Ariel Durgana is a former Student Research Assistant for the Center for Social Impact Communication, where she provided key support on the Center’s priority initiatives–ranging from leading an impact-gathering project to supporting cutting-edge social impact research. Ariel is also an alumna of Georgetown University’s master of professional studies in Public Relations and Corporate Communications program.
Center for Social Impact Communication: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you’ve ended up in your current position as the Center’s Student Research Assistant.
Ariel Durgana: It all started in the South Side of Chicago. I was teaching through City Year and it became alarmingly clear that urban schools do not get enough resources, funding or overall support. Through the Deloitte Mentorship Program, I was able to work with my mentor to bring consultants to the South Side and be a professional presence for my students. It gave them something to look up to and it changed the way they pursued goals others wrote them off for. The same thing went for my middle and high school entrepreneurs at the University of Notre Dame. My mentor from Chicago sponsored my students to come to the Downtown Office where they presented their business plans in exchange for pro-bono consulting. It was an incredible experience for both parties. My students felt a sense of worth and the consultants felt a sense of agency. This is why I am so passionate about corporate social responsibility and social impact. Being the Student Research Assistant at the Center for Social Impact Communication allows me to research all the incredible ways organizations are advised to give back to the community and get first hand knowledge and research on what the next megatrends are, both incredibly important for making a real change.
The Center: How did you first hear about the Center?
AD: I first heard about the Center while working in at the Center for Student Engagement, a branch of Georgetown University’s Student Affairs Division. I was the Graduate Student Advisor and constantly used the Center as a resource for my graduate students interested in how communication plays a huge role in social impact.
The Center: What aspect of the Center’s Student Research Assistant position are you most excited about?
AD: I am a huge nerd when it comes to learning best practices. I love the idea of seeing what others done and either replicating it or building upon it. So researching the capstone projects that revolve around social impact and giving back to the community makes me so excited about coming into work every day!
The Center: Do you have any advice for students who are interested in getting involved with the Center?
AD: GO ON THE FIELD TRIPS! These are incredible opportunities to see what’s going on in your neighborhood and a great way to get involved with corporate social responsibilities. These field trips take you to some amazing organizations and really open your eyes to the good that is going on in the DMV area.
The Center: You’re taking Cause Consulting this semester; what are you most excited about exploring in that course?
AD: I am the most excited about working with my client, Girls, Inc. They are an incredible organization that stands for something even greater. Inspiring young women to be strong, bold and smart is incredibly important to me, especially having two younger sisters. It is important for young women to know they can be anything, do anything and want anything they work hard for.