Aya Nagai graduated from the University in 2020 with a degree in economics and international development studies. During her time at Notre Dame, she pursued her passion in international development that has taken her all over the world. She has worked on projects in microfinance in Nicaragua, promoted children’s literature in Costa Rica, studied abroad in Chile, and researched menstrual education in India. These experiences taught her the importance of listening to the people in the field and accompanying them through change, as well as doing so in a sustainable manner that lets the community take control of their own development.
Interested in the intersection of international development and profit-seeking private sector, Nagai is interning at WASSHA Inc., a social enterprise that offers electronic services using IoT technology to the people in off-grid communities in Tanzania. As an intern, she intends to deepen her understanding of how profit maximization can balance with social mission to expand the capacity of people and how an organization can scale up while keeping the bottom-up approach that focuses on the experience and opinion of the end users in the field.