Rice and UT Austin Seniors jump start their social impact careers with the Second Day Impact Fellowship

Mariam Matin

During my 8 years on the east coast, I got my fair share of raised eyebrows when I told people I was from Texas. That borderline nationalist Texan pride (you know the one) kicked in every time; Texas raised me in an extraordinarily diverse environment to treat everyone around you with kindness, generosity, and a sense of hospitality. So when we created the Second Day Impact Fellowship and the team was thinking about what campuses to pilot the program at, I insisted that we put Rice University and UT Austin on the list. I wanted to bring all the hustle and knowledge I had developed in Washington D.C. and New York back home. 

So what is the Second Day team offering exactly?

Second Day was built to serve those who feel forced to choose between doing well for themselves and doing good for the world. This school year, we are inviting undergraduate Seniors from Rice University and UT Austin to apply to become Second Day Impact Fellows to jump start their social impact careers. Fellows will be run through a curriculum designed with mission-minded and capable young people in mind. It focuses on skill development, industry deep dives, mentorship, and job-hunting support. The Second Day team is committed to working with our Fellows until they get that first job.

Over the past year and a half, the team has been deep in the weeds researching the complexities of the social impact industry and building partnerships with social enterprises and nonprofits across the country. Those insights and networks are what will drive success for our Fellows. The response we’ve seen from employers, universities, and students has been overwhelming. I’ve heard from at least a dozen people, “I wish that this had been around when I was in school.” 

What is the current norm for college Seniors entering the workforce? 

At college campuses around the country, Seniors (and even Sophomores and Juniors) are being bombarded by more traditional employers who are offering info sessions, informational interviews, and free branded water bottles to perpetuate the narrative that there is only a narrow set of options when entering the workforce. There are plenty of students who want to work at consulting firms or in finance, but more and more evidence is showing that those paths are not for everyone. In fact, 60% of graduating Seniors report wanting mission to be part of their career paths, but only about 20% end up in a social impact job. 

This is the stat that troubles us. There is a wealth of talent chomping at the bit to build a mission-driven career, but little awareness of, accessibility to, or sense of prestige around those jobs. Big firms will spend as much as $50,000 per person they recruit, while 71% of nonprofits have no recruiting budget at all. A recent Aspen Institute Report showed how the peer pressure around following what your friends are doing drives decisions on that first post-graduation job. “On many college campuses, consulting and finance are so widely pursued that to deviate from those paths is to accept “strange looks” from peers. For many, peer pressure is inextricably tied to prestige and social status, which many focus group participants reported as a “decisive” factor in their decision-making.”¹

This is where Second Day comes in.

By matching fiercely passionate and capable young people to social impact organizations at the cutting edge of building lasting change, we not only begin to chip away at the deeply rooted challenges our society faces, but also re-write narrative of what a prestigious and respected career can look like. 

If you know students interested in applying, they can go here to learn more.

If you are an employer who wants to partner with us, reach out to us online

If you’d like to chat with me directly, reach out through our website to set up time. 

¹https://assets.aspeninstitute.org/content/uploads/files/content/docs/pubs/winning_the_talent_report.pdf?_ga=2.7098039.400170318.1567522725-467840.1567522725

  • : Mariam Matin