May 10, 2019

Two graduates from Susquehanna’s Class of 2019 will head to Africa soon for positions with the Peace Corps.

Jennie Lien will travel to Togo, a tiny country in West Africa, to begin a two-year mission as an agriculture development specialist.

Phoebe Kurien will travel to Malawi where she will serve as a community healthcare specialist developing healthcare programming, some of which will focus on HIV prevention and education.

Lien said Susquehanna’s Global Opportunities/GO Your Own Way experience in Nepal gave her the courage to embark on her next adventure with the Peace Corps.

The summer after her junior year, she spent five weeks in Nepal with Projects Abroad, an organization that places volunteers and interns around the world. While in Nepal, she conducted biodiversity surveys for the Annapurna Conservation Area Project, the largest protected land trust in Nepal.

In Togo, Lien will have the independence to determine many of her projects, but anticipates they will revolve around food and water security, including implementing water collection and irrigation systems, as well as building animal enclosures for chickens, goats and rabbits, which the Togolese raise for food.

Lien anticipates her time in Togo will also help her to advance her zero-waste lifestyle.

“I’ll be forced to be more conscious with day-to-day things I don’t really think about, a lot more reusing, because that’s just the lifestyle,” she said. “I hope it’s just an incredibly humbling experience. I’m ready to come out of this with a real change in the way I see the world.”

After the Peace Corps, Lien, a double major in environmental sciences and public policy, hopes to attend graduate school and pursue a career in government service.

Healthcare for a Cause

As a high schooler, Kurien participated in short-term service trips in Ghana and Costa Rica, all with her sights set on eventually joining the Peace Corps.

“The Peace Corps is a federal agency dedicated to building relationships with global communities,” she said. “The opportunity to be part of that initiative and truly give back is incredible.”

A biomedical sciences major, Kurien wants to pursue a career in healthcare. To prepare for that and her Peace Corps service, she has shadowed doctors, volunteered in the emergency room at a local hospital, and volunteered as an EMT in New Jersey.

After the Peace Corps, she is considering medical school or a career in global health and disease control.

“Healthcare is so unique because unlike many other scientific fields, it is personal. You are really making a difference in an individual’s life,” Kurien said. “I know that whatever work I end up doing, I want to make my community a better and healthier place.”