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Back to Africa

Sara Wilhelmsen meets with the medical staff of Lapai Hospital, Niger State, Nigeria, in a 2010 work trip with Management Sciences for Health.

Sara Wilhelmsen ’01 (KSP spring ’00)

Why did you choose the KSP?

In 2000, the KSP was one of the most culturally unique programs St. Lawrence offered.  The mix of classroom and field experience was really attractive. It was like a mini-Peace Corps experience that challenged comfort zones, and I was completely drawn to it. 

What was it about your KSP experience that inspired or compelled you to stay involved with Africa? 

While living in Kenya and learning about life in a developing country, I developed a passion that inspired me to pursue a career in international development. The experience was moving and created an excitement I hadn't felt in any other field of study. Through pursuing graduate school in public policy and international economic development, working with USAID in Washington D.C., and now with Management Sciences for Health in Boston, I have continued to return to Africa, now as a professional dedicated to improving health. 

Do you have a memorable story to share from your KSP?

The entire experience was so memorable but if I had to choose, the homestays in Kisii and Samburu were the most memorable.  They provided insight into daily life - something we could not learn in the classroom.  These experiences humbled me to see how giving people were to open their homes, taught me how much you can communicate even when language is a barrier, brought me closer to my food (having to prepare a freshly harvested chicken does that), and showed me how women come together in rural areas to help someone through labor and delivery.
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