Local and Global Engagement: A Reflection | Tiffany Vazquez, M.Ed. HEA ’19

My name is Tiffany Vazquez and I am currently completing my final semester of my graduate program in higher education administration at Peabody College.

This semester I participated in Social Enterprise Consulting and Project Pyramid. I initially participated in these programs because I wanted to work with interdisciplinary teams on challenging projects. Additionally, I wanted to learn more about consulting and project management through work with local and global partners.

Social Enterprise Consulting paired our team locally with the Nashville Symphony and Project Pyramid paired us with Welcommon Hostel in Greece. Working on projects related to poverty alleviation and social enterprise pushed me to consider new career paths and provided me with an extended network of passionate and motivated graduate students across Vanderbilt’s campus.

One of the most memorable experience I had through these two programs was when our client in Athens set up a workshop on refugee resettlement with a local nonprofit for our consulting team and the hostel interns. As a group we were able to learn about day-to-day challenges directly from a member of the refugee community and have engaging dialogue with interns and staff following the workshop and presentation.  As a result of these insights we were able to provide more nuanced and sensitive organization recommendations for our final deliverables.

At my graduate assistantship in The Office of Active Citizenship and Service (housed under the Office of the Dean of Students) my team and I think a lot about ethical engagement with communities and student learning outcomes. My assistantship in combination with this experience allowed me to explore these areas as a student, interact with local and global communities and grow professional skills that I will take into my career back in Chicago.

Overall, I learned a lot from my teammates in both Social Enterprise Consulting and Project Pyramid because of the different perspectives that they brought to the table and am excited to follow future projects.