I had a wonderful experience during the fellowship – I volunteered in a high school afterschool program in Khayelitsha and loved interacting with the students. I was proud to see them taking on leadership roles in their community by planning cleanup
projects and educating their peers.
The other volunteers and I took the students on an overnight nature camp where they learned about the ecosystem and its denizens…while playing lots of soccer 🙂 We had a blast!
I also published part of my master’s thesis (for my MSc. at the University of Cape Town) with my supervisor and another visiting biologist, and am in the process of revising a paper covering the rest of my data.
I learned during the course of the fellowship that research is fulfilling, but teaching science and inspiring students is even more rewarding and exciting, and directly impacts social change. I am currently in the process of getting my teacher’s certification, and I volunteer as a mentor and tutor for a youth-at-risk program in my home city (Portland, ME).
Life is great, and I am regularly in touch with my friends in South Africa. I hope to return for a visit in 2011.