HOW I GOT HERE
My passion for traveling, extensive work with health and homeless populations in the U.S. and undergraduate studies in psychology, religion and anthropology landed me with World Camp Inc, a small NGO. I spent the better part of 4 years between Malawi and India: other coordinators and I ran HIV workshops, tree-planting initiatives, gender empowerment groups, community outreach projects and volunteer programs in rural and urban settings.
What struck me was how absolutely intertwined energy, health and general well being are in our surroundings, both in positive and negative ways. How Malawi’s massive deforestation rate exacerbated the spread of HIV. How access to clean water shaped gender roles and relations in India.
But mostly what I saw was the changing environment, and, coupled with poor resource management, the devastatingly continual impact this had on my friends, students and co-workers. How the effects of droughts in Malawi and monsoon flooding in India rippled through every fabric of society. I saw similar impacts from both severe water scarcity or excess water: contamination, disease, failed crops, stressed families. I began to understand that while I love working at the community level, in order to truly be effective, I must also work to bridge the dangerous gaps that persist between communities and the policies that govern them.
SINCE COMING TO AU
I’ve been learning like crazy! Attending intellectually stimulating classes through discussions, peer insights, professors’ experiences, interesting readings and field trips. For the past 8 months I’ve interned with a team of auditors, GIS specialists, economists, lawyers, biologists, toxicologists and chemists to assess water quality allocation for different users -- agriculture, industry, household, recreation, environment -- in Costa Rica.
I hope to first spend a few years working with water management and climate change at the municipal level. Then I plan to take that experience, my degrees and all the motivation this program has given me to work on water rights and allocation in communities at high-risk for natural disaster and/or conflict.