A fellow classmate recently described social entrepreneurship to me as a ”reimaging of the liberal arts education”. He explained that engagement in social entrepreneurship presents an opportunity to prepare students for a life of meaning and purpose, and that it does so through teaching personal, professional, and intellectual skills that empower students to be leaders across almost any field. My experiences working with Duke’s Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD) over the past two years have led me to believe that this is the case. These experiences with SEAD have allowed me to reimagine and reinvent my own Duke education.
Throughout the development and growth of my own social venture, One Sun Health, I have had the opportunity to learn from students, staff, and innovators who work with SEAD. The members of the SEAD Student Advisory Council (SAC) in particular have provided a significant amount of guidance as I’ve worked through challenges common to social entrepreneurs – launching a website, applying to grants, and incorporating as a legal entity. However, it is the less tangible forms of mentorship that my peers have provided that have most inspired and impacted me.
As a member and co-chair of the SEAD SAC, I have been able to connect with ambitious students across Duke’s undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools. These students have worked tirelessly to increase the social entrepreneurship and global health conversation on campus. They have worked to inspire students by designing case competitions and workshops. They have worked to engage students by imagining alumni networking tools and mentored research opportunities with SEAD’s global innovators. SEAD SAC-inspired activities like these have helped us to form a family of students and faculty who share common goals of innovating change globally, and have ultimately made our campus a more colorful place to work, study, and live.
My time with SEAD has helped me to discover my passion for working at the intersections of global health and social entrepreneurship, encouraging me to continue to expand One Sun Health in South Africa this summer and pushing me to explore the public sector next year as a business analyst with Accenture Federal Services. Beyond this, I hope to follow the footsteps of many of SEAD’s amazing innovators, leading the creation and growth of new health systems models and healthcare products in the developing world. I have come to see social entrepreneurship not only as a reimagining of the liberal arts education, but also as a reimagining of our ability to generate powerful, sustainable change in the world. SEAD has created a community that stands at the forefront of this reimaging process at Duke, and I am forever thankful to have been a part of it.
Learn more about Katie's work with MAP here.