With a network of over 1,400 leaders from 115 countries, the Atlas Corps Community is growing every day. It is time to look back and to showcase the achievements of amazing network and share stories on the global impact of our Alumni, Fellows, and Scholars.

Join us as we speak with Hilton Prize Scholar Maria (Nicaragua, Org: Casa Alianza Nicaragua) from our inaugural cohort of the Hilton Humanitarian Prize Laureate Virtual Leadership Institute. Maria is the Grants Coordinator at Plan International Nicaragua, a development and humanitarian organization that is dedicated to advancing children’s rights and equality for girls.

Thank you, Maria, for your work towards gender equality in Nicaragua. We are truly inspired by your global impact, as well as your personal and professional growth. We wish you the best with this impactful work!


Name: Maria Asuncion Castillo Vallecillo

Home Country: Nicaragua

Current Organization: 

Role at current organization: Grants Coordinator

Social Issues that you have worked with: Good health and well-being, Quality education, Gender equality

Tell us about projects you have worked on?

At Plan International Nicaragua, I am in charge of securing funding with international donors for development and gender transformative programs.

Why is it important for you to work on empowering girls?

Every person needs to feel they have the power over their own life and can shape the world around them. Girls everywhere are undervalued, undermined, and underestimated. Therefore, it’s important to mobilize resources that will allow girls and young women to have power, freedom, and representation.

How has Atlas Corps contributed to your professional and personal accomplishments?

Atlas Corps allowed me to deeply reflect on my leadership style, as well as taught me how knowing myself can allow me to be a better leader and to provide constructive feedback to others.

What is your favorite Atlas Corps memory?

The monthly peer coaching meetings because we not only got to talk about our leadership projects, but we also got to help one another with other aspects of our professional lives.

What advice do you have for applicants and current Scholars?

It might seem like a lot of work but it’s totally worth it. Atlas Corps understands that we are juggling different responsibilities, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or for more time!

What message would you like to send to individuals who support Atlas Corps?

The Atlas Corps Virtual Leadership Institute represents a unique opportunity for young professionals to cultivate their leadership skills while nourishing profound and lasting connections with other changemakers.


Celebrate Atlas Corps Bonus Day! Donations matched on July 20!

Support Atlas Corps and empower our global community of changemakers who possess the training, skills, and network to solve the world’s most pressing issues. Make a Bonus Day Gift: On July 20th starting at 9 am ET, donations $100+ are matched! Will you #BuildBridges with Atlas Corps?


Photo from Maria’s personal archive