Flower Mound woman to begin Peace Corps service in Africa

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Samantha Lee

Samantha Lee, 22, of Flower Mound, has been accepted into the Peace Corps in Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland) and will depart on Sept. 24 to begin training as a community HIV/AIDS mitigation officer volunteer.

“I was motivated to join the Peace Corps due to my affinity for ‘hands-on’ public health,” Lee said. “I believe that tangible, long-term health improvements are accomplished through direct community action. After my university announced the creation of their Peace Corps Prep Program, I did my research on the Peace Corps and felt immediately drawn to the work that is being done around the world.”

The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change, according to a Peace Corps news release. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, the environment and youth development. There are more than 85 volunteers in eSwatini working with their communities on projects in youth development and health.

Lee is the daughter of Kimberly and Darren Lee of Flower Mound and a graduate of Flower Mound High School, according to the news release. She attended The University of Texas at Dallas, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in healthcare studies in 2019. Prior to joining the Peace Corps, she was president of the UTD Public Health Initiative, senior disease vector lab and field technician at Municipal Mosquito. Lee was also a student volunteer at Seasons Hospice, and an alternative spring break team member of Disaster Relief (Beaumont and Luquillo, Puerto Rico), and a service-learning volunteer at Parque la Libertad (Costa Rica).

She will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Eswatini and help Lee develop leadership, technical and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge when he/she returns home. Peace Corps volunteers return from service as global citizens well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.

“Overall, I look forward to learning about living and working in a different community than I grew up in, especially a community in development,” Lee said. “By learning to navigate cultural obstacles, language barriers, and to create sustainable change in communities with limited resources, I can apply this knowledge to my future career in public health.”

The Peace Corps seeks additional applicants to fill hundreds of requests for volunteers in programs worldwide beginning in spring 2020, according to the news release. Peace Corps volunteers live and work for 27-month terms of service in more than 60 nations, and receive a living stipend, extensive language and technical training, and financial benefits including eligibility for student loan forgiveness and graduate school fellowships after service. Open positions with an Oct. 1 application deadline are available in the fields of education, health, agriculture, community economic development, youth in development and the environment.

For more information, click here.

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Mark Smith

Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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