Becca Anderson ’14 had the unusual opportunity to present a paper at the Conference of the World Federation of Occupational Therapy in South Africa in May, 2018 with her former faculty mentor, Dr. Tam Humbert, chair of the OT department.
Due to weather delays, Dr. Humbert’s flight arrived too late for her to help present the paper. Flying in from Ghana, where she is serving in the Peace Corps, Becca had to go it alone, and did an impressive job.
Dr. Humbert was not surprised that Becca stepped up, based on her achievements at E-town. Becca served as president of the Charity & Advocacy For Ending Poverty club when the club organized an alternative spring break service trip to Washington D.C. focused on serving the homeless population and decreasing negative stereotypes. She also studied abroad in Chennai, India, doing an internship with the Women In Need Foundation conducting interviews, carrying out programs on health and sanitation, and teaching English. “My time in India is what inspired me to want to join the Peace Corps,” Becca explains. “Another influential thing was participating in the Called to Lead Program. The program forced me to reflect on my experiences through E-town, build my leadership abilities, and plan for the future.”
“All the work I have been drawn to has been based in working with diverse and undeserved communities,” Becca explains. “I feel as though this passion was shaped through my time in E-town given the experiences I had access to. I wanted to join the Peace Corps to be more fully embedded within a cultural context which would lead to greater trust and mutual understanding. I absolutely love living and working in Ghana and have been here 1 1/2 years now. I live in a small rural community in the Volta Region of Ghana. During my time in Peace Corps I have run a 12 week female youth empowerment program, offered no-till agricultural training, taught English at the primary school, carried out several malaria education programs, helped re-establish the Water & Sanitation Committee, and most notably wrote a grant to secure and build 15 household latrines to help end open defecation within the community. Each household beneficiary will pay back the cost of the latrine and the money will be used in a revolving fund so that each household will have an opportunity to build their own. I can confidently say, I wouldn’t be doing work as good as this without my OT education on how to do proper assessment and intervention design.”
Becca’s activism continues. Just last month, she led a crowd-funding effort to raise money for a youth camp in her area in Ghana for young people to learn more skills. In short order, she helped raise $4,435 while the local community raised another $2,200.
*This story was original shared as one of President Carl J. Strikwerda’s E-Moment emails on September 24, 2018. The original email, along with a picture of Becca’s in Ghana, can be seen here: E-town Moment – Intrepid Service – Becca Anderson’s Story.
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