Student Spotlight: Caitlin Morelli

Interview conducted by Madlen Gubernick | gubernick.ma@husky.neu.edu

After four and half years at Northeastern, Caitlin Morelli graduated with a dual degree in international affairs and political science, with minors in global social entrepreneurship and business administration.  

While at Northeastern, Caitlin was heavily involved both in class and across the world.  She completed three co-ops, one dialogue, one summer semester at the London School of Economics, and was Editor in Chief of the Northeastern Social Enterprise Review.

Her first co-op was at the Canadian Consulate of Boston, where she worked in the trade department to facilitate Canadian entrepreneurship in Boston. “I learned a lot about how government functions,” she said, looking back on her time at the Consulate.

After declaring a minor in Global Social Entrepreneurship, Caitlin moved to Cape Town, South Africa to begin her second co-op. She worked as a project manager for Heart Capital, a boutique impact-investing firm. There, she helped build a new site for a social enterprise called Food Pods, an initiative that helps women grow and sell vegetables in townships around Cape Town. The site is one of the many visits students make during the global social entrepreneurship dialogue to Cape Town.

It was at Heart Capital that Caitlin realized what a challenge social entrepreneurship can be. “Working on-the-ground for a small organization isn’t easy. You expect it to go according to plan, but there are so many unknown factors that you face,” she said. Caitlin admits that although it wasn’t glamorous, her co-op was undoubtedly rewarding.  

With both a political science co-op, and a social entrepreneurship co-op under her belt, Caitlin planned for her third and final co-op in the fall of 2014. At the time, President Aoun announced that he was looking for his own co-op student, which came to be known as a Global Officer.  “The job description was vague. All we knew at the time was that he wanted to send a student around the world to develop global initiatives for the school,” Caitlin said of Aoun’s announcement.  Caitlin was one of many students to submit a cover letter for the position, but, she was one of few invited to create a one-minute pitch video, and ultimately interview with Aoun himself.  

Although the position was designed for one student, Aoun chose two students — Caitlin and Matt Bilotti — to be Northeastern’s first Global Ambassadors. While Caitlin’s journey focused on telling student stories and identifying potential co-ops in the social enterprise space, Matt worked within the international startup scene.  “Entrepreneurship — both social and technological — are two of Northeastern’s strongest areas,” Caitlin said, explaining why Aoun decided to move forward with both students.  

Ultimately, Caitlin’s co-op focused on building an international network in the hopes of creating more international co-ops.  “I didn’t feel that there were many options that fit my background when I was looking for an international co-op,” she said of her motivation for the project.  

While traveling, Caitlin also made it a goal to meet with Northeastern students already overseas, interviewing them on their experiences: both positive and negative. “There was no platform for these students to share their experiences.  Many of them come back to campus and want to share and reflect, but often they don’t know where to go,” she said.  

Although Caitlin looks back on all of her co-ops fondly, she names her dialogue in Bali, Indonesia as one of the best experiences she had at Northeastern.  The social entrepreneurship dialogue was a chance for Caitlin, and all other participating students, to learn what it meant to design a social enterprise in response to community issues.  “It was a great atmosphere with even greater people,” she said reflecting on her summer in Asia.

Now a graduate, Caitlin will be joining Venture for America and packing her bags once again to join emocha in Baltimore, a company that builds mobile health applications.
From her home in Westchester, to Boston, across the globe and back, Caitlin is on to her next adventure as a Northeastern alum: a title that will only supplement her already outstanding achievements.