By Susan Liu '17
This summer I have been interning at The Resolution Project, a youth leadership development organization that works with undergraduate social entrepreneurs. Resolution supports these students through seed funding, mentorship, advisory services, and a network of like-minded peers and leaders. They have a unique and impactful model for empowering young entrepreneurs. Resolution collaborates with existing youth conferences, such as the Harvard Model United Nations (MUN) conferences and the United Nations Youth Assembly, to host Social Venture Challenges (SVCs). SVCs are multi-stage competitions that combine web-based submissions, live rounds of presentations, and due diligence. Undergraduate students are invited to propose social ventures through SVCs at these youth conferences, and Resolution Fellowships are awarded to young leaders who fit criteria of compelling personal leadership characteristics and whose social venture proposals fit criteria of promise. Fellows are awarded seed funding and assigned to Guides, young professionals who can offer them expertise and guidance. Resolution also provides other forms of assistance and advice to its Fellows.
Resolution’s founders were inspired to create Resolution after they attended youth conferences when they were students. When I was being interviewed, they told me how disappointed they were to see students spend so much time researching solutions to global social issues for each MUN session, only for their visions and efforts to conclude with the end of each conference. The story resonated with me because I had spent a good deal of time researching for MUN when I was in high school. Like many other students, MUN not only appealed to me because of the debate in interesting social topics, but because of the chance it provided to imagine oneself as a powerful catalyst of change. Even if it was just for a few days in committee, a student could feel like they were negotiating and legislating their way into a more ideal society as “policymakers”. With this kind of mindset, once the simulation ends, you’re just a regular high school or college student again. Resolution has provided resources that encourage young people to pursue social innovation beyond these conferences. While not all of Resolution’s Fellows have chosen to pursue their Resolution sponsored projects full time once they graduated, survey results show that the vast majority of Fellows that take on other full time jobs identify as social entrepreneurs and find ways to exercise social responsibility within their careers and day to day lives. Resolution has created a process that encourages some of today’s brightest and most innovative young minds to be socially responsible leaders wherever they go.
As an Impact Evaluation intern, I have the task of helping the Impact Evaluation team collect, analyze, and present self-reported survey data from our Fellows and Guides. The position really appealed to me because I was able to learn and build on my quantitative and marketing skills. A big component of my work has been crunching and interpreting numbers and performance metrics across the organization, specifically within the projects of Resolution’s Fellows. Yet I was also asked to look for better ways to present our numbers, as well as more “qualitative” information, such as the reviews and comments left by our Fellows and Guides. Working in the office was interesting because of the unique structure that Resolution follows. Aside from any interns, Resolution runs on five paid employees and an incredible base of skilled and dedicated volunteers. It’s so inspiring for me to interact with young professionals who are able to take time out of their busy schedules to advance Resolution’s cause. For example, someone who interviewing me in my first-round interview, and who plays a huge role in Impact Evaluation at Resolution, is a volunteer currently pursuing her MBA at Yale and balancing a summer impact investing internship. I’ve really loved being able to learn more about the daily operations of a nonprofit, and couldn’t have imagined any other role where I could have combined presentation and quantitative analysis to help advance such a worthy cause.