| Where have you been invited to serve? In what program? What position?|
I have been invited to serve in Swaziland in the Community Health program. I will be working as a community health outreach agent on the Peace Corps Swaziland’s Community Health HIV/AIDS project.
Where are you from originally?
I am originally from Beech Island, South Carolina. It is a small town about 10 minutes outside of Augusta, Georgia.
What is your undergraduate degree in and from where?
In my undergraduate years at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, I received a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with a concentration in Health Promotion and a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies.
What previous volunteer/community service experience do you have?
In undergrad, I volunteered with various community organizations through my sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. In Charleston, I volunteered with Lupus Walk, Dash for Trash community clean up, Adopt-A-Highway, and Susan G. Komen’s Breast Cancer Walk. As a chapter, we created thought provoking events to bring awareness on the issues surround Jena 6, HIV/AIDS among youth, substance abuse and safe sex awareness, and diversity issues in and around Charleston.
What previous overseas experience do you have?
In eighth grade, I received the opportunity to travel outside of the U.S. I participated in an EF Tour with one of the teachers at my middle school on a 10 day, 5 countries tour to Holland, Germany, Belgium, France, and England. We toured museums including the Anne Frank museum and the Van Gogh museum. We visited national landmarks like Canterbury castle, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, Big Ben, and the Louvre. In my second year of undergrad, I joined the Portuguese Club. I was a very active member in the Portuguese Club and the Capoeira Performing Arts of Charleston academy. We put on Carnaval celebrations, Bate-papo (Portuguese conversation meet-ups), and Capoeira and Samba classes on campus. The summer before my senior, my advisor made a way for me to join the study abroad program to Brazil. We spent three weeks in Rio de Janeiro, Ilha Grande, Salvador, Fernando de Noronha, and Recife. In Rio de Janeiro and Salvador we visited well-known places, events and museums including Mercado Modelo, Pelourinho, an Orixa museum, and attended an Olodum concert. Outside of the two islands resided on, my favorite part of the trip was visiting a residential program for children with cancer and their families. In this program, the families attended education classes and support groups as well as being able to stay with their children as they receive treatment during their stay. Meeting these families and the children is what sparked my passion into global health. This past summer I took the International Perspectives on Women’s Health course where in the last week of the course, we went to Panama City, Panama for nine days.
Why do you want to be a Peace Corps Volunteer? How does Peace Corps fit into your career goals?
Where do plan to be in 5 years? My passion in life has always been to help people. I want to be a voice for the voiceless, collaborate and develop community partnerships, create equality across cultures, all for the betterment of the human race as a whole. I think that Peace Corps has done a phenomenal job of continuing this effort since 1961 and will continue for decades to come. My dream career is to travel to various countries and reside and relate with various cultures to develop skills and programs to be self-reliant, efficient, and sustainable. This is what Peace Corps does. Peace Corps will give me firsthand experience and will train me how to proceed with this goal. I am excited and looking forward to embarking on this step of my journey. In 5 years I plan to have my Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Global Health Practice. I have hopes to have done more research in the field of HIV treatment and adherence to care. I also plan to either participate in another Peace Corps opportunity or find a job that will continue to allow me to travel and do global public health from a more hands-on experience.
What does your family think about you becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer? Your friends?
My family and friends were excited for me even before I accepted my invitation. Going to South Africa has been a dream come true for most of my family and friends, so going to Swaziland is even better. My colleagues are especially excited for me since I will have the opportunity to see how what we do every day really impacts those who need HIV/AIDS services most. Everyone is extremely supportive and are already making plans and saving up for when it is time for me to leave. They say they cannot wait to hear all about. I think I am most excited about the work I will be doing, all I will be learning, the research I will be conducting, and all the ways I can expand my knowledge, skills, and career in HIV/AIDS services.