Fairfield Dolan Launches Social Impact Research Program for Summer Interns

Fairfield Dolan Launches Social Impact Research Program for Summer Interns

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This summer, Fairfield Dolan faculty members established the Social Impact Research program, which provided internship opportunities for four students at a local non-profit organization.

This internship made the students think outside of themselves and help people who are struggling, not only with the current pandemic, but with trying to find their footing in this new society.

— Economics Professor William Vasquez Mazariegos, PhD

The global pandemic was no match for Fairfield University’s Charles F. Dolan School of Business. As students' summer internship positions evaporated, Dolan faculty responded by establishing the Summer 2020 Dolan Social Impact Research program, which provided internships to four Fairfield undergraduates.

At Bridgeport’s Caroline House, a non-profit community partner dedicated to teaching English language and life skills to immigrant women, Executive Director Lucy Freeman tasked the interns with conducting research on effective pandemic operations.

Management and marketing double major Malen Iglesias ’22, and economics majors Donald Ciampi ’21, Elizabeth Benson ’22, and Helen Vasquez Ramos ’24, came up with ways for Caroline House to facilitate a successful virtual fall transition and actively engage their donor base. Working remotely, the group brainstormed ideas, analyzed data, curated surveys, and presented tangible deliverables entirely over Zoom.   

This unique opportunity gave the team a chance to display their talents and skills for the greater good of those they were serving. They wrote, translated, and disseminated a survey for the organization’s 4,000 donors to determine the type of information they wanted from Caroline House, and to assess their interest in virtual and in-person fundraisers. Additionally, they evaluated students’ needs and their comfort level in returning to class. From the data collected, the interns created graphs and tables to broadcast findings, and wrote two reports recommending ways Caroline House might proceed with services post-pandemic. 

Economics Professor William Vasquez Mazariegos, PhD, mentored the students. “This internship made the students think outside of themselves and help people who are struggling, not only with the current pandemic, but with trying to find their footing in this new society," he said. "By helping Caroline House and their beneficiaries, the students have become more socially aware — realizing that not everyone lives in the same conditions as they do, and they have become more morally responsible by noting that their work has some impact on a broader community.”

Fairfield Dolan hopes to expand the Social Impact Research program next year, to provide opportunities for up to 10 Dolan students.

Tags:  Dolan School

Last modified: 08-26-20 12:00 AM

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