hopkins University, B.S. Business, Concentration: Management, 2013

AU degree program and concentration: M.A. Social Enterprise

Current employment: Social Enterprise Coordinator, American University. Social Enterprise Student Consultant for: ConTextos and Global Alliance for Children

Career interest: Social Enterprise consulting in Latin America in the areas of: income generating streams for non-profits, corporate social responsibility, and the implementation of business strategies to solve social problems for for-profit, non-profit and hybrid organizations

“I am passionate about Social Enterprises. In a world where there is a pressing need for social change; social enterprises bring out the best of human nature: innovation and social empathy. They are the perfect combination of social responsibility, business principles, efficiency and sustainability. My goal is to build a cross-sector infrastructure in Latin America for social enterprises that utilize innovative market-based, design thinking & economically sustainable solutions to poverty alleviation & economic empowerment.”

Lindsay Dahl | Silver Spring, Maryland

Photo of Lindsay Dahl

Degree: Boston University, B.S. in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations, Minor in Political Science, 2008

Pre-AU employment: Digital PR and Marketing Client Manager at Blue State Digital and Edelman

Current employment: Digital Project Manager at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

AU degree and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, Concentration in Cross-sector Partnership Building and Innovation Strategy

Career interest: Knowledge sharing and innovation across the public and private sectors to tackle issues related to environmental sustainability, poverty, and economic development

“After working in marketing and communications for corporations and nonprofits, I wanted a program that offered ways to build and try out new skills, and expose myself in more depth to the social issues I care about most. American University's Social Enterprise program perfectly aligns this level of breadth and depth, approaching entrepreneurship with a social mindset from both practical and theoretical perspectives. I loved the idea of tailoring my degree to my strengths and interests, as well as the prospect of working and studying alongside a diverse group of passionate, creative students, faculty, and alumni alike. The support system and resources offered by the SE program cannot be understated.”

Rachel Fauber | Rockville, Maryland

SIS SE Profile Rachel Fauber 2014

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

Degree: Towson University, Mass Communication, Environmental Studies, 2009

Pre-AU Employment: National Institute on Retirement Security, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Washington DC, Himmelrich Public Relations

Current employment: Manager of Membership Services, National Institute on Retirement Security

AU Degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise

Career Interest: Innovation in the nonprofit sector, cross-sector partnerships, building the next generation young leaders and entrepreneurs equipped with the skills needed to tackle pressing global issues

"I chose American University's Social Enterprise Program because it offered a unique community of staff, faculty and classmates who all share my personal values. The program fosters creativity and innovation, allowing students to build a personal curriculum of classes that match their interests and passions, while plugging us into robusts networks of practitioners and organizations."

Rina Fetahaj | Prishtina, Kosovo

Photo of Rina Fetahaj

Degree: London Metropolitan University, B.A. in Marketing and Psychology, 2010

Pre-AU Employment: Project Officer for HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Kosovo  

AU Degree program and concentration: Social Enterprise with a concentration in Entrepreneurship and Management for Social Change

Career Interest: Empowering marginalized individuals through Social Entrepreneurship

“Through this degree, I will be better prepared to work with like-minded individuals across sectors, individuals who strive for social impact through collaboration with the aim of empowering local communities and marginalized groups.”

Lina Guerrero | Bogota, Colombia

Photo by Thuy Dinh

Degree: American University, B.S.-B.A. Business and International Studies, 2010

Pre-AU employment: Ashoka, National Council of La Raza, Office of Congressman Brad Miller

Work while at AU: Inter-American Development Bank

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, with a concentration in project management and evaluation.

Career interest: Social innovation and social entrepreneurs in Latin America

"I chose this program because it allows me to combine international development and business courses and it provides a great network of people that are passionate about finding ways to bring the private and public sector together to solve some of the world’s most intractable problems. I believe that getting all sectors of society together bring the best and most innovative solutions"

Annea Hapciu | Prishtina, Kosova

SIS Annea Hapciu 2015

photo by Khavi Homsombath

Degree: University of Dayton, Bachelor of Sciences in Business Administration (BSBA): Entrepreneurship & Marketing

Pre-AU Employment: KosovaLive Organisation & N'Yoga

Current Employment: N/A

AU Degree program and concentration: SIS: SE with a concentration in Media Production for Social Change

Career Interest: As diverse as possible ^_^

“I was attracted to the unique framework of the program - I love that it is truly as flexible as it states on the program description. I hoped to integrate several interests in my graduate program and the SE program given that it is customized to every student enables me to do precisely that. It was even a better surprise to witness how friendly and supportive the SE network of candidates and faculty are as well. “

Catherine Hufnagel | Vienna, VA

SIS SE Profile Catherine Hufnagel

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

Degree: Wake Forest University, B.A. Political Science, minors: Spanish and Latin American Studies, 2009

Pre-AU Employment: Program Coordinator, Farmer-to-Farmer Program, CNFA; Program Assistant, Program for Education Reform in Latin American and the Caribbea, Inter-American Dialogue

Current Employment: Public Policy Project Coordinator, ASCD

AU Degree program and concentration: M.A. Social Enterprise

Career Interest: Youth development in the global south

"I love working for non-profits for their missions, but I've been feeling like we shouldn't have to limit ourselves to just the status quo of public vs private sectors. I'm so excited that the SE program at AU is allowing me to explore new ways of approaching old problems."

John S. Kavyavu | North Kivu, DR Congo

John Kavyavu

Photo by Amy Gillespie

Degree: Pune University India, M.A. Development Planning and Administration

Pre-AU employment: Executive Director Pro-Microfinance International

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise

Internships/work while at AU: Pro-Microfinance International

Career interest: Building a sustainable partnership between Not-for-Profit, Private and Public Sectors to make the world a better place where every child has the opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential for their own good and that of the entire community.

“I’ve been planning to join AU since I came to the U.S. five years ago, but I was not clear which program. When I heard and read about the new M.A. in Social Enterprise program at the School of International Services, I thought this was exactly what I was looking for and jumped in. In fact, this program offers the opportunity to understand effective approaches to create change through sustainable partnership between Not-for-Profit, Private and Public Sectors.”

Anamika Kumpawat | San Jose, California

Photo of Anamika Kumpawat

Photo by Professor Tomasko

Degree: Arizona State University, B.S. in Social and Behavior Sciences, Minor in Criminology & Criminal Justice and Communications, 2016

Pre-AU Employment: Intern for Senator McCain Campaign and Marketing Intern for Glendale Chamber of Commerce

AU Degree program and concentration: Social Enterprise with a concentration in Peace and Conflict

Career Interest: “My career interest is working as a Profiler within the FBI or law enforcement.”

“I chose Social Enterprise to gain a different perspective. I have always wanted to help others and have been fascinated by the brain and people in general. This program allows me to explore my passion while being able to give back to the community and helping others.”

Saloua Lahlou | Fes, Morocco

SIS Saloua Lahlou 2015

photo by Khavi Homsombath

Degree:  Jacksonville State University, B.S. in Applied Mathematics & Computer Science.    

Graduate Degree: Georgia Institute of Technology, MS in Industrial Engineering in Health Systems

Current Employment: Health and Life Sciences Senior Solutions Consultant, Salesforce.

AU Degree program and concentration: M.A Social Enterprise.

Concentration: International Development

Career Interest: Social Entrepreneurship, Youth Education, Women empowerment, and poverty alleviation.

“I was attracted to this program as I needed to gain the skills necessary to grow my own non-profit organization; Crafting Love and Hope. This program allows me to be mentored by leaders in the social enterprise sector. The diversity in the program allows me to interact with inspiring individuals who come from different backgrounds and are working on solving various social problems. I hope to learn the skills needed to be a successful social entrepreneur and a leader in my area of interest. “

Miles Makdisi | Berkeley, California

SIS SE Student Profiles Miles Makdisi

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

Degree: B.S. in Geography, University of Oregon, 2009

Pre-AU employment: Director, Deportes para el Desarrollo, Director of Development, Colombia Lacrosse Association

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise

Career interest: Development and support of programs aimed at maximizing human potential through cross-cultural learning and exchange, mentorship, and confidance building

“I chose this program in order to learn from leaders in the Social Enterprise sector, be surrounded by a diverse group of creative and talented people, and gain guidance related to my passions and interests. The program's curriculum focuses on practical skill development and application, and location within a leading global city for social innovation, will allow me to achieve my career goals and expand my network.”

Christine McCurdy | New York, New York

Photo of Christine McCurdy
Degree: Johns Hopkins University, B.A. in International Studies, Minor in Spanish Language & Hispanic Culture, 2009

Pre-AU Employment: Co-Director with Peace Project Nicaragua; Program Officer, Farmer-to-Farmer Program with Partners of the Americas.

Current Employment: Program Director at Urban Alliance

AU Degree program and concentration: Social Enterprise with a focus in Entrepreneurship for Poverty Alleviation

Career Interest: Women's employment and economic development in developing countries, specifically Latin America

“Social Enterprise is the ideal fit for my passion for human-centered work, desire to tackle large-scale social challenges, and interest in building strategic and quantitative skills in order to effectively tackle these challenges. I wanted a bit of business but wanted to make sure to keep my concentration on positive social change and surround myself with people from other countries, industries, and with experiences different from mine. Luckily, I've found the perfect balance in the Social Enterprise program at AU! After observing a couple of classes and meeting students from earlier SE cohorts, I knew it was for me.”

Sarah Oakes | Hope, Maine

SIS Sarah Oakes 2015

photo by Khavi Homsombath

Degree: Comparative Religious Studies

Pre-AU Employment: Frontier Communications, The Christian Science Monitor, The Euphrates Institute

Current Employment: Experiential Learning Program Coordinator, American University

AU Degree program and concentration: MA in Social Enterprise; Concentration: Leadership Development

Career Interest: Leadership Development and Corporate Social Responsibility

“I chose the Social Enterprise program at American University because it offers an alternative “both/and” way of thinking that blends the passion and service-oriented solutions of the non-profit world with the business knowledge and focused performance drive of the private sector. With an emphasis on problem-solving and innovation through, I believe this program will help students build the foundational skills to lead organizations, industries, and cultures working to create positive change within our world.”

Colin Rice | Towson, Maryland

SIS SE Student Profile Colin Rice

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

Degree: Sewanee: The University of the South, B.A. Anthropology, minor in Business, 2010

Current employement: Do More mission, Mayberg Family Charitable Foundation

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, Concentration: Economic empowerment

Career interest: Livelihood development, microfinance, impact investing, community development

“ I was drawn to this program for the hands-on approach, the flexibility, and the access to the incredible networks at AU and around DC. I want to graduate with both the knowledge of important ideas and approaches in the sector, as well as the concrete experience of putting those ideas into practice, and the MA in Social Enterprise give me the chance to do that.”

Maribel Rodriguez | Brooklyn, New York

Photo of Maribel Rodriguez

Photo by Professor Tomasko

Degree: Rochester Institute of Technology, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Professional Photographic Illustration, 2013

Pre-AU Employment: Kindergarten Teaching Fellow at Basis Independent Brooklyn, Photography Teaching Assistant at The International Center of Photography

Current Employment: Teaching aide at the Friendship Heights Children Center

AU Degree program and concentration: Social Enterprise with a concentration in Children Studies; Education, Ethnography, Psychology, Art and Behavioral Therapy

Career Interest: “I hope to one day open a center for children from low income backgrounds, offering extra-curricular activities and guidance to enhance their natural potential for emotional, social, physical and academic growth. In the meantime I would like to work with a firm dedicated to helping children through Social and Emotional Learning.”

“I chose Social Enterprise because I met people here who are passionate about creating, maintaining and understanding social impact. This program was the right fit for me because it is a positive place with positive values.”

Karen Romero | Chalco, Mexico

SIS Karen Romero 2015

Degree: M.Ed Educational Psychology, University of Utah 2012, and B.S. Psychology, University of Utah 2009 

Pre-AU Employment: Education Research Assistant, Library of Congress; Director of Women in Jeopardy Program, YWCA; Therapist, Rape Recovery Center Utah; Emergency Services Specialist, American Red Cross      

Current Employment: Social Services Director, Ayuda

AU Degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, concentration in gender violence and human trafficking in Latin America.

Career Interest: Addressing gender violence and human trafficking in a holistic environment, utilizing access to education to create social impact.

“I chose the Social Enterprise program at American because of its unique structure. The program combines the theory and practice of social enterprise in a model which allows me to gain practical skills as well as exposure to various areas of social entrepreneurship and innovation. In my career, I want to have the knowledge and foundation to create and contribute to meaningful social impact, I feel that this program provides me those opportunities.

Gurmat Sahni | Dehli, India

SIS Gurmat Sahni 2015

photo by Khavi Homsombath

Degree: BSC. in Business Administration

Pre-AU Employment: Co-founder of Grand Slam Baseball, Managing Partner Weldon Sales Corporation

Current Employment: Co-founder of Grand Slam Baseball

AU Degree program and concentration: MA in Social Enterprise

Career Interest: Grassroots rural development:  


I am interested in equipping people belonging to low income groups in rural areas with the means and resources to create a sustainable model of generating income. I chose AU’s Social Enterprise program because I wish to set up an organisation that will act as an integrating network to create and strengthen private-NGO partnerships. My area of focus lies in creating ecosystems for collaborative production and consumption in rural areas. I am also interested in finding innovative ways to attract more private resources to the field of social entrepreneurship.

Bryant Sewell | Woodbridge, Virginia

SIS Bryant Sewell 2015

photo by: Khavi Homsombath

Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Christopher Newport University

Pre-AU Employment: District of Columbia Public Schools, Office of the Chief of Staff

AU Degree program and concentration: Masters of Arts in Social Enterprise

Career Interest: Anything that empowers those who have been marginalized or excluded to develop options for change.

And a short paragraph stating your motivation for pursuing a MA in Social Enterprise: Albert Einstein stated “In the middle of every difficulty, lies opportunity.” This quote encapsulates what drives me and those who pursue opportunities in our field. I chose a program located within American University’s School of International Service to focus inward, here on local communities. Around the world like-minded changemakers are developing innovative and sustainable solutions that are connecting or reintegrating segments of our population into the economy and civil society. My goal is to combine shared global values and the creative freedoms that the field of Social Enterprise provides to disrupting the compounding effects of inequality in America. Lastly, it was the people. Before applying, I had the opportunity to meet current student, alums, and faculty, the close-knit nature of the program did me in.

Louis Tuntufye Sichali | Lilongwe, Malawi

SIS Louis Tuntufye Sichali 2015

photo by Khavi Homsombath

Degree: Bachelor of Education, University of Malawi, Chancellor College.

Pre-AU employment: Lilongwe Technical College, Teacher of business studies and basic accounting.

AU Program and Concentration: MA Social Enterprise

Career Interest: Microfinance, Youth empowerment, Financial and Entrepreneurship literacy.

"I chose the social enterprise program at AU because it has a good combination of courses that would equip me into becoming an asset to the youth of my country Malawi. I believe the program will empower me into advocating for entrepreneurship for the Malawian youth especially in the vocational schools. It will also assist me into improving the credit score of the youth who cannot easily access finance for business ventures, by providing them with the relevant financial literacy."

Eula Sorie | Freetown, Sierra Leone

Photo by Thuy Dinh

Degree: Frostburg State University, B.S. Business Administration, Human Resource Management, 2009

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise with a concentration in gender and women issues

Work While at AU: University Research Co., LLC

Career interest: Women Empowerment, Human Rights, International Development, and Social Businesses

“This program is catered specifically for individuals like me; people who have a deep appreciation and passion for the advancement of society. This program is not confided to the business, international, public or private sectors rather it’s a combination of all of these sectors”

Jennifer Stutman | Baltimore, Maryland

SIS SE Student Profile Jennifer Stutman

Photo by Alessandra Clará at 1776

Degree: The George Washington University, B.A. in International Affairs with focus in European Development, with Minors in Political Science and History, 2014

Pre-AU employment: Hotline Staffer, National Sexual Assault Hotline at RAINN

Current employment: Hotline Call Specialist, National Human Trafficking Resource Center at Polaris

AU degree program and concentration: M.A., Social Enterprise, M.I. Peace Corps

Career interest: Intrapreneurship, violence reduction, women empowerment, human rights

“I am a firm believe in social enterprise because for me it represents a maintainable form of development that empowers the very people that are receiving assistance. To me, that is what all development should be, sustainable and liberating”

Rebecca Villalobos | Tulsa, Oklahoma

Photo of Rebecca Villalobos

Degree: Oral Roberts University, B.A. in International Relations with a minor in French, 2012

Pre-AU Employment: Program Manager at Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth

Current Employment: Social Innovations Fellow at Pact

AU Degree program and concentration: Social Enterprise with a concentration in Economic Development and Impact Assessment

“I chose the Social Enterprise program because it had an extreme practitioner focus and fostered an environment where you would be able to not only learn from your faculty, but also your peers who have really done the work and are updated on the latest trends. Other programs that I looked at did not offer this. Since I have joined the Social Enterprise I have been able to tailor the program to my exact needs and have found a second family with my peers and faculty.”