Name: Shashank Sharma ’17
Hometown: Delhi, India
Minor: Comparative Literature
Experience: Internship, ‘Human Connections Micro-Entrepreneurial Winter Internship’
For two weeks over winter break, Sharma worked as an intern for Human Connections, a nonprofit “social enterprise” based in Bucerias, Jalisco, Mexico. Human Connections is “founded on the notion that seeing the world from diverse perspectives inspires vision, innovation, and action towards lasting social change.”
“I never expected to grow so much in the short time that I was there, both personally and professionally. I got a chance to see the people that I was directly affecting and working with, and knew that even though I wasn’t going to revolutionize their business and life, I was still making a difference.
“For those who aren’t familiar with (a social enterprise), it is an organization that has a social mission and has a revenue-generating business model. The profits are used towards making a social impact rather than given to external shareholders.
“I, personally, love what they do because they work with low-income artisans and micro-entrepreneurs who come from humble backgrounds and connect them with students like me, (providing) professional experience for the interns and business opportunities for the client.
“Frankly, I never really expected to learn so much in the short period of two weeks that I was there. I was a part of a consulting group … with three interns, and our client needed help with marketing. The culture in Mexico is so different from the United States and, in my time there, I learned to adapt to it while working with my client as well as with the other interns in my group. …
“I got a chance to see the people that I was directly affecting and working with, and knew that even though I wasn’t going to revolutionize their business and life, I was still making a difference.
“(On campus,) I’m currently interning for the Community Service Learning Center and working in the social sector is something that I’m looking to do after graduation. With that said, the concept of social enterprise is something that I was not familiar with and was heartening for me to see as a plausible career option.”