College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Environmental Science & Policy

Rachel Belkin (Politics & Policy, 2012) is teaching science in Uganda

Rachel Belkin (ENSP-Politics and Policy, Class of 2012) has been serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda since last November. She writes:

"I'm teaching science to pre-service primary school teachers. I am also doing a lot of environmental education here as well, which is really exciting.  For example, I recently taught climate change and environmental science at a girls science camp; and together with other volunteers, we are starting a Peace Corps Conservation Think Tank for Peace Corps Uganda.   It is really great being able to take what I learned from UMD and apply it to my time here. But teaching science is only part of what we are doing.

"My site mate, Brittany Pitts, and I have also created a Literacy Mentorship Program between my Primary Teachers College and her Primary School. Each of my pre-service teachers were matched with one of her Primary School pupils. They then spent six weeks working together to improve teaching methologies, literacy among the pupils, and increasing a love of reading for everybody. The picture at the top of this article shows two program particpants receiving their certificate, Brittany and me. 

"We also hosted a World Malaria Day at the Primary School. We had the pupils rotate among ten activities that taught them about malaria and malaria prevention.  The students participated in a mural contest, and the winning design was painted on a school wall with help from the runners-up.

"I joined the Peace Corps because I wanted to see how environmental education works on a global scale in communities that depend on environmental resources. I eventually want to go into the policy and or the education aspect of the field but I felt like I couldn't really do that without experiencing first hand the lives of people that certain legislation would affect. I now know what it would mean to take certain things away from a group of people; and I feel more prepared to help find balances between helping the environment and also helping people who may not have a say on a global scale. I also decided to join the Peace Corps so I could learn about new cultures and to grow as a person.   

"I'm really loving my time here and my ability to incorporate environmental science into my service. If any current students are looking into Peace Corps I would be more than happy to answer any questions on my time here, on Peace Corps in general, or the match between environmental science and the Peace Corps.  You can reach me at: rbelkin90 [at]

"After the Peace Corps I would like to continue working overseas. I will probably go back to school for my master's degree right after Peace Corps but afterwards will continue to work on global environmental issues."  

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