Impact At Scale

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

Translating Theory to Practice: On Life After Grad School

By: Ariel Perkins, Research Assistant at the Beeck Center

When I finished graduate school I was offered a great deal of solicited (and unsolicited) advice. Most guidance reflected the idea that academic programs are so theoretical they have no application to the “real world” (read: you will be unemployed). To a degree, that is true. Theory simplifies because the world is a messy place. You will spend a lot of time running in place if you try to transpose theory wholesale onto real actors. However, much like the world, theory is not static, and good theory can even become personal. At its best, theory challenges us to observe society and make sense of problems, structures, and worldviews. That is what makes my work at the Beeck Center so engaging. Innovation and social impact are about implementing by observing the what is, and then imagining the what if. It is understanding how the world operates, and reinventing the processes to get us somewhere new. In that respect, the Beeck Center is very much about thinking at a deep level what social action means, and that is truly theory applied.

The views, opinions, and positions expressed by the author of this article do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University or any employee thereof.

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