The First Piece

I grew up in a small suburb of Cleveland. I spent the first 18 years of my life surrounded by loving family, friends, classmates, teachers, co-workers, and neighbors in Mentor, Ohio. I was always happy with my life, but I did not realize until I was in high school how blessed I really was. As a tenth grader, I began to volunteer more and started to realize what the rest of the world was like outside my little bubble. After seeing firsthand the positive impacts I was able to make on the lives of others, I decided that I wanted to spend the rest of my life serving those less fortunate.

I recently graduated from Florida Southern College with a Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and Spanish. I have taught at Title 1 schools in Polk County and worked at after-school programs for the past three years. Specifically, I served as a Youth Development Professional at Boys & Girls Club and a Counselor at Neighborhood Ministries. In addition to teaching classes and working with at-risk youth, I have also dedicated a lot of my research toward improving educational opportunities (mainly through effectiveness, equality, and safety). I have published research on critical pedagogy (the idea of giving students more power in their educations) in Papers & Publications: Interdisciplinary Journal of Undergraduate Research. I have also published research on status frustration (the effects of socio-economic status on educational experiences) in Deviant Behavior, and I am currently working to publish my research regarding the relationship between types of media and campus safety perceptions.

During my time as an undergraduate, I developed a passion for learning about new cultures and new groups of people, in addition to my passion for wanting to help others. I studied abroad in Spain for one month and fell in love with the idea of going to new places. After this first experience, I continued to travel abroad. Later on that summer, I traveled to Bosnia & Herzegovina for two weeks with my mom. I continued to travel even more in 2016. I spent the first two weeks of the new year backpacking through Ireland and the UK all by myself. I met so many amazing people and experienced so many unique adventures. I spent three and a half months in the summer of 2016 teaching English in Spain. While I was living in Spain, I was also able to visit six other European countries. Throughout college, I also traveled across the country for academic conferences and took two trips to the Bahamas.

My passions for helping others and experiencing new cultures are what led me to apply for the Peace Corps. At first, it was always just something I dreamed of but never thought would actually happen. All of my teaching and traveling experiences have definitely helped to prepare me for this new chapter in my life, but I know that there is no way I will ever be completely ready. However, I know that I will do everything I can to overcome the challenges that come my way and be the best teacher for my new Ecuadorian students.

Overall, my greatest goal in life is to help kids who were not fortunate enough to have as great of a childhood as I did.