"I've discovered that you need to understand the impact, understand what poor infrastructure means, what instability in a region does to people in order to make a real difference."
"Bucknell was a fantastic choice for me because it combined everything I wanted in a school. It's a small liberal arts institution with a great student-faculty ratio, but it still has that big college feel with the sports and school pride. Bucknell basically combines the two worlds into one and there are very few schools like that. When I visited, the campus really spoke to me. It was one of the few places where I could actually envision myself."
"I'm majoring in international relations and political science and minoring in African studies. When I graduate, I want to go into microfinance. I'm absolutely intrigued by African culture and I'm interested in how policy can be implemented on the ground. I've met Jessica Flannery (Class of '00), the founder of KIVA, a microfinance organization, and we keep in e-mail contact. She's a great Bucknell connection. When she came to campus, she gave a lecture to my microfinance club. Her advice to me was to go into the field and get my hands dirty because sitting at a desk doing the kind of work I'm interested in is not going to get me very far. I've discovered that you need to understand the impact, understand what poor infrastructure means, what instability in a region does to people in order to make a real difference."
"I went to Uganda for a month and Nicaragua for three weeks as part of the Bucknell in Nicaragua program. Uganda was for Bicycles Against Poverty, a Bucknell student-run organization that distributes bikes that can then be used for transportation and ferrying goods to market. In going there, I now have a much greater appreciation for this line of work and how important it is. You learn all the different barriers to get an organization like this started. You also realize there are so many organizations that come there with high expectations and big claims yet they don't follow through. We interviewed over 350 people over two days and then we delivered the bicycles. No one was more shocked than the people receiving them. There are a lot of do-gooders, but just because you're a do-gooder doesn't necessarily mean you are effectively creating change. I'm going back to Africa — to Cape Town, South Africa, for my study abroad program. I'm very, very excited. (See related story - Bicycles Against Poverty making a difference.)
"I'm vice president for MIB, the Microfinance Initiative at Bucknell, and Bicycles Against Poverty. Besides that, I'm on the Community Judicial Board. I also work for the Department of International Relations as the Academic Co-Chair. We typically organize one big event each semester. Last spring, we organized an alumni gathering in Washington, D.C., and our students had a chance to meet alumni and talk about future job prospects. I'm in a sorority — Kappa Kappa Gamma — so luckily I have a great social outlet at school which I take part in when I'm outside the library. I guess you could say that I'm really busy. I tend to think that sleep is over-rated. There are only 24 hours in a day but I try to pump out 36 if I can."
Posted Feb. 1, 2010
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