Alumni in Action
Youth Program Developer
Class of 2004
Major: Political Science
Advanced Degree: MPS | Clinton School of Public Service, University of Arkansas (May of 2012)
Where are you now and what are you doing?
Today I am living in Asenovgrad, Bulgaria where I am working on a six month contract as a Response Peace Corps Volunteer and am finishing a final Capstone Project for my Master's Degree from the Clinton School of Public Service. I help small Bulgarian communities set up outdoor programming for kids. We take the kids hiking, climbing, camping and teach them leadership, teamwork, first aid, orienteering and other skills through hands on activities.
Just prior to coming to Bulgaria, I completed a project setting up a computerized medical database for a hospital on a remote island group in Fiji. I also provided IT training for hospital staff and community leaders on the island in order to improve medical care.
What unique or special opportunities did your Eckerd education provide and how have they impacted your life?
Eckerd is filled with intellectual, hardworking and caring professors. That combined with the small class size allows students an opportunity to build lasting relationships with professors. I graduated over five years ago but still communicate with my mentors from Eckerd. They are still just as willing to provide encouragement and guidance for my professional endeavors as they were when I was an undergraduate student.
Describe some of your best memories or favorite traditions from your time at Eckerd.
It was always great to go from class to the beach or beach to class. I enjoyed windsurfing, ocean kayaking, playing soccer and intramural sports. And I'm grateful for the semester I was able to go study in Australia.
Describe some of the people who had a profound impact on your Eckerd experience.
Professor Anthony Brunello and Professor William Felice always held really interesting classes that lead to engaging class discussions and made me question my (and other people's) perspective on different issues.
Are there core Eckerd values you see in most Eckerd students and graduates?
I think Eckerd College has one of the highest ratios of flip-flop wearing students in the country. I'm proud of that.
What activities were you involved in while at Eckerd and did they influence what you are involved in now?
I played on the Women's Soccer team. After Eckerd, I moved to Fiji and taught at a high school on an outer island. While I was teaching, I decided to start the first women's outer island soccer teams and women's high school soccer teams in the nation. I wanted to give the Fijian girls an opportunity to just find the joy in playing – and I wanted an excuse to play again too.
I also started refereeing with one of my co-workers, Finau Vulivuli. We became the first female soccer referees in Fiji. Soon we were refereeing men's professional soccer matches all over the country. This year Finau was appointed as the youngest center referee for the Women's World Cup in Germany. I, on the other hand, stopped refereeing when I moved back to America, but I did continue coaching. In the future I hope I can obtain a profession that uses sports to encourage development. I think being able to play soccer at Eckerd while studying development had a big influence on my career goals.