Here we go!

When I first received my acceptance for the William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service in India, I was speechless (well, after the initial cheering and round of hugging with the roommates). This opportunity is a realization of a lifetime dream. As long as I can remember, I have wanted to work in international development, and in more recent years, I have wanted to work through education as a means of sustainable and effective development. I look forward to my placement with RIVER, and learning from my mentors and teachers through the organization. I hope to develop my understanding of effective teaching strategies, what works in a classroom versus another classroom, community involvement in education, and rural poverty.

Another aspect of the fellowship that leaves me excited, but also nervous, is meeting and learning from the other fellows. Reading through everyone’s profiles (intimidating!), I know I will be learning a great deal from the others’ experiences and backgrounds. I am honored to be part of this group, and I look forward to sharing my own experiences in education and community development. I believe in a team effort when approaching problems and obtaining solutions, and I can’t wait to see what our group accomplishes together for the communities we are working in!

Finally, I look forward to immersing myself in Indian culture for the next 10 months. It is an ultimate thrill to learn and share in a culture different than my own, and at the heart of this fellowship is that sentiment. It will help focus my work, and make my time here more productive.

While I will miss my students in Louisiana and my home in South Dakota, I cannot wait to start this new adventure. I appreciate this opportunity to contribute and learn!

Emily believes education is the most important public service. This conviction was formed during her year with AmeriCorps*National Civilian Community Corps assisting in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina where she witnessed firsthand the effects of poor educational systems. Much of her relief work directly affected Americans who had little option following the storm due to a lack in education. During her undergraduate coursework at Seton Hall University's Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Emily focused her studies on the causal link between gender equality in education and international sustainable development cumulating into her senior thesis project. Since graduating, she has spent the last two years expanding her knowledge of education reform as a founding 2010 Louisiana Delta Teach For America corps member teaching 5th grade in the rural town of Tallulah. Emily worked to expand her teaching beyond just the classroom, and helped to create several initiatives that promoted community development for students and their families. She advocates for international social development rooted in educational equity and quality.

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