Laureate’s students and faculty are dedicated to innovation, community engagement, and environmental care, driving impactful change with inspiring stories.
Every day, we witness the power of education to change lives by equipping students with the skills and knowledge they need to pursue careers with commitment and social responsibility.
Our students and faculty pursue initiatives that benefit society through innovation, community outreach, and environmental stewardship. We are proud to share some of these stories, which have resulted from much dedication, effort, and a strong commitment to contribute to creating a better world for all.
2024 Impact Highlights
free or low-cost medical and dental services provided by our local health clinics to 44,000+ community members
student volunteer service hours in local communities across Mexico and Peru
free or low-cost veterinary services provided in campus clinics
IMPACT PROFILES AND STORIES
Through the transformative power of education, our students and institutions have made a lasting impact, equipping individuals with skills and values that drive meaningful contributions to their careers and communities.
Dedication to Your Country and its People
UPC graduate working for Juguete Pendiente, which has helped more than 650,000 families through more than 700 social impact initiatives.
“My dream is that one day, our organization no longer exists, because the issues and problems we have worked to address will have been solved.”
UPC graduate, Estefanie Renteria began her marketing career in one of Peru’s largest organizations, but soon realized she enjoyed volunteer work more, and quit her corporate job just two months before the pandemic hit. Estefanie took on freelance work to get by, while volunteering at Juguete Pendiente, a non-profit organization that develops and manages a wide range of social projects that improve the quality of life for Peru’s most at-risk communities.
Her volunteer work at Juguete Pendiente aligned with her interests – having volunteered with her family as a young child. “Since my time in school, volunteering has been a way for me to serve communities, that has allowed me to understand different people’s realities,” Estefanie says.
In 2017, volunteering became a permanent part of Estefanie’s life. While studying at UPC, she started a free news platform, along with three friends, delivering positive news to people of Lima. Via Expresa, which was supported by UPC’s Business Incubator Program, went on to grow a team of 50 volunteers (Estefanie managed 21 volunteers) and the news platform ran for three years.
Today, she is a Partner and the Chief Marketing Officer at Juguete Pendiente, which has helped more than 650,000 families through more than 700 social impact initiatives in 20 states across the country, mobilizing more than 200 volunteers. Juguete Pendiente’s programs include:
responding to social needs in impoverished communities. For example, helping build soccer fields, community libraries, and playgrounds in parks, and training locals in building and technical skills, utilizing their labor to develop the infrastructure.
urgently responding to natural disasters (floods, earthquakes, fires) or health emergencies, bringing aid to vulnerable populations, with support of public and private sectors, academia and other social organizations. Outside of natural disasters, each month, Juguete Pendiente sends a team of six to very remote areas of the country to provide humanitarian aid (they travel to these regions via Peru’s air force).
delivering programs and mentoring on entrepreneurship to people living in vulnerable communities.
running the first sustainable classroom on wheels in Peru, delivering environmental education to students across the country (in a classroom bus), who learn about challenges from recirculating rain water to sustainable buildings and the importance of biodiversity.
A program Estefanie is particularly proud of and one she helped develop in 2020 is Juguete Pendiente’s food program, which supports communities living in extreme poverty that cannot cover the cost of basic food. The program provides food and cooking equipment such as stoves, gas cylinders (to avoid cooking with contaminated wood), pots and kitchen utensils for ‘common pots’ cooking. Common pots are the main sustenance of food for hundreds of thousands of Peruvians living in poverty, where meals are cooked in large pots for an entire neighborhood.
In addition, community leaders – mostly women – are trained by Juguete Pendiente about management, entrepreneurship, and nutrition to help improve their skills to manage the ‘common pots’ community cooking, strengthening their capacity and competency and their community’s long-term sustainability.
The program commenced in Lima and now runs in nine states across the country. It has delivered more than 10 million food rations and essential products to people in need.
In 2022, Estefanie won a UPC Protagonists of Change award for her work in promoting the cooking pots program. This UPC awards program promotes young change makers in Peru and provides them with training to help strengthen their social innovations.
In addition to her work at Juguete Pendiente, Estefanie is a member of the Global Shapers Community (Lima hub), an initiative of the World Economic Forum where young global leaders around the world under the age of 30 work collaboratively to address the needs of their local communities (addressing issues related to the environment, mental health, citizenship and education, among others). Estefanie is in charge of engagement, managing events that keep the Global Shapers network connected.
While this incredible young woman is dedicating her life to serving some of Peru’s most impoverished communities, she holds great optimism for the future of her people. When asked about what’s ahead for Juguete Pendiente (in the long term), Estefanie says: “My dream is that one day, our organization no longer exists, because the issues and problems we have worked to address will have been solved.”
Iron Man Influences Life Purpose
UPC student discovered at an early age how technology can positively influence people’s lives.
“My goal is that through technology, kids can be champions of their own learning.”
Maycoll Gamarra, a 23-year-old UPC Industrial Engineering student and Mechatronics graduate, identified at an early age the importance of technology and how it can be used to positively influence people’s lives.
It was his love of the movie Iron Man that sparked Maycoll’s curiosity with technology, and in particular, robotics. This, along with his creative mind, led him to volunteering in STEAM activities at fairs and events in his local municipality.
“I understood that through technology, things can come to life,” Maycoll says.
With this passion, Maycoll founded Robbuild, a social enterprise teaching robotics to children aged 8 to 17 years, with a focus on STEAM education (an approach to teaching and learning that combines science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math to guide student inquiry, discussion and problem solving).
Since 2020, Robbuild has seen more than 2,800 children participate in its free workshops, hosting as many as 100 children at a time, with sessions run by up to 20 volunteers. Their workshops were initially held in person at Cibertec, until moving online as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns.
Maycoll was awarded a UPC Protagonists of Change award for his work with Robbuild in 2022, which has given him access to coaches who are helping him develop his social enterprise. He is also the winner of the Youth for Lima 2021 award, granted by the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima for work in the community.
Maycoll is clear of his intentions in teaching STEAM. “This is my purpose in life,” he says. “I dream of growing Robbuild, and having offices in every region across Peru.”
He is mindful of the digital divide and would especially like to reach those communities that are less familiar with technology and connectivity – very much like what he experienced as a child.
“My goal is that through technology, kids can be champions of their own learning.”
Social Enterprise Rises from the Pandemic
UPN Psychology student providing free mental wellbeing services to the people of Lima.
“I realized I could use my knowledge to help people in my community,”
UPN Psychology student
Liliana Contreras is a final-year Psychology student at UPN and co-founder of Uyariway, a not-for-profit organization that provides free mental well-being services to the people of Lima.
Uyariway was conceived during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the increase in the prevalence of mental health and psychosocial issues coincided with severe disruptions to health services, leaving huge gaps in care for those who needed it most. Given the unprecedented stress caused by social isolation, which constrained people’s ability to work, seek support from loved ones, and engage in their communities, Liliana and her friend and fellow UPN student, Flavio Soria, felt the urge to help.
“I realized I could use my knowledge to help people in my community,” Lilliana says.
“In Lima, too many people were unable to get the care and support they needed for not only pre-existing, but also newly developed mental health conditions.”
While only in her second year of studies, Liliana (along with Flavio) enlisted a team of 100 volunteers – all UPN Psychology students. They walked the streets of Lima, talking to people who were struggling with a range of issues that started during or were compounded by the pandemic – from financial distress, to depression and anxiety, drug abuse, and domestic violence. The students offered psychological support and provided guidance on how and where to seek professional help.
Today, Liliana (at just 25 years old) and her Uyariway volunteers have delivered more than 1,000 mental well-being workshops and carried out over 380 individual counseling sessions. The range of programs they offer support:
People with disability
providing workshops related to job preparation, job recruitment services, support for family members, as well as art classes
Children with learning difficulties
enhancing their learning through communal kitchens
Public school students, professors, staff and parents
providing workshops on self-esteem, independence, drugs, sex education and safety at home and in the community
sharing information about mental wellbeing and how to seek help
Professional psychologists offer feedback and guidance on the work of the student volunteers, and intervene when the assistance of an experienced specialist is required.
Liliana’s choice of psychology as a career came as a result of the death of her sister in a car accident and witnessing her parents deal with grief.
“I saw the impact this profound loss had on my family, and so I made it my personal mission to support people with their mental well-being.”