Duke’s Fuqua School of Business offers scholarships each year to individuals with social sector backgrounds who are looking to acquire business skills for use in their pursuit of social impact. The CASE Social Sector Scholarship brings in amazing students who add a richness to the Fuqua student body and bring their unique perspectives to the classroom. We are proud to announce the 2017 CASE Scholars with this week featuring Chris Castro. You can read about our other scholars here.
Chris Castro works to ensure equitable access to educational opportunity for all students through team leadership, coaching, driving resources, and implementing reforms for young scholars. Prior to becoming a CASE Scholar, Chris grew up in Los Angeles as the fifth of six children born to a native Angelina and a Peruvian immigrant. After Chris graduated from Loyola Marymount University, he worked as a 5th and 6th grade teacher in northern Honduras for the nonprofit organization “The Farm of the Child,” engaging bright Honduran students in English, Science, and Math instruction.
Motivated by the power of education, Chris left Honduras to continue work in providing high-quality education in the U.S. through City Year. Most recently Chris served as the Senior Director of Program and Service for City Year Milwaukee – responsible for all programmatic operation results and securing high-level contracts with state and local education and national service organizations. Chris made the move to Durham with his wife, Annie, who started her residency in anesthesia at the Duke Medical Center. He and Annie met while working for the Farm of the Child in Honduras and he must say, she is awesome!
As I tried to conceptualize this experience, business school, for me, was a place that would undergird my previous experience with a world-class education in solving complex global problems amongst some of the world’s brightest problem-solvers. City Year and the Farm of the Child made me aware of the power of social ventures and I wanted to build a network of individuals who are talented at imagining what better could be and how to get there.
As I visited a number of business schools during my initial research, I realized that there were many schools that offer various amounts of engagement in social ventures. From my years in Milwaukee I became passionate about the agility that smaller communities have as incubators of change that could be scaled later.
CASE and Net Impact have the opportunity to work in a unique community, Durham, at a time that this community is facing a lot of transformation. My wife and I knew that this move to Durham would be at least for four years and I wanted to be at a school that intentionally roots itself in the center of community empowerment.
In my visit to Fuqua and conversations with members of Net Impact and CASE, it became apparent that many members of Duke are trying to answer an important question, “How do we grow as a community while not disenfranchising communities that have historically occupied this city?”
Last, I was really attracted to Fuqua by Team Fuqua, the focus on teamwork in class, and the wide variety of options for leadership. I am passionate about the power of diverse coalitions of people and Fuqua seemed like the place to grow diverse, team-focused leaders, not just sprinkle in business skills to a talented pool of individuals.
What impact do you hope your Fuqua education will allow you to have on the world?
I hope that my Fuqua education will leave me as a dedicated, team-focused, problem-solver with a powerful network at the ready. In the future I would love to be a “leader of consequence” that will help to build a more representative democracy through direct work in social ventures and through coalition-building political actions.
I will need the problem solving skills to select/build an impactful social venture. I need the network to help me find ways to be sustainable and to help me build coalitions for developing a more perfect democracy. I know Fuqua is the place where I will find a network at the ready because of the power of the Team Fuqua sentiment expressed during the Minority Diversity Weekend. Alumni from all over the country came back to show the strength of the Fuqua community.
With the problem solving skills, and powerful network, I believe that I can support the work required to remove barriers from anyone participating fully and having their voice heard equally in our political process.
Share one of the 25 facts from your application essay
On the first day of practice for high school football, my ex-Marines coach told me I reminded him of one of his fellow troop mates, Ortega. He called me Ortega for the rest of high school and to this day many of my classmates believe that is my name.