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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In Fall 2012 a Thesis is coming…

Above all things, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest stories are always hidden in the most unlikely places.” – Roald Dahl

Courtesy of Vogue.com

Let’s consider the above photograph for a moment; go ahead… give it a lingering, philosophical, studious gaze.  Although fully ready to set out on a voyage that requires at least one suitcase, one book and one traveling suit, it’s clearly evident that this young, bright-eyed bon vivant wants desperately to ask several questions about what’s to come her way  traveling.  Fair enough.

Coincidentally, certain similar feelings start to emerge when one begins planning their Master’s thesis.  Where how or what’s the most appropriate place to commence writing one’s graduate school magnum opus incessantly expends the mind.  However, the general conclusion that universally applies to all those enduring the process regardless of institution, instructor, or interest area- is that there simply isn’t  one, single right way to introduce a semester long academic endeavor.  That said, it’s probably best to go ahead and initiate the process.

Of course, it’s impossible to know where in the world the focus of our photo intends to visit; but on the other hand, I’m considerably thankful that my thesis will follow a clear, discernible journey.  This research project will analytically study university campuses, located in both Latin America and European countries, that employ emerging media platforms to not only develop their branding initiatives but more importantly use these technologies to strengthen relationships between students, faculty/staff, & the surrounding community.

Other questions that one must consider when broaching deeper into this subject include:
– Are these efforts increasing viral participation with the University brand online?
– Is the campus seeing a gradual increase concerning grants or funding/enrollment/teacher retention?
– When a University campus employs select emerging media platforms to increase brand identity and community participation, what advantages/disadvantages affect different areas in the educational environment?

This platform (www.LivinLaVidaNewMedia.Wordpress.com) will serve as a collective space that publishes all in-depth research findings (both quantitative and qualitative), in order to answer the above questions relating to how University systems, located in Latin America and European use emerging media platforms successfully or dysfunctionally and why.

Specific research methodologies that will assist this project include:
– Scholarly Article Evaluations
– Platform/Technology Investigation and Reviews
– Critical Response and Analysis
– Interviews and interactive discussion with various Campus Representatives
– Case Study Profiles

At any point should you have any questions regarding this project’s research please feel free to reach me at the following contact information: Amanda Montgomery,
MA Candidate / Dept of Emerging Media & Communications ;
University of Texas – Dallas
Email – acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
Twitter – @acmontgomery
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

The anticipating young lady in the photograph poses a calm yet alluring demeanour; it’s my greatest hope that the collective research gathered for this project during Fall 2012 will capture a similar essence and more importantly raise awareness towards the symbiotic potential that exists between global higher education and digital media.