Over the past nine years, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity junior Michael Can­talino has devoted his time to building houses, schools and health clinics in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, through home­town church groups and student-​​led initiatives.

His ongoing co-​​op in India with SKS Microfinance—the first micro­fi­nance bank in the country to be pub­licly traded—is the latest example of Cantalino’s com­mit­ment to helping the less for­tu­nate by mar­rying the prin­ci­pals of busi­ness and philanthropy.

I’ve always liked finding sus­tain­able ways to help other people so they can help them­selves,” says Can­talino, an entre­pre­neur­ship and finance major who has a firm belief that he’ll be “working all over the world as soon as I graduate.”

Seeing a person’s life change in front of your eyes because of the work that you did is some­thing that a dona­tion or gift can’t really match.”

Can­talino, a Pres­i­den­tial Global Scholar, knows first-​​hand. He’s the cofounder of Net Impact Under­grad­uate at North­eastern, an inter­na­tional non­profit orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to improving the world through busi­ness, and the chairman of funding and events for North­eastern DRYVE (Dis­trib­uting Resources to Youth Through Vol­un­teer Efforts), an ini­tia­tive bent on improving the lives of under­priv­i­leged youth worldwide.

But it’s his most recent expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­nity that he says has shaped his career path.

When he grad­u­ates, Can­talino plans to open up a philanthropy-​​based travel agency, which would enable stu­dents to make a lasting impact in impov­er­ished com­mu­ni­ties, while immersing them­selves in the region’s culture.

The goal, he says, is to “give stu­dents the oppor­tu­nity to do what I’ve had the chance to do at Northeastern.”

At SKS Micro­fi­nance, Can­talino jug­gles a number of roles in sev­eral dif­ferent depart­ments, but the bulk of his work is with Bodhi Academies.

It’s an arm of the com­pany that builds schools using funds from the organization’s for-​​profit loans, which it makes to impov­er­ished women who want to start their own small businesses.

Can­talino rou­tinely visits the schools to check on aca­d­emic progress and atten­dance rates, hoping that an edu­ca­tion will pre­vent stu­dents from “idling in the streets and doing child labor.”

He’s also set­ting up a trans­porta­tion system for chil­dren who would oth­er­wise be forced to drop out of school because their class­rooms are too far away from where they live.

Can­talino, who recently had the oppor­tu­nity to meet com­pany founder Vikram Akula, rel­ishes the oppor­tu­nity to dive into so many dif­ferent projects.

I laid out my expe­ri­ences and expressed interest in get­ting involved with as many projects as pos­sible,” says Can­talino, who hopes to help facil­i­tate a poten­tial part­ner­ship between SKS and Ter­ra­Cycle, a com­pany in New Jersey that turns hard-​​to-​​recycle waste into eco-​​friendly prod­ucts. “I’m for­tu­nate that the com­pany is flex­ible and wanted me to gain this diverse experience.”