Beeck Center Hosts 10th Anniversary Event Celebrating “A Decade of Impact”

General Services Administrator Robin Carnahan, Amen Ra Mashariki of the Bezos Earth Fund, and New America’s Alberto Rodriguez Alvarez discuss the Beeck Center’s legacy of impact on civic tech and beyond

The Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University launched 10th anniversary celebrations with “Beeck at 10: A Decade of Impact” on April 9, an opportunity to share past accomplishments and chart a course for the future. The event, held in Georgetown University’s Riggs Library, featured various current and former leaders and fellows of the Center sharing their experiences and reflections from their time at Beeck. 

Digital Service Network Student Analyst Trinisa Fung, a master’s student at the McCourt School for Public Policy, introduced the event, sharing the influence the Beeck Center has had on her time at Georgetown as well as her future career plans. Following Fung, Georgetown University President John J DeGioia spoke about the Center’s impact over the last 10 years.

“Over this decade, the Beeck Center has led 23 projects that have been in over 30 states, territories, and localities across America,” DeGioia said. “That’s incredible impact.”

Beeck Center Founders Alberto Beeck, Olga Maria Beeck, and Carl Muñana were all in attendance, as Alberto Beeck shared some history about the Center, including the intent behind its creation, as well as his pride for its accomplishments and his hopes for the future. 

The event then transitioned to a panel discussion led by current Executive Director Lynn Overmann, featuring three former alumni  of the Beeck Center: Administrator Robin Carnahan of the General Services Administration (GSA), Amen Ra Mashariki of Bezos Earth Fund, and Alberto Rodríguez Alvarez of New America. The panelists shared powerful recollections and insights both about the Beeck Center as well as the field of public interest technology as a whole. 

For GSA Administrator Carnahan, the most memorable part of her work at the Beeck Center is the direct impact on people. At the Center, fellows, students, and staff are able to explore solutions to common problems across the country, driving progress, according to Carnahan.

“Because we were here, because we were able to think about how similar the problems were and the interactions between the citizen and someone in government, we were able to come up with ideas that were able to stick,” Carnahan said. “My favorite thing is the direct impact from the work we did, even just during a year or two at Beeck, to what’s happening today.”

Rodríguez Alvarez, who worked as a Student Analyst at the Beeck Center during his master’s program at the McCourt School, found the opportunity to work on important issues directly with experts in the field to be invaluable to his time at Georgetown. 

“The things I was learning in my masters of public policy program, I got to actually use them at the Beeck Center,” Rodríguez Alvarez said. “It was like being at the forefront of the digital service delivery ecosystem …with mentors that actually treat you like a peer.”

For Mashariki, what struck him most from his time at Beeck was how the Center prioritized the health and wellbeing of the students and staff yet also worked tirelessly to create and implement solutions that helped those outside of the Georgetown community, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I saw the Beeck Center, with the students, with the fellows, with the staff, really focus inward,” Mashariki said. “Then it was also, let’s look internally and protect our people internally but then let’s also now face outward and see what can we do to help.”

The anniversary event showed the unique and powerful identity of the Beeck Center over the last 10 years as a place for students to learn from experts while creating innovative solutions to pressing challenges.

“The Beeck Center is a uniquely symbiotic environment,” Overmann said. “A place where experts in their fields work, experiment, and innovate with students, each bringing their creativity, passion, and insights to bear on some of the most challenging issues facing society.”

We are grateful for the opportunity to celebrate all of the successes of the last 10 years, and are looking forward to more opportunities to reflect and acknowledge the work of everyone who has played a role in the Beeck Center’s impact. Stay up to date with our work and future events through our website and newsletter.

Watch the full panel discussion here.