Atlas Corps volunteers are essential to the organization for making sure things run smoothly. Today, we would like to talk more about Atlas Corps Group Captains. Our Group Captains facilitate monthly peer coaching groups as part of our new Virtual Leadership Institute, an online learning community for global social change leaders from around the world.

Meet Mary Alice Soriero, our excellent Group Captain and a Presenter at Global Leadership Lab Immersion. Mary is the Academic Director at CEA Study Abroad in Sevilla, Spain. As an Atlas Corps Group Captain, she helps create a productive environment for co-learning, developing leadership projects, and guiding discussions about leadership and social impact.

Why did you decide to volunteer for Atlas Corps as a Group Captain?

For several years, I had been looking for a volunteer opportunity to give my day to day another dimension. Yet, I had a full-time professional life and was a single mother raising a teenage daughter. I wanted something not only flexible and logistically easy but interesting. And then I heard about Atlas Corps.

It was the perfect match. I started at the on-set of our local lockdown (I live in Spain) in April 2020 reviewing applications. It allowed me to escape our lockdown, learn about other people and feel like I was contributing to a brighter future against the backdrop of the looming pandemic. As I learned the applicants’ stories, was awed by their talents, and intrigued by how the world could operate if resources were distributed differently, I was nudged to further my commitment. When the call for Group Captains rang out, I was interested. This was a way to become more involved as a catalyst to these emerging change agents and was a good skill set match for me as an educator.

How has volunteering with Atlas Corps impacted you?

This opportunity has certainly helped me stay positive in the face of the pandemic. I can immerse myself in a world of dynamic leaders that have fathomless energy and are walking lockstep in initiating change. They remind us all that creative solutions and instrumental change is viable. They allow me to be hopeful that with intentionality and dedication, we can collaboratively bring change. They keep me inspired for a brighter future.

What message would you like to send to individuals who are thinking of volunteering with Atlas Corps as a Group Captain?

Being a Group Captain is for those that not only believe a better world can be attained but for those who want to learn beyond the confines of their daily situation. Through intentional conversations, I have gotten glimpses into life from Siberia to Brazil, Gaza & Kenya. We have grown together as we drill-down on theories and mechanisms of change, leveraging truly a world of experiences. I am humbled by the experience.

Atlas Corps Scholar Olive (Cohort 1, Kenya) shares, “I am so happy to have been chosen to be part of the Atlas Corps Virtual Leadership Institute. I have learnt so much so far on how to develop myself, others and my community. My Group Captain Mary Alice is always kind and lively, and she goes to great lengths to teach a complicated lesson into a simple one. Thank you Atlas Corps for this wonderful experience!”

Thank you, Mary, and our hundreds of volunteers who help achieve the Atlas Corps mission every day. Learn more about becoming a volunteer at

 Photo from the personal archive of Mary Alice Soriero