Corazón Digital: A Chilean University’s Alumni Volunteer to make an Impact

“It’s not that successful people are givers; it’s that givers
turn into incredibly successful people.” — Patti Thor

Any curious researcher wanting to learn more about which top-notch Chilean universities lead the way to progressively educating this emerging nation’s future work force, will no doubt discover La Universidad de las Artes, Ciencias, y Comunicaciones – also known by its international acronym UNIACC.

The private university, since opening their doors in 1989, currently operates three campuses (including the institution’s Santiago headquarters), offering 18 bachelor’s and two master’s programs to a 3,000+ student congregation. Moreover, comparable to the premier arts/technology instructor networks one finds at Yale, Harvard, MIT, and Stanford; UNIACC boasts an internationally recognizable, faculty directory all their own. And while class choices run the gamut between digital communications, computer science, architecture, journalism, etc. – all UNIACC degree candidates enter their respective programs with an understanding that their work must exhibit passionate creativity and always harbor a unique force combining invention, innovation and change.

As a result, by encouraging such a standard amongst the entire student body, this produces a dynamic alumni community, who then go on to work with world’s top media publications, advertising agencies, marketing firms, or even for a brand’s global internal communications team. Collectively, these graduates recognize that charismatic professionals lead by example, continue their education beyond graduation and give charitably whenever possible. So perhaps it’s unsurprising that earlier this summer when a relatively small group of UNIACC alumni began campaigning to launch the initiative Corazón Digital – as a way to help mainly immigrant women learn necessary, basic computer program skills – university administrators practically leaped at the opportunity to offer the organizing committee resources and their enthusiastic support.

Although Corazón Digital maintains an admirable, on-going track record, launching any new project or philanthropic effort will unavoidably generate numerous challenges. In an interview with the university, Senior Director of Communications, Alfredo Santibanez shares that, “One of the first challenges for the project was that it was needed [a] digital volunteers form; that is, [a way to find] people who can teach information technology. We found that the digital volunteer training requires some knowledge and content must be systematized.” Indeed, coordinating, organizing and distributing materials takes patience, time and effort. On average, the program’s volunteers spend 32+ hours teaching course lectures that all explain how to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint successfully.

However, anything worth completing correctly typically adds up to a rewarding end. To date, 300+ participants now posse an advanced training background regarding these programs. More importantly, course instructors also see an intangible benefit by volunteering their time to help improve the local community. Since seeing this initiative’s impact around campus Santibanez observes how, “[Student volunteers] gain an awareness about realities that maybe [they] did not know; [every volunteer] can provide concrete tools for people to overcome their barriers, gaps and situations that may [previously excluded them] from better job performance.” An earnest testament proving once again how one never experiences success without giving selflessly first.

Courtesy of Twitter.com/IntelAprenderCL

If you’re interested in supporting the Corazón Digital initiative, there are several ways to follow up with UNIACC, in addition to the school’s main website.  They promote several social media channels including active Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts.  Specific questions about the program can be directed to either Magdalena Quintero, Intel® Aprender’s Lead Coordinator or UNIACC’s Senior Communications Director, Alfredo Santibanez.  Lastly, if you’re a UNIACC alum/current student that’s worked with Corazón Digital at any point, please feel free to share your thoughts/comments about volunteering below.  Here’s a cheer to this fantastic cause and the truly inspiring individuals that kickstart this project both on and offline. ¡Felicitaciones para su trabajando!

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

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Why Bother with an EMAC M.A.? I’ll Give You A Reason Why and then some


Where are the sewing kits and baking instructions?

When the 2010 Fall Semester began in August, I had lunch the first week of class with an old friend who was in town on business.  After catching up about summer travel, family, and football as the caring friend they are, she asked me how my grad school program was going…

It’s going really well.  I am so thankful I began working on an Emerging Media & Communications Masters.  UTD has a great program and my summer classes were awesome.

You’re getting a Master’s in Emerging Media & Communications at UTD? Are you taking Twitter 101 as a core requirement?” She laughed and took a bite of her Spinach salad.

Not exactly.  It’s a little more complicated than that.” I retorted, and then we changed subjects about whether Nordstrom Rack was having a sale or not.

When I looked at this week’s scheduled readings, dear old EMAC6300 was covering ‘Shifting Models in Knowledge and Learning Part Deaux’.  The above conversation from August immediately sparked inspiration.  As my classmates, are any of you wondering why in the world you’re pursuing what some ignorantly tote the Twitter 101 Degree?  I’ll confess that I’ve had to defend my program’s validity more than once, and I did it with gusto.  Those who jabbed fun at the Doctoral class I took this summer on Bob Dylan are also dense on other matters of life but I let their judgments go and I have no problem expressing why.  I want to hear your reasons as well so feel free to jump in whenever via ‘Leave a Comment’

Applying to this program at UTD was quite literally a blind leap of faith in the purest sense.  A fellow intern was in the Undergrad program and when I was lamenting about applying to graduate school she made mention that UTD had a similar program to what I was looking for, it was brand new and modestly priced.  I made an appointment to meet Julie Larsen that day.  I applied, got accepted, took a Doctoral level Summer School and wouldn’t change a single iota of these decision to save my life.  I love my job and am incredibly satisfied professionally but the moment you stop learning outside your work environment and growing as a professional and individual that’s when one falls behind and will forever struggle with playing catch up.  That reason alone is why I am proudly earning a Masters in Emerging Media & Communications.  Tweeting as part of class participation is cake icing.

Yes, we discuss Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and other social networking sites as a cultural and technological force but guess what?  We also discuss Aristotle, Freud, Moileré, Mozart, Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Steve Jobs.  My classmates and I have heated debates about everything from blogs, architecture, Sasha Baron Cohen, Marvin Gaye, Jay Z, Chris Brogan, The New York Times, Paste Magazine, Perez Hilon and as you can imagine that list goes on for quite a while.

We are in a fraternal order deemed with the task of banding together to better understand the never ending, evolving technology and how it relates back to communications.  We do Tweet in class because if we didn’t we wouldn’t be able to give feedback or collaborate as quickly as we do.  If that’s not enough to justify how my program is helping support how education, knowledge and learning are changing then I don’t know what is.  If you’re an undergraduate getting ready to graduate this Spring allow me to offer a bit of unsolicited advice: Graduate.  Take a year off and go work, consider what you want to specialize in professionally, apply to 2 or 3 graduate programs in February a year later, go to graduate school and never stop learning or continuing to grow.  The EMAC M.A. illustrates the entire reason why we should never stop extending our education.