Meet Lianna Reed, a 2010 graduate of RUHS who went on to Bryn Mawr College outside of Philadelphia, PA to earn a degree in Political Science and French, with a focus on African Studies.  Lianna is now a trainee in Peace Corps Senegal for the Sustainable Agriculture program. 

“As soon as I complete Pre-Service Training I will be officially sworn in to the program. It’s pretty exciting but also a lot of work.  The first few months are focused entirely on language immersion and information we need to be successful in our community based training sites and eventually our permanent sites (cultural, health, and safety and security).  I am currently at the Training Center in Thiès (pronounced CHESS) about an hour and a half from Dakar.  There are 59 trainees in three different sectors including sustainable agriculture, urban agriculture, and agroforestry.”

“When I was at RUHS I worked quite a bit with Scott Sorrell and the Randolph Rotary Interact Club.  That was really my first introduction to Africa as a continent. We worked with NESEI, an initiative based out of Winooski, VT that is working to build schools in southern Sudan (now South Sudan).  When I got to college I focused more on sub-Saharan francophone Africa, particularly the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  Here, I used a lot of my understanding of French, which began with Susan Westbrook in the French program.  She was one of my first French teachers, although Tom Cooch was actually the very first.  I started French in seventh grade and continued through college, including 8 months abroad in 2012.  My French and my passion for African studies encouraged my interest in the Peace Corps and I considered it more seriously after working at The Carter Center in Atlanta, GA during the summer of 2013. During that summer I was working on a Human Rights Program for the DRC.  There, my supervisor Sam Jones recommended the Peace Corps as the next step in my international career.”

“So here I am.  I’m learning Bambara with another volunteer and I’m staying with a host family while I finish Pre-Service Training, which I expect to complete in late November. I’m not sure where I will be placed after that, but I’ll be sure to send occasional updates. So stay tuned!”