Graduating from Fredericksburg High School in 1999, I moved from a small rural town, down the road to Austin, Texas, the capital city. I attended the University of Texas (UT) at Austin and studied Geography with a concentration in urban and regional analysis and I took a double minor in Anthropology and Arabic. While studying at UT, I was privileged to enroll in The School of International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont and spend a semester abroad in Morocco. I graduated in May 2003 with my bachelor’s of arts degree. After graduation, my passion to learn and serve led me back to Morocco and opened up a professional and personal path beyond my wildest dreams.
It felt like magic. The first time I sat in a dimly lit hovel of a home and watched someone’s eyes light up with understanding.
Beginning in 2005, I have studied Morocco as a student of the culture and as a champion of community transformation. It was my passion and aim to take distant and unfamiliar ideas and experiences and make them accessible to people. In 2007 I began working with Gateway Medical Alliance (GMA) in Morocco. Through GMA, I partnered in short-term seed projects as well as long-term health centers with the aim of empowering local charities to see transformation in the lives of the marginalized and disadvantaged populations throughout the country. In the fall of 2016, we founded an initiative called Halqa Health Circles and I began to teach community health education to illiterate Moroccan woman. This opportunity filled a position in our Non-governmental organization as well as served a need of the local community that we lived among. As I began to invest myself in the curriculum and enter into the world of the women sitting in the room, I came alive. I adapted from the culturally expected format to reflect my values for equality and mutual respect and we launched into a great learning experience for all the women present, myself included. In the following years my co-workers and I gathered groups of women, authored news lessons and adjusted preexisting lessons all with the intent to see the women not only attend the health circles, but to see life transformation as they applied the things that they learned to their homes, families and personal lives.