PKG Social Impact Internships: Luis Castro (’23)

Empowering The Bronx Community and its Businesses

Luis Castro (’23|Course6-3)

Hi! My name’s Luis Castro, and I’m a current ‘23 studying 6-3 with a minor in 15-2. This past IAP I interned with a start-up called BronXchange under the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative, which is a growing network of community and labor organizations, anchor institutions, and small businesses seeking to build an equitable, sustainable, and democratic local economy that creates shared wealth and ownership for low-income people of color. I had the amazing opportunity to be the data scientist for BronXchange, performing a mix of data research, clean-up, wrangling, and analysis through Excel, SQL, and Python to create a master dataset that local businesses and other nonprofit organizations can use to easily enter and access important information. Having all this data consolidated into one master dataset can accelerate the process for honing in on the places that need the most economic empowerment. 

I’m grateful to have had this opportunity to give back to my community as a Bronx native. Growing up I had always questioned the kind of external forces at play that shaped my community, ranging from the economic inequality faced by many people of color, to the anchor institutions like local universities and hospitals that need to better attend to the long-term health and social welfare of their local communities. I eventually came to the conclusion that I could leverage the software engineering and data science skills that I cultivated through my MIT education to amplify the voices of underserved communities like that of my own. 

This experience helped me see that my dreams can actually be made real. I’m hopeful for a world where technological advances can solve all of the problems that plague communities like my own, and I plan to be at the forefront in the fight for change. Like a painter with a paintbrush and empty canvas, I plan to be the one communicating the needs of these underserved groups, building the platform through technology.

Want to learn more about the PKG Social Impact Internships Program? Visit our webpage to learn about opportunities for summer 2021, and stay tuned for information for fall 2021 postings!

Tags: Data & Research, Social Impact Internships, Social Impact Internships IAP 2021, Urban & Rural Planning

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