Global Grant Scholar 2013-14
Greetings District 5960!
It has been a pleasure this past year building relationships with Rotarians. My Rotary journey began over a year ago when I applied for the Rotary Peace Fellowship program in Argentina. The process in the application sadly ended when I was informed that the Argentina program had been cancelled. However, I moved forward and decided to apply for the Global Grant Scholarship, as there are more program options in Latin America, which is my region of choice. So here I am!
I am originally from a small border town in Arizona, and have lived in several places since - Nevada, Texas, California, Spain, Costa Rica and now Minnesota. Since 2008 I have worked as the Events and Outreach Coordinator for a local coffee roasting company called Peace Coffee, which imports fair trade and organic coffee beans from several cooperatives around the world, but mainly from Latin America.
Before working at Peace Coffee, I was a Micro-enterprise Development volunteer in the Peace Corps. I managed numerous projects in rural Costa Rica including: teaching English classes, leading a Junior Achievement workshop, organizing a recycling community project, and designing and instructing an anti-violence art workshop called “Arte por La Paz” (Art for Peace). However, my main focus was working with Asociación Montaña Verde, an organization supporting farmers through education on organic production, sustainable farming techniques, crop diversification, and reforestation. My responsibilities included assisting farmers in marketing and distributing their crops along Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, consulting on promotion strategies, and developing value added products.
I have had practical development experience in the field and in my job at Peace Coffee, but the missing piece of my career puzzle is a postgraduate degree, which is why I would like to study Sustainable Economic Development with a focus in Latin America. In the fall I will be applying to programs in Costa Rica, Argentina and Colombia. I am interested in learning more about the factors that support or hinder economic development, and having a better understanding of the complexities of development in a globalized world.
After receiving a Master’s degree, I hope to work as a Program Manager for an agency or NGO supporting sustainable economic development projects in Latin America, specifically with women’s groups and indigenous communities that are cooperatively organized. I would like to manage projects and maintain relationships between stakeholders and cooperatives or groups benefiting from the project services (micro-loans, educational services, etc.).
Finally, I would like to thank Rotary District 5960 for this opportunity. I am very honored to be selected as the Global Grant Scholarship candidate, and I am excited to represent Rotary as a global citizen. Thank you to the district for this privilege and to Twin Cities Nights Rotary club for assisting me the past year. I would also like to acknowledge the St. Paul Sunrise Rotary club for sponsoring me.