Social Sector Franchise Initiative Student Research Fellows

Imag eof Student Fellow working in fieldStudent Research Fellows play a key role in the Social Sector Franchise Initiative. We offer opportunities for students from across UNH colleges and disciplines including business and economics, health and human services, liberal arts, engineering, and agriculture to participate in a range of activities including participating in our annual Social Sector Franchise Innovations Roundtable convening, field research/service with individual social franchises, and serving a researchers on the development of publishable case studies. 

SSFI Student Research Fellows travel during J-Term (January) to visit the social franchise enterprises of our SSFA protégés in their host countries conducting on-the-ground field research including interviews of company staff, customers and franchisees.  SSFI Student Research Fellows have the opportunity to take part in groundbreaking research and help develop a published case study, which will be distributed to practitioners in the field. Student involvement in this process may also result in access to professionals from a number of fields/sectors, including commercial franchises, social entrepreneurship/social sector franchise leaders, non-governmental organizations, investors, donors, and government officials. This type of exposure and networking is essentially priceless and can be hugely formative for a student's post-academic career.

Student who participated in SSFI events last year had the following testimonial:

 “The opportunities I’ve been granted through CSIE’s Social Sector Franchise Initiative are, quite frankly, nearly unbelievable. From attending the SSFI Roundtable—and being able to witness some of the world’s greatest minds collaborate and brainstorm practical solutions for growing social franchises; to my Research Fellowship—which took me on an amazing trip halfway around the world to Rwanda in January, and has given me the opportunity to potentially co-author a published case study. My involvement with SSFI has opened up not only my eyes to parts of the world I’d never dreamed of seeing, but also my personal and professional opportunities, from the experiences I’ve gained and the contacts I’ve made along the way.”  
–Ilona Drew, UNH Grad School, Master’s in Public Policy

To learn more about applying to be a Social Sector Franchise Initiative Student Research Fellow click here.


2016-2017 Student Research Fellows

Image of AbrahamAbraham DeMaio
Abraham DeMaio, of New Durham, NH is 20 years old and is pursuing a dual degree in civil engineering and international affairs. Abraham served as project lead in the Engineers Without Borders UNH chapter water project in Uganda Project, sponsored by Child Voice International. Abraham was part of a three-student team who worked with a professional mentor to design and build a spring box for the village of Cet-kana.  

Abraham attended the Social Sector Franchise Innovations Roundtable in September and was very interested in having a chance to learn about Ziweto’s organizational structure and its current expansion opportunities. Abraham says, “The experience and skills obtained from this research report will be transferrable in future projects in my academic and professional career. I also like the social franchising concept as it uses a realistic and sustainable approach to address vital problems in the developing world. I became an International Affairs major so I could help people by doing work in the developing world.” 


Image of IlonaIlona Drew
Ilona Drew is a student in the Masters of Public Policy program at UNH, with a dual concentration in Analysis, and Strategy & Communication. She completed her undergraduate degree at the Paul College with a B.S. in Business Management. Ilona has worked with the Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise in many capacities, competing in the Social Venture Innovation Challenge in Fall 2014, winning a Judge's Special Prize in the Community Track; as a 2017 Social Innovation Intern; and as both a Graduate Research Fellow and a Living Case Study Accelerator Student Research Fellow for the Social Sector Franchise Initiative during the 2016-2017 Academic Year.

She is now proud to continue this work as the SSFI Program Assistant for the 2017-2018 Academic Year, helping to coordinate the SSFI Accelerator and facilitate research for this year’s Living Case Studies of social enterprises employing the franchising methodology to scale their operations. After graduation in December, 2017, Ilona plans to put her knowledge and her passion for social justice to work at the nexus of business and public policy, to help social ventures improve their efficiency and effectiveness.