Changemaker of the Week: Tomás Quiñonez-Riegos

by Swearer Center
February 6, 2014

Tomás Quiñonez-Riegos '15 describes his work running an international education social venture and the lessons he's learned along the way. Tomás is also the newest student staffer at the Social Innovation Initiative, where he is working on Special Projects.

Q: What is your venture and how did you get involved with it? A: I am the Program Director of iTeachCommunity, an organization that partners language learners around the world in reciprocal exchanges exchanges of knowledge and culture via Skype. I worked on developing the program in Panamá last summer as a 2013 C. V. Starr Fellow.

Q: What is the most important lesson you've learned during your experiences with social innovation?
A: The most important lesson I have learned during my experience with social innovation is realizing just how presumptuous and ludicrous it is to think you have "figured it out." Innovation means constantly changing, growing, evolving, experimenting and learning.

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to any college student thinking of becoming a "changemaker"? A: Go for it. My advice to any potential changemaker who has an idea of impacting the world is to take that idea and run with it as far as they possibly can. Being a successful changemaker is the courage to take risks and the humility to learn from mistakes.

Q: What is your personal mission statement? A: I am a simple man with a simple mission statement: with as much honesty, authenticity and genuineness as I can muster, I do what makes me feel good. It just so happens that nothing is as satisfying as working for others.

Q: What's one surprising fact people might not know about you?
A: I love waving to people passing by buses, trains, cars and bikes. I judge a place by the frequency with which people smile back.

If you know a Brown student who is making a difference on campus, in Providence, or around the world, nominate them here to see them featured as Changemaker of the Week.