Dear Dragons students and families,
I am so delighted to be sitting down to write you in anticipation of our time together this summer! I’m currently in Utah, doing some exploring of my own in between Dragons trips, but dreaming of our adventures together in July. Though I have spent most years of the past decade living outside of the United States, primarily in Senegal and India, I am still rooted to my family in Iowa and to my community in Colorado, my de facto home in the US.
My involvement with Dragons over the past 13 years has defined many contours of my life. I came to Dragons days after finishing my Master’s degree in International Education and Development back in 2008. I had thought that I’d return to my career in the field of international development doing education policy, but the immersive and transformative learning inherent in experiential education has kept me spinning in the Dragons orbit ever since. As an instructor, I have worked on our programs in Senegal, Rwanda, Madagascar, India, and Nepal. I have also been involved with Dragons US programming since it started last fall, trekking with the fall semester group in Rocky Mountain National Park and spending half of this past spring program with the Rio Grande Semester in Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. As an administrator, I have mostly spent time as a Program Director responsible for overseeing our programming in South Asia and Africa and managing staff trainings.
Beyond my work with Dragons, I have a number of passions and hobbies that fill my days. For one, I take very seriously my role of auntie to a large number of small children of family and friends alike. I am also a lifelong language learner, and while I’ve spent the past year focusing on Italian, I also speak French, Hindi, Bengali, and Spanish. I am an amateur birder and photographer, and I can often be found standing very still somewhere out in the wild, camera in hand. Since being more grounded in the US this year, I’ve gotten involved in immigration justice advocacy, which offers me the opportunity to try to repay some small fraction of the kindness and hospitality that I received while living outside of the United States in the service of folks trying to make a new life here in this country. More than anything, I value being grounded in community and in the little piece of earth that I get to call home.
I’ll be the Course Director for the Colorado River Basin program this summer. I am honored and delighted to accompany and learn alongside the group during this program, and I’m very much looking forward to settling into the rhythm of footsteps landing on mountain trails, meals cooked over a gas stove, and deep conversations about life and all our learnings set to the backdrop of the beautiful places we’ll visit. I always cherish any opportunity I have to spend days immersed in community and in wilder places with Dragons groups, and even more so now that the pandemic has shrunk each of our world so significantly. I can’t wait to meet you all! Keep your eyes here on the Yak board in the weeks leading up to our trip, as we’ll be answering questions, posting updates to the packing list, providing some readings, and asking you all to introduce yourselves too!
With care and anticipation,
PS: I’m the middle one in the photo, sandwiched between two of my closest pals. 🙂