I've had the chance to participate in multiple trips abroad that provided me with both unique educational opportunities and insight to different global perspectives.
In 2016, I spent several weeks in Makeni, Sierra Leone helping to further an affordable greenhouse venture I had been working on for over a year with the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship program at Penn State. The venture was already operating in Sierra Leone and several other sub-Saharan African countries, but my team was introducing and implementing several new tools to help struggling farmers, including a decision support tool to educate new farmers and help them get started with their greenhouse and a troubleshooting guide to help address the common challenges they may encounter growing in a greenhouse.
I spent the Summer of 2016 based in Mbour, Senegal doing fieldwork for my Global Health degree. Several other Penn State students and I worked and learned at the local hospital where we were welcomed with open arms by staff and medical students. I spent most of my time in the Emergency Department under the tutelage of Dr. Koudouss Mama. On the weekends, we helped the non-profit Weer Africa, a close partner of the hospital, to conduct health screening days in rural areas with less access to health care.
In Summer 2015, my research partner and I interviewed people from Zambia about their product preferences, hoping to gain some insight about consumers in emerging economies. I spent a month in this south African country conducting research with Penn State's Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship program. In addition, we were also piloting our affordable greenhouse venture for women's cooperatives and small-holder farmers.
I traveled with the organization Global Brigades to a rural, mountainous village located outside of Tegucigalpa, Honduras during Spring Break 2015. During my time there, I aided in constructing and completing two latrines, two water storage systems, two eco-stoves, and over ten rooms of concrete flooring.
In January 2014, I assisted in building two latrines for local families in order to improve sanitation and health in a rural village in Ghana with my organization Global Brigades. We also had the chance to tour a historic landmark from Africa's slave trade era and participate in many cultural activities with the villagers.
During the Summer of 2012, I assisted in maintaining a greenhouse and environmental conservation projects, experimented with renewable energy projects, and worked on a dairy farm for my lodging and food, as well as having the chance to participate in many recreational activities such as backpacking through the rainforest and white water rafting.