• From Quito, Ecuador.
  • A Kemper Scholar.
  • A Spanish graduate.
  • Thankful for the WU community.
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Marco Fiallo '11 interned at both a for-profit business and a non-profit through his national Kemper Scholarship.

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Making a Difference Abroad

Marco Fiallo ’11 is using his internship experiences to run a social entrepreneurship.

Marco Fiallo ’11 knew that after graduation, he wanted to open a hostel in Ecuador that educates tourists while simultaneously supporting those in need in the surrounding community.

Planning his business model wasn’t as hard as you might expect, because he had the experience of two summer college internships to draw on.

One, as a community organizer at Little Village Environmental Justice Organization in Chicago, taught him the importance of work that positively impacts others. The other, at Bonneville Power Administration in Portland, showed him how a for-profit business model can help an organization be sustainable.

Fiallo gained both opportunities after winning the national Kemper Scholarship, which provides scholarships and internships to students interested in the management and business fields.

“The internships taught me a lot about what I want to do with my business,” he says. “I learned so much through the opportunities Willamette offered me, such as the Kemper Scholarship. One of the greatest things I learned is the importance of giving back to the community, which is why I wanted to open a social entrepreneurship.”

Fiallo grew up in Quito, Ecuador, and moved back there with one of his Willamette classmates after graduation to create a hostel that educates international tourists about daily life and potential problems in the communities they visit. They plan to dedicate some of the profits to supporting the community through programs like mini-grants or micro-credit lending.

It’s not surprising that Fiallo decided to start the business with a Willamette friend — he cites the supportive campus community as one of the things he values most about his time in Salem.

This was especially important to him because he came to Willamette as a non-traditional student — he served in the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan before enrolling in college — and he wasn’t sure at first how he would fit in.

“Because Willamette is a small school, you know the majority of people on campus, if not by name, then by face. You also have professors who get to know you personally and will help you with anything you need.

“The close-knit community you form at Willamette is phenomenal. My Willamette experience changed me for the best.”

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