MACON – Mercer University senior Nidhi Shashidhara was recently selected to serve the Peace Corps in Malawi beginning in June 2020.
Shashidhara, from Jacksonville, Florida, is an environmental studies major with minors in global development studies, business and sociology.
As an environment and food security officer, she will help address critical issues in Malawi through environmental education in schools, demonstration of sustainable agricultural practices for the whole community and nutrition education for community mothers.
The aim is to provide communities with the knowledge and skills to adopt natural resource management practices that improve food and nutritional security while also increasing resilience to environmental shocks associated with climate change.
“My interest in the Peace Corps began when my high school principal introduced us to a word from her Zulu culture, Ubuntu, which means the quality of being human,” said Shashidhara.
“Through my past few years at Mercer, I grew my passion for environmental issues and found a new desire for cultural immersion. My interest in the Peace Corps developed as I realized it would allow me to bridge both. When I received my invitation to serve, all the anxiety I had about leaving my home behind for two years immediately disappeared, and I knew that this was the right path for me. I look forward to arriving in the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’ and getting the opportunity to work and live with a new community while gaining valuable experience in an issue I’m passionate about.”
Shashidhara is a member of Mercer’s cross-country and track teams, director of the Mercer Green Coalition, chair of the Student Affairs Committee for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and a participant in the international track of the University Honors Program.
She participated in an internship at False Bay Nature Reserve in Cape Town, South Africa, through the International and Global Studies Department in the College of Liberal Arts.
Following her Peace Corps service, she plans to attend graduate school in preparation for a career in climate change mitigation and adaptation with a global organization.
“The Peace Corps program is looking for global citizens who are passionate about making the world a better place for everyone. With experiences through Mercer On Mission South Africa and Mercer’s South Africa Internship Program, Nidhi has cultivated the credentials and commitments the Peace Corps is looking for in its applicants. It’s no surprise, therefore, that Nidhi’s application was processed and approved in a very short time,” said Dr. Eimad Houry, professor and chair of international and global studies.
The Peace Corps, established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, is a volunteer program administered by the U.S. government to send the best and brightest Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. To date, more than 235,000 Americans have served in 141 countries. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov.