Katie Speicher graduated from NL in 2012. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Resource Management from Penn State University. She is currently serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Koumbidia Soce, Senegal. Speicher lives in a community of about 700 people who are ethnically Mandinka, and she received Mandinka language training in order to communicate as she serves. The primary focus of Speicher’s assignment is to incorporate trees into agricultural systems, which includes the creation of live fences, establishing fruit tree orchards, and planting trees in gardens. She works with individual farmers and holds community wide trainings. A secondary focus of Speicher’s assignment is working with the youth of the community, and she facilitated a pen pal exchange with the English class at the school, implemented a scholarship program for middle school girls, and started an empowerment club for girls. Speicher’s two-year commitment continues through November 2018.
At the conclusion of her Peace Corps term, Speicher looks forward to time spent reading, gardening, doing yoga, and playing the clarinet. The thing that Speicher most appreciated about her time at NL was that “NL has a lot of wonderful teachers that genuinely care about their students' success.” The following is Speicher’s advice for current NL students: Don't get caught up in the high school popularity contest. Pursue your interests shamelessly and be proud of who you are.
To read more about Speicher’s time in Senegal, check out her blog at seedsofsenegal.wordpress.com.