April 11, 2017 | The NextGen Leadership Series, GU Impacts Profile: Casey Skapek
Interview by Ali Walton, Beeck Communications Analyst
Several weeks ago, we announced our 2017 cohort of GU Impacts fellows. As an introduction to this incredible group of emerging leaders, we are launching a blog series profiling each student before they dive into their fellowship. Starting this Summer, our 2017 cohort will travel to one of our nine partner sites around the world to live in the local community and work with a social-impact-focused organization. These sites include Nicaragua, India, Peru, Rwanda, the Philippines, and Atlanta, Georgia and Washington, D.C. here in the United States.
Kicking off this series is our profile Casey Skapek, a junior in the College majoring in Biology of Global Health and minoring in Science, Technology, and International Affairs. Originally from Oak Park, Illinois, Casey will be working with the Center for Civic Innovation this summer in Atlanta, Georgia.
Can you tell us a little about your assigned location and what makes you excited about your upcoming internship?
This summer I will be spending my 10 weeks in Atlanta interning with the Center for Civic Innovation. I have never been to Georgia before, so I’m thrilled to live in a new city and explore a new part of the country. Based on what I’ve heard about Atlanta, I’d say I’m most excited to check out the hiking and music scenes.
The kind of work you’ll be doing will be social-impact-focused, so what does that mean to you?
To me, social impact is the responsibility I feel to be a part of something that is bigger than myself. It means getting involved with the greater communities that I am a member of and contributing something of value to the world.
And how do you hope to grow through GU Impacts?
As a biology major, I applied to GU Impacts with zero experience in anything that would be of relevance for this particular internship, armed with only an unhealthy sense of optimism and a desire to learn something new. The appeal of GU Impacts for me is the opportunity to really push myself to learn about the social sector. I’m excited to find ways that I can apply the skills I develop this summer to my knowledge of global health challenges to facilitate positive change in a field that I am extremely passionate about.
That sounds like a really interesting intersection. So why did you decide to apply to GU Impacts in the first place? And what do you think makes GU Impacts different from other service programs at Georgetown?
I decided to apply to GU Impacts because I was looking for a way to spend my summer doing meaningful work on a project that I care about. It can be difficult to find internships where development is prioritized. GU Impacts is unique in that sense because there is an expectation that you will be able to contribute productive work for your partner, but at the same time the program is invested in its fellows’ personal and professional growth. GU Impacts really emphasizes the mutual partnership aspect of its programs, in the sense that both sides of the relationship have needs that are being met and are benefitting from the work being done.
That’s definitely true, GU Impacts is all about developing both the students and the receiving communities. Fun question, what’s your favorite quote?
“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” –Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut, are you currently reading a book by him?
No, I’m actually reading The Nix by Nathan Hill. It’s a phenomenal book about a failed writer and his journey to uncover his estranged mother’s enigmatic past, which is tainted by haunting Norwegian folk tales told by her immigrant father and a brief love affair with the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests. Probably the most beautiful book I’ve ever read.
Stay tuned for our next profile to learn more about the incredible students comprising our 2017 cohort; and look forward to following their adventures this Summer on our blog and social channels.