by Maeghan Connor
When I joined KDS, I was overwhelmed with the fact that I had just become part of an amazing group of people that I would have the rest of my time at St. Lawrence to get to know. As a sophomore, I could not even begin to picture what I would be pursing post-graduation— it seemed lightyears away, and for the time being I focused on my life at SLU and getting to know the people I was surrounded by every day. I soon found that every member of KDS was unique, and everyone in my class held different interests. However, it was obvious that everyone was also passionate and driven in everything they were involved in on campus, and now post-graduation that is still the case. Our 19 seniors from the class of 2018 are all pursing various jobs in cities scattered across the county. Plans range from pursuing higher education to hitting the ground running in the financial industry. Coming into senior year, I was excited to find out what everyone would be pursing after SLU. One thing I did not predict was that three of us, including me, would be heading into the Peace Corps.
Katie O’Connell will be heading to Senegal to work as an Environment and Agriculture Change Agent. She will be learning environmentally-friendly and sustainable agricultural practices that aim to produce healthy and economically advantageous crops. She will then teach these practices to local communities to help transition the area away from mono-cropping, which is a result of the countries colonialist history. Katie is very excited to be living and working in West Africa, an area of the country she has never been before. Although she is anxious about having to miss out on things happening at home, such as KDS’s 50th birthday, she knows that her family will be there when she gets back.
Rachel Snitzer will be working in Botswana in HIV/AIDS capacity building as a Life Skills Educator. She will be placed in a school where she will plan and implement programs aimed at teaching kids about sexual health and empowerment. Rachel is extremely exciting to be traveling and living in a place she has never been before where she has the opportunity to learn and embrace the culture and the people. She knows this will be one of the greatest challenges and adventures she has ever had.
I will be heading to the Philippines to work as a Coastal Resource Management Outreach Facilitator. I will be placed in a government municipality, which can oversee 10-50 different communities. I will not know exactly what I will be working on until I arrive in country, but I know that the projects I am assigned will be related to five areas: increasing environmental awareness through environmental education, conducting resource assessments of marine ecosystems, establishing protected marine areas, policy work for protected areas, and strengthening community-based organizations. As a double major in Conservation Biology and Global Studies, this position is my dream-job and I am still in shock that I am able to pursue something that I am passionate about. Although nervous, I am beyond excited to learn about a part of the world that is vastly different than what I am used to.
When I met Katie and Rachel as a sophomore, I could not have predicted that we would all be beginning our post-grad life in countries thousands of miles away from St. Lawrence. Although our reasons for joining vary, we all share an underlying passion for doing what we believe is right and meaningful. I am so lucky to have met these two women and cannot wait to hear about their adventures during their service in the Peace Corps!