April 26, 2017 |The NextGen Leadership Series, GU Impacts Profile: Alejandra Parra
Interview by Ali Walton, Beeck Communications Analyst
Alejanda Parra is a sophomore from Brownsville, Texas, majoring in Science, Technology, and International Affairs in the SFS. This summer she’s heading to Kigali, Rwanda to work with Gashora Girls Academy, a girls’ boarding school that teaches a love for learning and a sense of economic empowerment to strengthen communities and Rwanda’s growth. Here’s our conversation with her!
Why are you excited to join Gashora Girls Academy?
I think I’m most excited to work with such a talented group of young women and instructors. I also want to explore the impact the school has had on the families who are directly connected to the school but also the impact more broadly on Rwanda.
That will be really interesting. So what does social impact mean to you in your experiences?
In my experience, social impact has ranged from a significant shift in perspective to making measurable progress towards solving an important issue. Social impact fosters relationships between individuals or groups that work to address a need within a community (or a larger issue), and both sides of the relationship gain something from sharing that experience.
There’s definitely a reciprocal nature to social impact work. How do you think you’ll be impacted through GU Impacts?
I want to engage in global issues focusing on sustainable growth, explore the intersection of the private sector and development, and use what I learn this summer in my future work. I hope GU Impacts introduces tools that I can use to grow as an individual, better serve the communities I work with at Georgetown – or even back home in Brownsville, Texas – and introduce me to the education component of international development.
So why did you decide to apply to GU Impacts?
I thought about how I wanted to spend my time this summer and the projects offered through GU Impacts seek to engage students through service in global communities. This really appealed to me and aligned with my areas of interest. I’m also excited by the opportunity to gain professional experience.
Do you think this opportunity is unique to GU Impacts? What makes GU Impacts different from other service programs at Georgetown?
For starters, GU Impacts engages its participants two months before the experience abroad through training that includes workshops tailored to the specific work we will be doing and the communities we will be working with. While I don’t think anything can fully prepare us for this type of work, the targeted workshops introduce us to the other fellows and provide us with some of the tools we will need to navigate challenges we may face throughout our summers. The fellowship then extends beyond summer experiences to the following fall semester, where we reflect on our time and expand the learning component of the fellowship. Additionally, we are expected to identify a faculty mentor for the fellowship, but the definition of this relationship between fellows and faculty is not constrained: we are granted the freedom to form a relationship that will be most effective for our own individual interests. For instance, while some of us are interested in doing original research, others are looking for guidance and support within their summer projects. Overall these unique components make GU Impacts a truly transformative experience for the fellows involved, and I’m excited and grateful to be a part of it.
That was a great answer. Now for a more fun question, what’s your favorite quote?
“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” – Babe Ruth
Okay and finally, what are you currently reading?
Well, with school I don’t have a ton of time to read for pleasure, so honestly, I’m working on getting through last week’s readings for my International Relations course.
*This is a part of our series GU Impacts Fellows, The NextGen Leadership Series