November 13, 2009
Graduated in 2009 with a degree in molecular biology from Reed College -- a quirky, academically sadistic liberal arts school in Portland, Oregon, United States of A.
Then I went to Africa (Ghana) for two months of volunteer work with Unite For Sight (UFS)...and during this time I stumbled upon another pet project: women's empowerment! The UFS volunteer-coordinator in Ghana founded a co-op of 140 women who produce Shea butter at a mass-production level -- which is fabulous except that unfortunately, they're not getting fair-trade prices from their current buyers. So, right now I'm investigating how to break into Western markets for them while working to extend the other aspect of the leader's work: sex-ed, family planning, and distribution of contraceptives in rural areas where women have 6-10 children each.
So, there's that. You can see photos of that project here: http://celiaghana.livejournal.com
Three weeks after getting home from Africa, spontaneously I decided to sell my car and use the ching to go to Buenos Aires, were currently I'm residing (11-13-2009). I wanted to get fluent in Spanish so I can do the Monabiphot International Master's Program in Biophotonics and Nanotechnology (http://www.ens-cachan.fr/monabiphot/pages/cursus.htm#contents) starting September 2010, where semesters are spent consecutively in Paris, Madrid, Poland and back to Paris (with the possibility of Israel or Taiwan during the final semester, it seems). So far I'm loving it here in Buenos Aires, and my Spanish has improved dramatically.
Right now I'm working with a cognitive neuroscience lab and volunteering with Voluntario Global, a growing NGO, through which I'm teaching English and tutoring chemistry to women from La Boca neighborhood, an impoverished and violence-ridden area of Buenos Aires.
I suppose my current life dilemma is figuring out how to simultaneously continue developing all my passions: molecular neuroscience in a cognitive framework, travel and foreign languages, and the various social entrepreneurship ventures I've become involved with. I think the rate-limiting step will be learning how to make pretty webpages (have started learning XHTML and CSS) to communicate my project ideas and connect & collaborate with like-minded people all over the globe. Distance should be no barrier to action.