Invest in our students as they try to change the world!
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Major: Biobehavioral Health
Minor: Women’s Studies
Graduated: May 2009
HESE Projects: Mashavu: Kenya: (2008/2009); iSPACES: Tanzania: (2010)
Since graduating from Penn State, Julia received a Master’s degree in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania. As part of her master’s thesis, she founded a support group at her university for teen mothers, which she hopes to expand throughout Philadelphia. Her current role as a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development with Teach for America (TFA) began after two-years of TFA experience teaching high school science in Philadelphia. She has applied her HESE knowledge and experience to equip her students with the valuable understanding of innovation and social entrepreneurship. In her current role, she is hoping to transform teachers into leaders and social entrepreneurs so that they can light a spark in their students. Returning to her HESE roots, Julia traveled back to East Africa, remaining connected and involved with the communities she previously worked within. Julia credits HESE with significantly impacting her life through vital competitive skills, collaboration, real-world experience, and igniting her passion for engaged travel. Her future aspirations include working for the “greater good” through international development and human rights.
"Do not be afraid to engage in HESE if you aren’t an engineering major. If nothing else you will leave with amazing jokes about engineers."
Major: M.B.A., concentrations in Marketing, Strategy, & Entrepreneurship
Graduated: May 2010
HESE Projects: WishVast Core Team Member: Kenya 2010
Equipped with an eye for a successful venture through his HESE experience, after graduating from Penn State, Chris took on a job managing client strategy for a venture-backed startup called “SocialVibe.” This venture which started out as a philanthropic platform, rewards users with points for charitable donations in exchange for their attention to brand messaging. Through SocialVibe, Chris has worked with big brand companies including Best Buy, GE, and Toyota through collaborative efforts on sales, product, and technology. He believes his success was fueled by his involvement with HESE, which was one of the best decisions he made while in business school. Chris also credits HESE with giving him the opportunity to stand out against other students with more “traditional” MBA experiences. Allowing him the greatest opportunity to grow personally and professionally while working to create a positive social impact is what led Chris to become involved in HESE. Through HESE, Chris learned that inter-disciplinary teams are extremely important to a group’s success. Whether it is a technology-based venture based in Kenya or Silicon Valley, the same principles apply: An emphasis on user experience, technology, business development, and sales/marketing is very difficult to achieve with teams consisting of similar, rather than complementary, skill sets and backgrounds.
"Chris’s Final Words of Wisdom: “Enjoy your time in HESE. Dive in head first, make friends, travel the world, meet new people, and experience new cultures.” "
Major: B.S. & M.S, Bioengineering
Graduated: May 2010
HESE Projects: Mashavu Core Team Member: Kenya 2010
Upon graduating from Penn State, Tara began work as a Biomaterials Engineer for the Kensey Nash Corporation, a developer of regenerative medicine technology. Tara credits her involvement with HESE to having provided her with a hands-on design experience, extensive problem solving skills, and a teamwork mindset, all of which she applies daily as an engineer. HESE inspired her to return to Kenya and confirmed her future aspiration of teaching to instill principles of learning and problem solving in the future generations of innovators. Tara wants to encourage students to participate in HESE programs, which superbly combine unique course concepts with hands-on cultural experiences. Overall, her involvements with Mashavu and HESE have given her invaluable knowledge and experience that she knows she will apply throughout her future life endeavors.
Major: Computer Science
Graduated: December 2009
HESE Projects: WishVast – Kenya, 2009; WishVast – 2010
Eric has found himself back in Africa, this time in Cameroon, as a Peace Corps volunteer working as a computer literacy teacher after graduating from Penn State. Of the most important skills that he learned from his engagement in HESE are how to give good presentations and how to think fast yet concisely through the 30-second elevator venture pitch practices in his HESE classes led by Engineering instructor, Khanjan Mehta. From his HESE experience, Eric also learned that great ideas meant to address problems and issues, especially in international development, can fail if they are not implemented within the local context. Eric credits HESE with helping him realize that he can apply his computer science background to his interest in working in international development. After further developing his problem-solving skills and learning more about the environment, resource scarcity, and cultures as contexts for addressing issues through his work in WishVast, Eric gained the confidence to solidify his ambitions to work in international development.
"The class, “Engineering Design for the Developing World, provides a unique set of challenges when compared with other engineering classes. It forces you to think about using limited resources to solve difficult problems while creating successful ventures that can aid others. This is a challenge I have not experienced anywhere else and found very fulfilling.”"
Major: Civil & Environmental Engineering, 2012
HESE Projects: 2.5 years. Kenya/Rwanda. Solar Dryer/Affordable Greenhouse/GJC/ESPOT
After graduating from Penn State in 2012, Shruthi Baskaran began working at the The Boston Consulting Group in their Houston office. Shruthi’s was awarded HESE Excellence Award, Walter La Mar Kopp International Achievement Award and the Reddy Mission Award at the Schreyer Honors College for her outstanding contributions and commitment to the HESE program. The skills that Shruthi learned in HESE prepared her for the BCG, a global management consulting firm and one of the world's leading advisors on business strategy. From HESE, Shruthi learned that social impact doesn't always have to be non-profit. At BCG, she partners with clients from the private, public and non-profit sectors in all regions to identify high value opportunities, address critical challenges and transform their enterprises. Her dynamic responsibilities at the BGG directly reflect her time working on multiple HESE ventures. Shruthi believes that students should join HESE because it offers the possibility of exploring an alternative way of thinking and creating value, especially for students who wish to work in the developing world. In the future, Shruthi plans to go to business school or law school and have social impact by serving in a strategic role for a non-profit organization. Through HESE, Shruthi learned that, “Social impact demands a certain amount of cultural engagement and working alongside people that is often overlooked. It is very important to understand the difference between helping someone and empowering them to take control of their own lives. I thought social impact was about the former, and learned to make it the latter through HESE.”
"If you fully immerse yourself in HESE, it is like Hotel California – you can check out but you'll never leave."