We think the best way to pick from the many wonderful stories is to highlight where candidates were in their lives (personally, academically and professionally) when we first met them on the recruiting trail, and where the journey of being in the program eventually took them. The path students take sometimes goes in a very different direction from what they initially thought they wanted.
It is a joy to witness the openness to change and growth in these students. We tell every candidate to use the program to explore and test assumptions about their life plans.
But that's only some of our participants.
Other people come to us with very clear ideas of what they want to do.
One case in particular is Jamal, who had already established his own 501(c)(3) nonprofit and was looking to the program to help him launch his organization. That is precisely what he did. See Jamal's story in more detail below.
What do you want to achieve?
Whatever journey the students take during the program, at IPSL, we measure our effectiveness by looking at three pillars of distinction. These areas demonstrate achievement by students. IPSL hopes that every student will achieve at least one during the program, which can then serve as a point of departure for future employment or further study.
Those pillars are: 1) Success at fundraising, including grants, 2) Publishing an article in a scholarly journal, and 3) Being accepted to, and presenting at, a professional conference. We celebrate when a student achieves one of these pillars of distinction, and nearly all do; we are elated when they achieve more than one.
Mindy started with a focus on health care and ended up working in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). When we first met her, she seemed very interested in Global Health. When she got to Italy, that all changed. Her experiences there helped her become acquainted with the wine industry. In particular, Mindy was interested in how the wineries relate to and engage with the community around them. After some research and work in the field, Mindy ended up creating CSR initiatives for the wine and beer industry.
These programs included connecting the industry players with community organizations that need support, creating fundraising initiatives, providing marketing/visibility guidance for wineries and breweries so that they can demonstrate their ethical approach to community engagement. This is an example of a student who now works in the for-profit sector, but in a way that encourages corporations to operate with a triple bottom line, measuring their success economically, socially, and environmentally.