SPA102 SP2022 Guest Speaker Mariana Costa Checa

By Adriana Merino

Be the Change You Wish to See

On April 25, 2022, SPA 102 students were pleased to meet our Guest Speaker, Mariana Costa Checa, the Peruvian social entrepreneur who founded Laboratoria, a social enterprise that gives young women from low-income backgrounds in Latin America the opportunity to pursue careers in technology. SPA 102 syllabus includes agents of change who, through their social action, promote a change in society. In this framework, Mariana Costa Checa was included in the program as someone who could inspire our students to be the change they want to see in the world. 

Mariana finished her undergraduate studies in her country, Peru, but she later earned graduate degrees at world-class universities, with an MA in economics from the London School of Economics and an MA in Public Policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Drawing insights from her studies abroad, Mariana decided to return to Peru to find a way to give back to her community. Her goal was to empower Peruvian women, especially those with fewer resources, in the field of technology, specifically programming, a sector commonly led by men. Today, Laboratoria serves 5 Latin-American countries: Perú, México, Colombia, Brazil, and Chile.

Mariana has been recognized on multiple occasions for her work as a social entrepreneur. The BBC named her one of the most influential women in 2016, and MIT named her one of Peru’s leading innovators under 35. She also shared a panel with President Obama and Mark Zuckerberg at the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit. As an Ashoka Fellow, Mariana is recognized as a changemaker for the good of society. Recently, in February 2022, she was recognized by as a “Leader to Watch”. 

At Princeton, Mariana gave an inspiring talk in Spanish, and the students, in addition to practicing their oral comprehension and production skills through questions about her dreams, inspirations, and future projects, were able to interact with this great young entrepreneurial woman and perhaps project themselves on her. Maybe some of our students are already thinking of following in her steps.

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