Impact At Scale

The Beeck Center engages global leaders to drive social change at scale.

Kelly Membreno Berrios

What is your assigned location and what makes you excited about it?
This summer I will be working with Agora Partnerships in my home city Managua. This opportunity is exciting for so many reasons. First, it allows me to see Managua in a different light. I moved to the United States when I was 8 and although I have visited Nicaragua a few times since, I have not had the privileged of experiencing Managua as I will now. I have never worked in Managua nor have I interacted with a group of local entrepreneurs to the extent that I will now. Second, I will be able to apply the knowledge and business skills I have learned at Georgetown to contribute to the empowerment of my people and my country. Third, I am looking forward to learning more about my culture and country, and reflecting on how my knowledge and thoughts about Nicaragua change as I encounter this new experience. Lastly, I see GU Impacts as the beginning of my hands-on experience in regards to my desired career path of social impact consulting; and I am thrilled that this experience begins with helping the people of my own beautiful country.

What does social impact mean to you in your experiences?
In my experiences, social impacts means empowering the community that has empowered you. In high school, I attended workshops hosted by a local community organization called United for Social Justice. I attended these workshops because I was confused about the college process in the U.S. No one in my family had attended college and thus although they provided full support, they could not provide guidance. The organization is run by Latinx college graduates who previously relied on community resources to guide them through high school and into college. After becoming educated professionals, they gathered together to give back to their community by providing similar yet improved resources to those they were given. Without the guidance of the organization, I may not be where I am today and I recognize that soon it will be my turn and pleasure to uplift my community as it uplifted me. Furthermore, although social impact is giving back to one’s community, it extends beyond one’s community and into all communities who are struggling and in need of allies. In my experience with United for Social Justice, the main funders of the organization were not from the Latinx community; they were from other communities who recognized a need for providing college access resources to underprivileged students. In conclusion, social impact has been shaped by my experiences to represent empowering communities who are denied equitable resources and opportunities.

How do you hope to grow through GU Impacts?
I like to manage my expectations before starting a new project in order to maintain a realistic outlook in life, and my overall expectations of GU Impacts are only positive. Through my experience with GU Impacts I hope to develop my skills, and continue shaping my definition of social impact and thus the ways in which I think communities can be helped. Mostly, I hope that this hands-on experience teaches me valuable lessons and continues to improve the ways in which I deal with expected and unexpected challenges. I hope to learn things I did not know about my community and incorporate this new knowledge into my views of Nicaragua and overall view of life.

Why did you decide to apply to GU Impacts?
I decided to apply to GU Impacts because I felt as if the project in Managua was designed for me! Not only does the internship allow me to begin experience working in my desired field for 10 weeks, it also allows me to begin this experience in the country I was born in. As I mentioned before, social impact represents a cycle of giving back to one’s community. GU Impacts allows me to continue empowering my community and to increase my impact. Furthermore, multiple alumni of the program recommended applying. All had great experiences, and are proud of the impact they made and of the lessons they learned. Hearing about their experiences only intensified my desire to apply to GU Impacts.

What do you think makes GU Impacts different from other service programs at Georgetown?
I think that GU Impacts is different from other service programs offered on campus because it gives students the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in the community and culture where they are seeking to make an impact. GU impacts allows students to truly understand the needs of the community through the extended period of the hands-on projects. By experiencing and gaining a deeper understanding of the cultures and communities, GU Impacts allows to students to maximize their impact. Furthermore, alumni are always willing to help current fellows at any point during the course of the fellowship and beyond.

What’s your favorite quote?
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller

What are you currently reading?
Currently, I am reading The People Look Like Flowers at Last by Charles Bukowski, one of my favorite poets.

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