MPH/PhD alumna, Anthropology, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
I arrived in one of the world’s smallest nations, The Republic of Kiribati, during the fall of 2000 expecting to experience life as I had never imagined before. I was a teacher/trainer elementary education volunteer. Then antiretroviral treatment had been made available to people living with HIV/AIDS for a long time in the United States, but not where I was. Where I was, continuous electricity and potable running water were available only in memories or on movies occasionally run by rented generators in the village meeting area. While my initial work involved teaching, I soon realized the very serious need for HIV/AIDS education that was not being provided through classroom curriculum and began focusing my efforts on health and HIV projects in the country. What I have gathered from these years of experience is that education does not exist only within the classroom and important experiences outside of the school and even home reshape an individual in multiple ways. I returned to the country two years after the end of my service to volunteer a summer with the National HIV/AIDS Taskforce in conjunction with my first master’s degree. My experiences in Peace Corps have influenced me so much that today I continue to work with the Republic of Kiribati through current MPH and PhD research.
Local school bus
Neighborhood kids playing on local jungle gym (i.e. fallen coconut tree)
Mike’s English classroom