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Cecilia Guerra

Graduation Year:
Spring 2023
BDP Certificate:
Social Entrepreneurship & Non-profits
"Working with people from different majors, and being surrounded by different disciplines, is really fulfilling."

How did you find this research assistantship?

In summer 2021, I completed an internship in Connecting Experience, and Dr. Dennis Passovoy served as my faculty mentor. It was thanks to him that in spring 2022, I was able to find my Rainewable Research Assistantship. Dr. Passovoy is a board member of the non-profit organization Project Schoolhouse. I reached out to him asking if there were any opportunities for me to fulfill my second Connecting Experience with this non-profit, and to my surprise, there was!

What kind of work did you do as a research assistant and what did you learn through this experience?

My main task was to help in the communication and translation of documents from English to Spanish, as we were closely working with and for a local community in Nicaragua. However, my work also involved building the rainwater catchment system prototype that the Nicaragua community would be using. Learning about the building process and engineering of the prototype helped me translate the building manual documents.

What was the most rewarding aspect of your Connecting Experience?

As a Latina, the most rewarding part of this experience was helping to change lives of people in a Latin American country. I was a small part of a huge effort mainly based on improving education, which is so important to making long-term change. It was also rewarding to see that all the difficulties we had as a team, or I had when working in disciplines I had no experience in, paid off in the end and created an impact.

In what ways has this Connecting Experience shaped your plans for the future?

Making a social impact made this experience especially rewarding. Because of this, I know in the future I want to be involved in similar projects. Additionally, working with people from different majors, and being surrounded by different disciplines, is really fulfilling. I would love to be in this type of environment in the future. Lastly, even though I loved my research, I realized that my interests are in the operations, helping to manage and organize finances, logistics and problem-solving.

Discuss the relationship that you had with your faculty mentor, and how they helped you during this Connecting Experience.

I am most grateful to my faculty mentor, Dr. Passovoy. He helped throughout two Connecting Experiences to make the most out of them. I felt comfortable asking for direction and guidance on any problem. He gave me great advice and helped me to reflect or see new perspectives in situations that influenced my approach a problem.