Duke Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Events and Opportunities Recap: March 2015

Detailing announcements, events, deadlines, job & internship opportunities

To Learn More, follow Duke I&E and related organizations below on Facebook and Twitter:

Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship:



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The Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke:



CASE (Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship) at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business:


Duke Office of Civic Engagement:



2015 Duke Symposium on Scaling Innovations in Global Health on Friday, March 20th

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Join SEAD for an exciting and inspiring dialogue at the 2015 Duke Symposium on Scaling Innovations in Global Health on Friday, March 20th, from 3:00-5:45pm at the Fuqua School of Business. The Symposium will feature Ann Mei Chang, Executive Director of USAID’s Global Development Lab, and highlight important lessons and business insights from 25 remarkable global health social entrepreneurs who are transforming health care in India, East Africa, and beyond. From technology to health services, these entrepreneurs will inspire us through a keynote presentation, panel discussions, and a structured networking session, reflecting upon their work and pathways to scale.

Please register by Monday, March 16th at midnight (http://seadsym15.sched.org/).
Event hosted by the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke

Duke Splash Registration Due Date on Saturday, March 21

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“An Evening with Peter Thiel” on Monday, March 30

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Duke I&E is excited to announce “An Evening with Peter Thiel” on Monday, March 30 in Gross Hall 107. The talk begins at 5:30, with the book signing occurring immediately after. For tickets, please click here.

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship hosts “An Evening with Peter Thiel.” Venture capitalist, PayPal co-founder, and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel is visiting Duke University to speak about his newly released book, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. The event will feature a keynote by Peter, a fireside chat between Peter and Eric Toone, Vice Provost and Director of the Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, and an audience Q&A. A book signing and reception will follow. Books will be available for purchase or you may bring your own copy.

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2015 Leadership Triangle: Emerging Leaders Fellowship

Leadership Triangle: Emerging Leaders is an experiential learning opportunity for students from 11 universities, colleges, and community colleges in the Triangle area. Through LT:EL’s interactive curriculum you will have an opportunity to develop your personal and professional leadership skills by engaging in conversations with key community leaders in the region. Sessions are structured to deepen your knowledge/understanding of community-based problem-solving, preparing you to become a future leader in the Triangle. This year’s program will be presented by United Way of the Greater Triangle. Sessions will begin during spring semester, 2015.

2 Duke students will be selected to represent the university for the 2015 LT:EL fellows program. Students applying for this year’s program should fit the following criteria:

         Current sophomore or junior preferred (interested seniors are also encouraged to apply)

         Demonstrate student leadership or a desire to be a student leader

         Strong interest in enhancing personal leadership skills and professional growth

         Represent diverse backgrounds, interests, and ethnicities

         In good academic standing

         Have experience in community service/volunteerism

         Interest in the state of North Carolina beyond college experience

If interested, email: neil.hoefs@duke.edu


The Aspen Institute Summer Associate Internship, Due on April 15th, 2015

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Summer Associate  – I-DEV International (San Francisco, CALima, PeruNairobi, Kenya)
I-DEV’s Summer Associate Program is designed to give young professionals, MBAs and other graduate students with traditional business experience exposure to emerging market business and finance, impact investing, social entrepreneurship, and BoP innovation. Summer Associates will receive approximately three months of immersion training into I-DEV’s unique business-based development approach, which focuses on addressing the financing gap at the “missing middle”, building market-based BoP businesses, sustainable economic development and development financing. I-DEV is looking for 2-3 Summer Associates for each of its offices in San FranciscoEast Africa, and Latin America. Deadline for applications is April 15, 2015.

Link: http://www.aspeninstitute.org/policy-work/aspen-network-development-entrepreneurs/jobs/summer


Ashoka Changemakers Internship Opportunities

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What is Ashoka?

Ashoka is leading a profound transformation in society. In the past three decades, the global citizen sector, led by social entrepreneurs, has grown exponentially. Just as the business sector experienced a tremendous spurt in productivity over the last century, the citizen sector is experiencing a similar revolution, with the number and sophistication of citizen organizations increasing dramatically.

Rather than leaving societal needs for the government or business sectors to address, social entrepreneurs are creating innovative solutions, delivering extraordinary results, and improving the lives of millions of people.

Make sure you also check out “Ashoka’s Changemakers Community http://www.internmatch.com/company/changemakers for more amazing internship opportunities.

What types of internships are offered with Ashoka?

You may intern at one of Ashoka’s offices, or volunteer on a project with a Fellow.

  • What does Ashoka do?

Ashoka supports social entrepreneurship-by selecting Fellows and investing in their Ventures around the world. Ashoka also promotes Group Entrepreneurship-facilitating the collaboration of Fellows.

To get involved in an Ashoka Changemakers Project TODAY, see the following links:




Interview with Pamela Hawley, CEO of UniversalGiving and Social Entrepreneur

By Peter Shi T’16

Online Link: https://entrepreneurship.duke.edu/associate/pamela-hawley/

Pamela Hawley is founder and CEO of UniversalGiving, an online nonprofit organization whose vision is to “create a world where giving and volunteering are a natural part of life.” Based in San Francisco, UniversalGiving focuses on matching volunteers and donors with global opportunities, as well as raising money for international charities through its web-based marketplace. She is also the co-founder of VolunteerMatch, a nonprofit has paired over two million volunteers with non-profits. In her free time, she enjoys doing improv acting. Link to her full bio here.

Printable Bio (PDF)

Our Conversation with Pamela Hawley

Duke I&E: Tell us about how your role models have shaped you to become the person who you are today.

PH: I was born and raised in sunny Menlo Park into a loving family. My mother encouraged me to help people just by the way she lived. She is always a great listener with great insights. She encouraged me to volunteer, help people, listen to them, and consistently serve the community. This has been an amazing model for me throughout my life. My father is one of the most amazing, ethical businessmen and most joyful people that I know; he has always been present in my life and an amazing force for good. When I wanted to volunteer, they both jumped on it and fully supported me.

On the Social Entrepreneurship side, I have to thank Peter Samuelson, founder of Starbright and Starlight and Everyone Deserves a Roof, for introducing me to social entrepreneurship over 20 years ago. He is a fantastic mentor, board member, and friend.

Currently, I also have a spiritual board of advisors – a group of people who help me to live in the highest integrity as a person and to be spiritually aligned with who I want to be as a professional and person. I ask them to share lessons with me and guide me through challenging situations.

Duke I&E: How has Duke impacted the way that you approach social entrepreneurship?

PH: Duke definitely has a special place in my heart. I remember a pivotal moment in high school when I nearly sending my acceptance notification to Stanford in the mail, but I just couldn’t do it. At Duke, there is this incredible sense of joy, community, and work hard, play hard environment. I’m grateful for the volunteer opportunities I’ve had in Durham, as well as the lifelong friendships that I’ve been fortunate enough to cultivate along the way. In fact, my roommate and I still leave voicemails about our day to each other, every day.

As with my friendships at Duke, here at UniversalGiving, we cherish people like they would like to be cherished. We have an individual holistic vision for each one of our employees – for example, one of our employees in marketing has published 2 books on the side as a writer, and she writes for half a day one day per week. Another employee in design does side projects on her own, and so she has a flex schedule.

Duke I&E: How do you define entrepreneurship?

PH: First of all, for anyone who is doing innovation and entrepreneurship, I think what you are doing is great! My heart just fills with humble pride. Entrepreneurship allows people to carve a better life for themselves and for others. I just got chills, because it’s so inspiring to me. It’s about saying – “There’s something out there that doesn’t exist yet, and I am so relentlessly called to do it that I cannot stop doing it.” I have to pursue it.

Doing entrepreneurship shapes you as a person, because you do not have a choice. For people unsure about whether to become an entrepreneur, it’s probably not a good fit. This is a calling, and it can be very challenging. Entrepreneurs, even in their most challenging moments, still love it. You are not giving up. There’s a very special ethos around entrepreneurship.

I don’t even know how to make a job transition from being an entrepreneur to being something else. It’s just something that is in your soul. I think about it in all areas of life: I always think about how to improve things. Even if it’s on a very small, meaningful level, I want to find ways to change people’s lives.

For example, while I was in L.A., I was disturbed by all of the homeless people that I saw. I created a homeless card with a 1-800 number that listed all of the shelters in the area and a card with a quote that in essence said we cared and they were loved and valued as a person. Whenever I saw a homeless person, I said hi, smiled, and left them with this card.

Duke I&E: How did you come up of the idea behind UniversalGiving?

PH: While I was on a family trip to Mexico at age 12, I remember seeing starving, begging children on the cul-de-sac. My jaw dropped, and I was shocked and surprised. I thought to myself, “Why was the crisis in Zibabwe and the women in Peru with six children and no jobs not on the front page of the news?” After that, I started volunteering as a student—I volunteered in the earthquake crisis in El Salvador, microfinance in India, and sustainable farming in Guatemala.

I slowly realized that many people don’t know what it’s like to get food from a restaurant, let alone get food or have a job, calling, and education. I asked myself, “Do I want to continue to be causeless, or do I want to create a marketplace to provide jobs for thousands of people throughout the world? I chose the latter, and I chose to do it on a large scale. To date, we’ve matched nearly 10,000 volunteers and over 34 million dollars worth of volunteer hours. We use a social return on investment to track volunteer hours, and we value on volunteer hour at 20 dollars.

Duke I&E: Has your vision for UniversalGiving’s values changed? If so, how?

PH: At UniversalGiving, we understand the value of always staying humble and never stop growing. Every night I pray, and I think that that spiritual practice is important. I think it’s important for everyone to have some kind of practice, such as yoga, walks in nature, or a meaningful conversation with a friend. We treasure peace building as a way to building and sustain global connections.

Our vision has stayed the same over the years: we want an intimate community at UniversalGiving. Donors and volunteers are a part of our culture and we know them personally. They aren’t just a part of a marketplace. The same is for our team. We value always staying humble, cherishing and honoring your team. It’s only not about the individual, but about honoring the individual in the context of the team. So with both our clients and our team, we want to keep our vision to “Create a World Where Giving and Volunteering Are a Natural Part of Everyday Life.”

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to not make decisions based on personal feeling, but on principle. When you make management decisions based on principle, on what’s true and objective, that is kind and fair; but when you do it just based on feeling and what’s personal, it doesn’t work. Intuition does play a strong role, but intuition is still based on principle, since you are still listening to that inner voice of truth. Paying too much attention on personal angst or feeling does not lead to the best results.

Duke I&E: What were some of the key challenges that you’ve faced along the way?

PH: My first four years after Duke were really hard. At age 25, I had been through a series of jobs in PR, Marketing, Broadcasting, fired as a waitress, and as a step aerobics instructor. At the age of 25, I was so depressed. I was circumstantially depressed, because I was not doing something that I loved to do, and it was literally killing me. I was in tears all of the time. I wish there was magic pill I could take to make the pain go away. I was just devastated. I felt like I couldn’t accept my job unless it fit my calling.

A year later, I co-founded VolunteerMatch, and I became a social entrepreneur before I know what a social entrepreneur was. My next challenge was learning management skills with UniversalGiving. We had a very challenging situation early on where we were going head to head with another organization with a similar name. I was really young, and I had to choose between fighting for a name because it’s right on principle and fighting for my mission, which is also based on principle. Those are the real crucibles that leaders have to face along their path. Those are the kinds of things that shape leaders.

In fact, I recently read a piece called: “Rough: A Social Entrepreneur’s Journey.” It’s about fighting about what you love to do and the joy and full that that will give you. A lot of people say, “I don’t have this, but I need it. Well, sometimes that opportunity comes later in life. For instance, Mary Baker Eddy founded the Christian Science Monitor at age 90. It often takes time.

Duke I&E: What is one thing that could help aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs?

PH: Make a list of the top five things that you would like to get done every day.

Interview with Christopher Gergen: CEO of Forward Impact, Duke Professor, and Social Entrepreneur

By Peter Shi T’16

Online Link: https://entrepreneurship.duke.edu/associate/christopher-gergen-2/

Mr. Gergen is CEO of Forward Impact, an organization that unleashes the impact potential of next generation entrepreneurial leaders. This work includes launching community-based strategies to develop and scale high-impact entrepreneurs throughout North Carolina. Read his full biography here.

Printable Bio (PDF)

Our Conversation with Christopher Gergen

Duke I&E: You began your studies at Duke as an Art and English Major. Did your major in Art impact the way that you approach social entrepreneurship?

CG: It certainly contributed to my path. First, with English, you need to be able to articulate what you are doing both in written and in verbal form to communicate your vision and how you plan to reach that vision. Clear verbal and written communication is incredibly important for what I do. It has given me a broader appreciation for the broader canon of literature. For example, I use my writing skills every day for my column “Doing Better at Doing Good” for the Charlotte Observer.

In terms of art, there is a clear corollary between entrepreneurial thinking and creative thinking, and being able to express yourself and exercise the left part of your brain is incredibly important. So, while my painting continues to be just an amateur hobby, it has always been a nice contributor to being able to flex and exercise my creativity.

In addition to my double-major in college, I was also doing a lot of work in public policy, and I was deeply interested in systemic change and social justice work. One of my most formative experiences was a study abroad experience when I was in South Africa in 1992 studying politics and getting actively involved in the post-Apartheid era. Mandela had been released from prison in 1989, so it was a very interesting time to be there.

I had a broad tapestry of experiences, but English and Fine Arts have definitely contributed to my path.

Duke I&E: After a year working with the teleprompter script and writing the headline news for CNN, you decided to travel to Santiago, Chile, where you founded a music lounge and bar with a group of local artists. Could you tell us more about what led you up to, through, and beyond your decision to leave CNN?

CG: In South Africa, I was actively engaged with what was going on in the community. I was actively involved in the squatters and townships and with the conversations. After two years, I became a writer for headline news. I was at a news studio in Atlanta, and Nelson Mandela gets elected president. I was writing about it, which was incredibly exciting. Yet, I felt very removed from that experience. I felt like writing these things in the context of these 30 second news clips wasn’t allowing me to be actively engaged in the world around me. I didn’t feel like it was leading to the sort of social impact that I was interested in having. I wanted to immerse myself in an environment where I could learn more about myself and my interests, get exposed to a new culture and language, and get back in the field. I wanted to get involved in something more dynamic and interesting.

I had no idea what that was going to look like. Because I was letting the spirit carry me, I eventually ended up in Santiago, Chile. I seized the opportunity to work in a vibrant city with 30 universities, thousands of young people, and in the middle of a cultural awakening after Pinochet had been deposed in 1989. As a result, it was a great moment to contribute to this community and to create a fun cultural hotspot. I saw putting together this bar as a 3-D art project with the added perk of throwing a good party every night. It had live music, and it flexed my music and fine arts skills. During this time, I became friends with a group of Chilean artists and actors. As a fellow artist, I gravitated towards them. It was a ton of fun, and it got me on the entrepreneurial path. I sketched out what this bar would look like on a napkin, and within four months we had a manifestation of that sketch.

Duke I&E: In Santiago, Chile, you met a mentor who identified himself as a “cultural entrepreneur” and started his own university. This man later inspired you to follow the path towards becoming a social entrepreneur. How have mentors prepared you for the challenges that you’ve faced in the field of social entrepreneurship?

CG: I think mentors play several roles. They challenge you to think bigger, train you to become a more disciplined, focused thinker, and serve as good accountability partners. With this mentor in Santiago, he allowed me to see a new reality by combining two things that were important for me: social justice and entrepreneurship.

I was deeply focused on social justice from my experiences in South Africa, and I loved being an entrepreneur from my experiences in Santiago. I got turned on by how those two things could be combined by becoming a social entrepreneur in the education space. Since then, I’ve continued to seek out mentors who can continue to help me see the bigger picture and new opportunities around the corner. Because they were people who were often generations older than I am, they have a lot more experience and a better sense of the broader picture and context.

Now, I’m working actively with a terrific mentor in his late seventies, who has just resigned from Walford College after a very distinguished career. He is amazing because of his ability to provide perspective. He also works with me on effectively using my time and challenges me to ask the right questions and the hard questions.

Duke I&E: What are some examples of these hard questions?

CG: Some examples are: Am I the best leader that I can be? Am I having greatest impact that I can while being the best father and husband that I can be too? For me, the biggest challenge is time management. We are fortunate to have many opportunities before us – there is so much interest in the world of social entrepreneurship, and we have the opportunity to take this to a whole new level.

The real question is: how do I channel my limited time and energy to be able to have the maximum impact? How do I be as efficient as I can with my time? The biggest challenge is choosing which challenges I want to focus on – which are the ones that will yield the highest return, both in terms of impact and dividends? What are the things that I should take off the table? Saying no is one of the most difficult decisions to make.

Duke I&E: From co-founding SMARTTHINKING, an online tutoring platform, to creating innovation ecosystems such as Bull City Forward, HQ Raleigh, and ThinkHouse, many of your projects focus on education. How does your work help unleash the potential of next generation entrepreneurial change-makers?

CG: I think that there are two main aspects. First, how do we unleash the potential through talent development on a large scale? How do we awaken people to their own potential as change-makers? How do we give them both the confidence and competence to take those ideas and put them into action? I do a lot of this work with my teaching at Duke, with a network of 70 colleges and universities on social entrepreneurship through the Sullivan Foundation, and with the Center for Creative Leadership.

However, creating this talent pipeline is only half of the question. The second half is creating the enabling conditions and communities to harness that talent and energy. If we neglect the larger community, that energy will go to more fertile territory. That’s a big part of the question: how do we harness that talent in North Carolina and within this country? How do we retain that talent, and how do we make them thrive by connecting them with the relationships and resources that will allow them to be as successful as possible? Hence, my work concentrates on working with emerging entrepreneurs on their path to reaching their fullest potential.

Duke I&E: What steps do you think entrepreneurs and innovators take to lead themselves and find their tribe? How can Duke utilize innovation ecosystems to help students to find their own tribe?

CG: First, how can people create the best version of transformed lives for themselves, where they are passionate, enthusiastic, and feel like that they are doing the right things in the right place with the right people? Second, how do we equip them with the skills and resources for them to be able to have transformative impact on the world around them? It’s the concept of bridging the gap them having both personal transformation and transformative impact.

To equip emerging leaders at Duke with the mindsets and skillsets to create extraordinary lives for themselves and extraordinary impact, we must start with thinking about what an extraordinary life looks like for every one of us. We should reflect on our own paths, since every path is different.

We also have to provide the space, tools, and framework for people to intentionally go on that journey themselves. What is it going to take for them to create that entrepreneurial life for themselves? We should provide emerging leaders with the space to dream big, but also the framework to put those ideas into action. This requires gaining access to the networks that will allow you to succeed and finding people with shared interests and passions.

The more you understand yourself, the more you can seek out people with similar strengths and passions. Duke offers a unique environment to allow access to those networks. The only caution I would add is that being an effective leader requires you to be a boundary-spanning leader – somebody who can work across communities and cultures and someone who is willing to break out of their tribe.

Tribes are useful, since they give you a sense of validation, community, and purpose. However, we stand a great risk at Duke and the greater world if we are separated into our separate tribes. One of the things that Duke is great at doing is cross-disciplinary collaboration and connecting with people from diverse backgrounds that can accomplish amazing things through collaboration.

Duke I&E: Let’s talk about inclusive innovation. As a father of two children, what ways do you think we can encourage our children to dream big and create a better world?

CG: Two defining characteristics of a social entrepreneur are a deep sense of empathy and appreciation for what we have been given and how we can give back. There is a saying that goes “to whom much is given, much is expected,” and I think we should take that seriously in our own lives.

For my children, I create an environment where they are exposed to different ideas and backgrounds. Hopefully, they can establish a greater context for themselves in the world and develop a deeper sense of empathy for others. Then, they can hopefully see where the injustices lie and be empowered to do something about it.

Duke I&E: What advice would you give student innovators and entrepreneurs?

CG: Don’t limit the possibilities.

Social Entrepreneurship & the Business of Civic Engagement Panel

By Peter Shi T’16

Social Entrepreneurship & the Business of Civic Engagement, a panel discussion that took place on Monday January 26, 2015, was moderated by Dean of Arts & Sciences Laurie Patton. This deep and meaningful discussion delved into the commonalities, the differences, the questions, the concerns, and the current and future role of social innovation, service learning, and civic engagement in higher education. Panel participants included several special guests as well as a plenary of Duke faculty and program leaders listed below.

Bill Wetzel – Clinton Global Initiative University
Marina Kim – Ashoka U
MacKenzie Moritz – The Franklin Project
David Scobey – The New School for Public Engagement
Tony Brown – Co-Director, Hart Leadership Program and Founder, Enterprising Leadership Initiative, Sanford School
Robert Malkin – Director, Duke Engineering World Health
David Malone – Director, Duke Service Learning Program
Eric Mlyn – Assistant Vice Provost for Civic Engagement and Executive Director, DukeEngage
Matt Nash – Managing Director of Social Entrepreneurship, Duke I&E
Thomas Nechyba – Director, Social Sciences Research Institute, Duke


Last month, Matt Nash, the Managing Director of Social Entrepreneurship, celebrated his ten-year anniversary at Duke. As he reflected on the last ten years, he realized that the number of students interested in social entrepreneurship and civic engagement had tripled. Indeed, this trend is happening not just at Duke, but across all US campuses.

In 2011, Duke I&E was honored to host a Global Conference on Social Entrepreneurship, which featured 80 participating universities. That year, it also hosted the Ashoka University Exchange, which featured over 200 participating universities. In fact, prospective Duke applicants are asking about what programs Duke offers for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, highlighting the increasing popularity of the program.

At Duke, knowledge in the service of society in the form of civic engagement has always been a cornerstone of its identity as an institution of higher learning. As Eric Mlyn mentioned, DukeEngage is the number one reason that students say that they want to attend Duke University, even over Duke Basketball.

The panel was an open dialogue that featured symposium style dialogue to engage the audience. It featured an ensemble cast of professors and professionals at the vanguard of the twin pillars of social entrepreneurship and civic engagement. As a Duke I&E coordinator mentions, the panel was designed to answer several questions: What is social entrepreneurship? How does it collide with the interests of Duke students? Though the panelists come from a variety of professional backgrounds, their commonality is that they are all working in and through higher education to spread the good news of the twin pillars to Duke and the larger community.

The panel moderator was Laurie Patton, Dean of Trinity School of Arts and Sciences. She will be soon leaving Duke to be the Dean of Middlebury College, and Duke will definitely miss her seminal improvements to Duke’s social outreach platform and community engagement model. She began the evening by opening up the floor for the panelists to share the ideas that resulted from earlier conversations throughout the day.

Marina Kim, Ashoka University Co-founder and Director, kicked off the conversation by addressing the misconception that social entrepreneurs are all lone wolfs coming up with brilliant ideas to solve all of society’s problems. Instead, there is an increasing demand and need for intrepreneurial talent – entrepreneurial members working within organizations and existing industries. Indeed, the demand is for cross-disciplinary collaboration, and the result is the rise of the brilliant co-founders and cross-disciplainary teams, rather than brilliant individuals.

She further argues that the trend towards collaboration is good for both students and educators, and that universities are the perfect space to develop these skills. Universities allow students to practice developing talents and taking risks in a safe space, as well as practicing the skill of innovation with no harm to the larger community. The utility of the university as an incubator for social innovation is applicable to both undergraduate and graduate students, with undergraduate programs geared more towards interest identification and graduate programs geared more towards pre-professional development.

After Marina spoke, Mackenzie Moritz, the Associate Director for Strategic Partnerships for Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project, shared his group’s insights on civic engagement. He notes that there are three areas where engaging in civic engagement adds value for the participant: gaining skills, resources, and connections; improving citizenship and tackling civic duties of the nation; and pushing forward a specific line of work, such as nutrition, environmental science, or public policy.

Moritz notes that higher education and employers are the two major institutions that set social expectations of the importance of service learning. However, besides well-established programs such as Teach for America and the Peace Corps, students have trouble finding clear pathways that incorporate service learning right after graduation. Instead, they are increasingly funneling into the corporate world, where they can more readily explain their career path to their parents and peers. In reality, there are thousands of services learning opportunities.

In particular, he questions why society commends and values the Teach for America participant over a teacher preparation program participant who taught the same material at the same school. As Moritz argues, such bias towards the familiar and the prestigious manifests itself even in the realm of saving the world. The hard truth is that attaching a name to something makes one person seem to save the world to a more than another person who is doing the exact same thing.

Speaking more about the topic of names, David Scobey, a professor of humanities and founder of the New School for Public Engagement, makes a sharp distinction between social entrepreneurship and civic engagement. Whereas the tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship starts with the idea that the world has problems that require innovative solutions, the practice of civic engagement starts with the idea that there are sets of community-based relationships out of which the solutions will come. The student activist is a leader in the innovation and entrepreneurship model, whereas he or she is more of an apprentice in the community engagement model. Scobey further argues that the difference may be partially attributed to a generational gap, where the young value audacity over humility. Taking the moderate position, Scobey argues that the ideal approach is to strike a fine balance between the two viewpoints.

After the three groups of panelists shared summaries of their earlier conversations, Dean Laurie gave the panel two challenging questions. The panelists responded with remarkably insightful and cogent answers.

  1. What’s the least safe but most necessary thing that you are dying to do in your work and why?

Pratt Professor and Co-founder of Engineering World Health Bob Malkin would like to allow his students to fix medical equipment, since he argues that the best to learn engineering is through hands-on engagement. However, Duke policy prohibits such practices, which is one of his biggest frustrations.

Marina Kim is proponent of encouraging both universities and the institutions that rank them to measure their success by the lifetime impact of their graduated students. She believes that by focusing by on long term vision over a narrow short term plan, she can be a more effective leader of Ashoka U. Though Ted Fisk, the Director of Fisk Guide to Colleges, did not respond, it would have been great to hear his views on such a change to the college ranking system.

Eric Mlyn gave an telling anecdote that illustrated the difference between ameliorating the world and educating the minds of students, and how civic engagement programs in higher education should aim to accomplish both aspects. A student asked him how much it cost the DukeEngage program to send ten students to Vietnam. When he answered $80,000, the student stared back in disbelief. She then asked him, “Do you know how many books, teachers, and schools, that could provide for our community partner?” He has to constantly remind himself that the majority of the impact of programs such as DukeEngage is in the transformation of how students perceive the world. Over a lifetime, he hopes that such a transformation will repay the investment that is the DukeEngage program with interest.

  1. What is something that young people do not understand that you want them to understand?

David Malone, the Associate Director of Duke’s Program in Education, mentioned a lack of humility, a sense of impatience, and an urge to do things to their community rather than be part of their community as the top three things that he would like students to learn to change. To Malone, the focus of young people on developing a new app over a new platform to build a community is one of the great tragedies of his time. Kim suggested that this may be simply a function of age and life experience, and that people tend to learn to be more humble and patient over time.

Following the hard questions, a 15-minute question and answer session was opened to the audience. One great question was “What does a good system for teaching social entrepreneurship look like and how can Duke achieve that system?” Matt Nash answered the question by stating that a good system is one where students are able to take risks and seek out apprenticeships from trusted mentors. He aims to create such a system one individual at a time. In light of his ten-year work anniversary, I’m sure that he hopes that social entrepreneurship and civic engagement will flourish at Duke and in the wider community for decades to come. And I’m sure excited to see that vision become a reality.

Reflections on the Duke Forward Conference in Charlotte

By Peter Shi T’16

On November 1st, I had the opportunity to speak at the Duke Forward fundraising campaign event in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Duke Forward campaign is a 7-year, $3.25 billion fundraising effort started in 2010 to raise funds from Duke alumni to support Duke University and its programs. The campaign is well on its way toward reaching its $3.25 billion goal, with over $2.1 billion raised as of November 1st, 2014. I am honored and grateful to be part of a large-scale effort to share all of the exciting news about DukeEngage to alumni, friends, and administration.

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Made in America Panelist Speakers, from Left to Right: Dr. Eric Mlyn, Peter Shi, Ritika Patil, and Sayari Patel

Along with DukeEngage Executive Directior Dr. Eric Mlyn, and my co-panelists Ritika Patil and Sayari Patel, I spoke on a panel entitled Made in America, which promoted DukeEngage’s domestic programs. Ritika is a junior who participated in the Miami program, and Sayari is a senior who participated in the Charlotte program. All three of us participated in a domestic DukeEngage program this past summer.

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Ritika and Sayari relaxing on the Duke Forward rug. It’s Duke Forward’s version of the Red Carpet.

Below are some of the questions from Dr. Mlyn and the audience and my responses:

Why did you choose a domestic program over an international program?

I chose the DukeEngage Detroit domestic program because I was drawn in by its focus on social entrepreneurship ––the notion that all individuals, from the most lowly creature to the highest magistrate – has the ability to affect the lives of the people around us and around the world. My gut instinct was correct, and I have since tumbled deep down the rabbit hole of social entrepreneurship, and I’m ready to see how far deep the rabbit hole goes.

What is one thing that you’ve learned that you did not know before participating in your DukeEngage program?

My community placement this past summer was at TechTown, which is a startup incubator for small businesses. A startup incubator provides advice, funding, and other resources for driven entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses and turn their ideas into reality. From working with dozens of student entrepreneurs and older entrepreneurs, I’ve learned that the ability to treat failure as an opportunity to grow is an essential trait of any successful entrepreneur. Whether that means pivoting their original idea or refining the idea, the most successful entrepreneurs I’ve worked with had an action plan for each roadblock, and, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, moved from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm.

What experiences with alumni have you had during your domestic program? How have alumni enriched your program?

Our program had the opportunity to visit former GM CEO Rick Wagoner’s house for dinner. Sure, Mr. Wagoner had keen perceptions on how Detroit’s overreliance on the auto sector contributed to its downfall, but Mrs. Wagoner sure served up a mean guacamole dip. Also, they have a bathroom modeled after the interior of a racing car. The toilet is the driver’s seat, and it faces the sink, which has a driving wheel in place of a faucet. Talk about a NASCAR driver’s (or little boy’s) dream. On a more serious note, we’ve also had the chance to visit the home of Marquita Bedway and Al LaHood, who was kind enough to share dinner with us as well. Mr. LaHood is currently involved with several local for-impact organizations, and his advice and wisdom gave me more perspective on the state of the social sector in Detroit.

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The End of the Conference, featuring all of the speakers and panelists

Regardless of which program students ultimately decide to apply, I encourage prospective applicants to not focus on how appealing the location of a particular program may be, but instead on how much the content of the program excites them. Is this program something that they are passionate about? Does the program light their fires? Does the program’s subject matter raise or lower the applicant’s energy level? All of these questions are more important than asking a trivial question like, “Does this place have a nice beach and a nice ocean view?” I’m all for having nice ocean views, but I’ve realized that it is only through enduring discomfort that we can grow as individuals and find our calling in life.

Interestingly, the same litmus test can be applied for nearly everything in life – our choice of careers and spouse, for instance. In my case, I participated in the DukeEngage Detroit program, which focused on social entrepreneurship. Since I knew that social entrepreneurship is something that lights my fire, I decided to go ahead and apply for the DukeEngage Detroit program.

Social entrepreneurship is something that I could talk about for hours with a stranger on the subway about. It’s something that I would love to pursue as a future career choice. The thought of applying the toolkits of business entrepreneurship to promote sustainable social impact is enough to make my eyes widen and heart skip a beat. It’s like that Dr. Seuss quotation that goes, “You know that you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”

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“You can’t repeat the past.”

“Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!” – Jay Gatsby

My dream lies with the boundless, indomitable power of the individual. I believe that all of us have a limitless capacity to improve the world around us, and have the power to, in the words of William Faulkner, not merely “endure,” but “prevail.” In America, Henry Ford may have invented the assembly line, but each of us has the ability to invent and reinvent ourselves. In a country like America, the only barrier towards reaching success is our self.

The Ebola Crisis, the Modern Data Explosion, and Cross-Sector Collaboration

By Peter Shi T’16

Duke had its first Ebola Innovation Challenge, a competition between students to generate the best ideas to combat the Ebola epidemic, which has hit the East African countries of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and recently Mali. Taking place between October 23 and November 5, the challenge featured teams randomly selected from all of the Duke’s schools, including both undergraduate schools, the medical school, the Fuqua School of Business, the Sanford School of Public Policy, and the Duke Global Health Institute. In total, over 30 teams and 165 students competed to take the prize of further funding to allow the winning team to turn their idea into a reality.

The Challenge’s winner featured a team that proposed an Ebola kit for patients with basic supplies, including IV fluids with electrolytes, peripheral IV kits, cleaning supplies for patient waste, and biohazard bags. Such a kit would not only be easily scalable, but it would also minimize patient care errors, and allow low-skilled workers in these countries to rapidly be trained to fill the lack of active health care workers in the area.


The runner up team’s idea was an open-source mobile application for surveillance that would allow people who suspect they have Ebola to send their symptoms to a database. An algorithm, compiled using the research and opinions of physicians and disease researchers, would then analyze those symptoms and send back their risk of infection. Such a procedure would save many patients from having to visit the hospital, and thus increasing the likelihood of contaminating hospital workers.

Other ideas included a pulse point cooling system to lower the risk of stroke and overheating, retraining Ebola survivors (who are now immune to the disease) for counseling and waste disposal, and putting glow-in-the-dark paint to train health care workers to follow proper procedures to put on and take off personal protective equipment.

All participants were encouraged to post their ideas on OpenIDEO, an open-source website that publicly highlights the ideas for the world to see. Like Wikipedia and YouTube, OpenIDEO allows a global community to edit, critique, and build upon the ideas of others in a continuing dialogue to address relevant issues of the day. OpenIDEO is a way to create value from competitions such as the Ebola Innovation Challenge and leverage the ideas of students as a force for social good. It also allows cross-sector collaboration – this leads to results such as an entrepreneur and a global health official creating a fundraising nonprofit, or an artist and an engineer to design a new piece of personal protective equipment.

When we reflect on the amazing technology, we see that collaborations and dialogue between people in different fields are the driving force behind all of this technology. Also, upon further reflection, we see that the source of such collaboration and dialogue is the proliferation of publicly available data. From mobile applications and OpenIDEO to Wikipedia and YouTube, open-sourced data is one of the most powerful developments in the world.

Consider that more data has been produced in the past several years than in the rest of human history. Let that sink in for a minute.

According to a March 2014 BBC report, about 90 percent of all data – 2.5 exabytes, or 2.5 million gigabytes, per day – have been produced in the past several years. Not only is this data transforming the face of communication and research in the modern age, but it also has widespread effects on the future course of technological progress.

Yet, over 75% of the data being produced is unstructured data – data that requires further analysis and interpretation to communicate patterns and relevant information for both researchers and the public domain. Like a field of gold buried within a mountain, the data is trapped and waiting to be mined for value.

However, we should look to the past to know that we should exercise caution and restraint, even when tapping into the gold mine of data now available. For example, such data could be used by nations to infringe upon the personal rights of individuals, by businesses to exploit their consumers, and by individuals to exploit their fellow man. Ultimately, technology is a double-edged sword, able to both empower tyrants and help vanquish Ebola. I would like to live in a world where only one edge of that sword is used.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26383058

Business Entrepreneurship and Social Entrepreneurship: Twin Engines of Innovation

By Peter Shi T’16

If someone had asked me to define Entrepreneurship a year ago, I would have described Entrepreneurship as the academic cousin of Business or as the art of selling products and services. Say the word “entrepreneur,” and I would have pictured someone like Henry Ford or Andrew Carnegie – titans of commerce and masters of the free market, fearless leaders who stopped at nothing to churn out a profit.

Ford_Edison_Firestone1 Martin_Luther_King_-_March_on_Washington

Two Sides of the Same Coin: Left: Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Harvey Firestone; Ft. Myers Florida, February 11, 1929; Right: Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering “I Have a Dream Speech,” Lincoln Memorial, August 28, 1963

Ask me the same question today, and I’ll answer by saying that Entrepreneurship is not only an activity or an academic discipline. It’s also a state of mind – a lifelong attitude of human ingenuity and perseverance. The spirit of entrepreneurship is the lifeblood of modern capitalism and the greatest engine of economic growth in the Western world.

But why do we call Edison and Gates “true” entrepreneurs, but not Gandhi and King? I would argue that all four embody the purest essence of human ingenuity and perseverance, albeit in distinct ways: Gandhi and King measured their worth through social change and social impact, whereas Edison and Gates measured their worth through technological disruption and profit. Therefore, the distinction between business entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship comes from the distinction between using profit and social impact as barometers of success.

The concept of social entrepreneurship is an exceedingly new one – first found in print in 1972 and popularized by Bill Drayton after founding Ashoka in 1981, it has existed before that primary in the form of the grassroots and volunteer efforts of non-government organizations (NGOs) and non-profit organizations. Yet, the term prefix non- somehow negates the immeasurable value that comes from social entrepreneurship, somehow relegates them as beneath organizations dedicated solely to raising profit and revenue.


Bill Drayton at Ashoka’s 25th Anniversary Celebration, 2006

As Drayton states, the name for-impact organization does much to counter such an effect. After all, how do we measure the effect of a single well that provides a Kenyan village with clean drinking water? How do we measure the joy of a Cambodian woman escaping poverty through a microloan that allowed her to launch a textile store? How do we measure the gratitude of a child in the South Bronx that was given an education that allowed him to be the first in his family to attend college? Social impact is often not measured in dollars and cents, but rather through transcendent moments – a smile, a hug – that reaffirm our belief in humanity. In these fleeting moments, power and hope springs from our collective effort to improve the human condition.

Among the most exciting aspects of modern social entrepreneurship is its universal accessibility – anyone from a woman in a rural village in Africa to the son of the heir of a New York-based hotel chain can decide to improve the lives of their fellow humans. So what is social entrepreneurship? Take a good look in the mirror – we all have the ability to positively impact our world.