Josefina Van Thienen
I was born and raised in a Latin American country with approximately 30% of people living in poverty. This has given me a passion for improving people’s lives and driving change for a better future. This passion pushed me to get involved with TECHO, an Argentinean NGO, which proved to be a transformational experience that had a significant impact on my worldview.
Working with low-income individuals on various projects, from housing to microloans, taught me how small groups of dedicated people can have outsized effects on the world at large. After five years of volunteering on community service projects I decided to work at TECHO as a Fundraising VP to build bridges between families, volunteers, public workers and corporations. Over the course of my three years at TECHO, we worked to improve living conditions in low-income areas through campaigns to raise awareness, public policy work, and a series of urbanization projects. During those years, I discovered that inspiring others to drive change is my passion.
Why did you choose Fuqua?
I strongly believe that to make a more scalable impact, we as a society need to change the mindset of the private sector, merging the social and private worlds.
I chose to attend Fuqua because of the school’s outstanding reputation for exploring the intersection between business and social impact. Fuqua’s commitment to leadership development and teamwork resonates with me. With the emphasis on group work the first year and multiple opportunities for club leadership Fuqua was a no- brainer. Additionally, the CASE program and resources like the Net Impact Club and CASE i3, Fuqua will be invaluable at increasing my understanding of the social impact industry.
What impact do you hope your Fuqua education will allow you to have on the world?
The academic experience here will give me the foundational knowledge to understand how to make decisions within a business context. I am excited for the opportunities to continue growing as a leader by serving in student government or as a club chair.
The immense Fuqua network will assist me in continuing to build bridges between business and society. I will need these skills to drive change in the different environments I will join after Fuqua. I hope to continue to use this powerful network in order to build bridges between the problems social issues and problem solvers.
Share one of your 25 facts from your application essay.
I believe in the power of women: from the composition of my house to the way I’ve been raised, I have had many role models who impacted me. In TECHO, women living in low income neighborhoods have routinely astonished me with their strength. They are often heads of households, and fight hard to change their daily reality in the midst of prejudice and chauvinism. Many of these women are heroes to me.
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 our newest CASE Scholars. You can read about our other scholars here.