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Summer with Students from the Yucatan

Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership

Summer with Students from the Yucatan


In our March/April newsletter, we announced a new partnership between the Colin Powell School and the Council for Science, Innovation and Technology of the State of Yucatan. We are excited to share that this year’s pilot program is off to a successful start. 

The pilot project, which began July 3, has brought twelve recent college graduates to the Colin Powell School for a month of leadership, language, graduate school preparation and social entrepreneurial classes. The group has also been touring New York City’s most important civic and cultural sites, including taking an insider’s tour of the United Nations and the National Museum of the American Indian.


Each of the young women brings to the project a unique background and a specific set of goals she would like to achieve before the end of the month, and have therefore been paired with the Zahn Innovation Center to look at designing socially innovative responses to issues affecting their communities at home in the Yucatan. The Zahn Innovation Center was established in 2012 through a grant to the City College Fund by alum Irwin Zahn’s family foundation, the Moxie Foundation. During their closing ceremony on July 30, the group will have an opportunity to share their entrepreneurship projects with the Colin Powell School’s staff and faculty.

Anasa Scott, Social Innovation Facilitator, who is working with the group twice a week during their stay, has been “excited to introduce principles and tools of social entrepreneurship to such a dynamic group of women with bold ideas for advancing social change and community development across the Yucatan."

For Lindsay Siegel, Zahn Center Director, it is an “honor to be a part of this program, as we are learning so much from these community leaders while also enabling their social objectives through the tools of entrepreneurship. Whether they are focused on obesity, cultural preservation, the rights of indigenous women or environmental protection, the women in this program bring both passion and utter commitment to advancing the causes of their communities."

While each of the young women came to the program thinking in broad terms about their plans for graduate school in the future, Academic Coordinator Natalia Trujillo notes that the program aims to drill down to each student's core strengths. “We have prepared an exciting workshop that will help the students identify their talents by completing Gallup's StrengthsFinder Assessments," Trujillo said. "Our goal is that each student discover what they naturally do best and understand how this relates to their future professional careers. Studies show that people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on their job, which leads to job satisfaction and career advancement. The group will highly benefit from this session and we anticipate that they will work towards maximizing their inner talents and start living a strengths-based life.”

The Colin Powell School has been honored to sponsor this project and looks forward to continuing the collaboration in the future, with study abroad opportunities, leadership training and joint programming that will benefit students at the school as well as those in the Yucatan.