Fostering Changemakers: BU’s Enlight Program Equips Students for Social Impact

The Enlight Social Impact Incubator & Summer Internships program helps Boston University students make a difference in their community while building up their entrepreneurial skills. Participants are awarded a $5,500 stipend to accept unpaid summer internships with local nonprofits and social benefit organizations, in addition to actively engaging in innovation problem-solving at the BUild Lab two days a week.

This year’s host organizations include:

  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the second-largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and the largest hospital in the Longwood Medical Area in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Brighton Main Streets, an organization dedicated to the improvement of Brighton’s neighborhood commercial district and quality of life in the community
  • ChileMass, a non-profit organization that fosters innovation between Chile and Massachusetts, focusing on technology, energy, education, and economic development
  • Love Your Magic, a grassroots organization dedicated to the healthy development of Black and Brown girls through self-advocacy, self-love, and sisterhood
  • The Presentation School Foundation Community Center is a welcoming space that has grown to become an anchor institution in the Oak Square neighborhood of Brighton, providing critical services to our most vulnerable community members
  • The YMCA of Greater Boston Hunger Prevention Programs plays an important role in fighting food insecurity for people living in Greater Boston

The members of this year’s cohort represent a diverse range of disciplines and backgrounds, but all are driven by the belief that they can make the world a better place. From the College of Communication to BU Law, the College of Arts and Sciences to BU Wheelock, these outstanding students are dedicated to effecting positive change.

Let’s meet them!

Janise Bonilla is a rising sophomore in the College of Communication at Boston University. She has a strong passion for exploring new places, both internationally and locally. Being part of this year’s Enlight Cohort has provided her with the opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds, allowing her to expand her horizons and discover shared interests, particularly in entrepreneurship. Janise is thrilled to be part of the Enlight Cohort this summer, as she believes it will be an exciting experience that will equip her with valuable skills to develop a social venture and make a positive impact on her community. She looks forward to collaborating with like-minded individuals who share her passion for effecting change.

Lily Johnson is an enthusiastic participant in the Enlight program this summer. As a rising junior, she possesses a deep-rooted passion for entrepreneurship. Currently, Lily is involved with Brighton Main Streets, where she will be collecting both quantitative and qualitative data on 150 small businesses in the area. By providing them with the necessary resources, she aims to facilitate their success. Additionally, Lily is working on a venture that aims to offer health and wellness resources to low-income immigrant communities in Brighton. Grateful for the opportunities provided by the BUild lab, Lily has already forged meaningful connections with new friends. During her leisure time, she enjoys going to the gym, exploring new restaurants, cooking, playing games on her Nintendo Switch, and immersing herself in nature.

Qindi Ding, a law student at BU Law, holds a BA in International & Global Studies and Philosophy from Brandeis University. Her past work has revolved around transitional justice and international law. At BU Law, her primary interests lie in the domains of international law and health law. For the summer, Qindi aims to focus on the legal and policy aspects surrounding poverty-related hunger and child health. Outside of her academic pursuits, Qindi derives pleasure from watching movies and spending quality time with her family.

Rudy Joseph is a first-generation student at BU Wheelock ’24, pursuing a degree in Education and Human Development with a pathway in Educational Design for Transformative Social Futures and Youth Development and Justice. Originally from Elizabeth, NJ, Rudy has actively engaged in community-centered roles inside and outside the classroom. These positions have included academic tutoring, volunteering, mentoring, and program curation. Rudy’s involvement at BU encompasses roles such as Admission Ambassador, member of the Admissions Student Diversity Board, BU Wheelock Dean’s Host, and student worker at the BU Community Service Center. The fellowship he is pursuing will provide an avenue for expanding his ideas related to enhancing access to education.

Sasha Gilmore is embarking on her third year of the Ph.D. program in Earth & Environment at BU. Her research focuses on the interplay between marine and terrestrial heatwaves, with a specific emphasis on the role of mangroves in climate mitigation for coastal populations in Java, Indonesia. Sasha is excited about an upcoming trip to Java in August. Through the Enlight Summer Program, she will collaborate with the Presentation School Foundation (PSF) located in her hometown of Brighton. In her spare time, Sasha enjoys hiking, sampling new culinary experiences, and exploring the city with friends. She looks forward to working alongside remarkable individuals this summer.

Sofia Andrienko is a rising junior pursuing a double major in Economics and Biology (CMG). Her passion for healthcare has led her to seek opportunities at the intersection of entrepreneurship and the life sciences industries, making the Enlight Program a perfect fit for her interests. Sofia currently works as a research coordinator at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In her leisure time, she indulges in synchronized swimming, dog training, and hiking.

Maria Soledad Bambach Vial, known as “Sole,” has been ingrained with a strong sense of social responsibility by her parents since a young age. They have emphasized the importance of making a meaningful contribution and having a positive social impact on the community. Throughout her life, Sole has actively participated in various social activities, particularly in the areas of entrepreneurship and education. She has collaborated with different NGOs and made significant contributions from the private sector, aiming to create and share opportunities with communities and stakeholders. Sole firmly believes in the power of individual action and the ability to make a positive impact on society, ultimately improving people’s lives. She feels immensely grateful for the opportunity to participate in the BUild Lab Summer Enlight Program, as it provides her with a platform to learn, receive guidance in developing a social venture, and actively engage in an internship with an NGO.

Tsega Seleshi is a junior at Boston University, pursuing dual majors in Computer Science and Film within the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Communication, respectively. Tsega’s passion lies in exploring the intersectionality of art and technology and promoting diversity and equity in these fields. Alongside academic pursuits, Tsega finds joy in animals, photography, music, and nature, often collaborating with friends in creative endeavors during leisure time. Excited about creating positive change, Tsega is thrilled to be working with the BUild Lab this summer, leveraging their skills and interests to make a meaningful impact.

More Innovation, More Inspiration