5/5/2014 - Five graduating students and four alumni have been named to the inaugural class of Youn Impact Scholars
, a new program designed to empower and support members of the Kellogg community engaged in social innovation.
The honor recognizes graduating students and alumni who are launching new enterprises, influencing policy decisions and leveraging the private sector for positive social change. The scholars embody the Kellogg spirit and will work toward addressing some of the world’s toughest social challenges, says Jamie Jones, director of social entrepreneurship.
The program’s ultimate goal will be to create a community and platform for scholars to engage in world-changing pursuits, inspire one another throughout all career stages and contribute to inclusive global prosperity, Jones says.
“In 10 or 20 years, there will be hundreds of Impact Scholars,” says Andrew Youn ’06, one of the alumni scholars. The program is named after Youn following his efforts as co-founder of the One Acre Fund
, a service organization that serves rural farmers in Africa.
Adds Youn: “Tens of thousands of people will work in social enterprises under these leaders. This will represent an incredible network for positive social good — a network of top-educated social entrepreneurs, all working together in different ways to make the world a better place.”
Student winners are selected based on their current and past involvement in social innovation and their vision for leveraging business for social impact in the future, Jones says.
Graduating students and alumni will be picked every year to join the program. Scholars will meet biennially to share ideas, discuss challenges and collaborate on their work in social innovation.
Through these meetings, scholars will develop new initiatives to implement social change in a number of ways, including new venture launches, impact investing and "intrapreneurship," thinking like an entrepreneur while working within a larger corporation.
The involvement of alumni, not just graduating students, creates a community where ideas can thrive, says Jones. “Being experienced and active in this space already, alumni involvement is essential as they will act as role models, mentors and in the long run, collaborators.”
“An incredible network”
That idea of collaboration excites Youn Impact Scholar Meladee Evans ’14. She wants to improve access to affordable education in low-income communities, but admits she can’t do that on her own.
“This is a really big dream, and I can’t really say I have all the pieces together. I’m going to need folks who’ve been there before,” says Evans, who plans to go into the education sector post-graduation. “Having a network of people who are going to inspire you, motivate you and hold you accountable, I hope that will continue on in the long run.”
Air of Accountability
Akifumi Kita ’14, an MMM candidate, echoes that appreciation for accountability. He says every career path, including one focused on social impact, has its distractions, but he doesn’t want to lose track of his goal to bring long-term, middle-class manufacturing jobs to underdeveloped countries.
“The fact that every two years we’re going to [meet up] and talk, that creates a network that keeps you true to your ideals,” Kita says. “There’s a sense of responsibility in terms of legacy. It’s what I want to leave the world with, making it better than when I entered it.”
Full list of this year’s Youn Impact Scholars: