Valarie graduated with a BS/MS degree in Materials Science and Engineering, but realized her true passion was helping those less fortunate than her. While helping victims of Hurricane Ike in Galveston, Texas on an Alternative Spring Break trip and working closely with AmeriCorps volunteers, it became apparent that her true passion was to help people, in whatever way that was possible; whether that was doing physical work rebuilding homes and cleaning up debris, tutoring math to students in West Philly schools, or applying her engineering knowledge to help develop solutions to problems faced by developing countries. There are many ways to help.
Upon returning to Drexel from the service trip she sought out ways to get involved in and give back to the community. After becoming a Drexel Community Scholar, a volunteer leadership program through the Center for Civic Engagement, and working in conjunction with AmeriCorps as a part-time Corps member in youth and community development her senior year, she decided to pursue the Peace Corps. It wasn’t until returning home after an Engineers Without Borders trip to a small community in Jamaica to assess the conditions of two pedestrian bridges that were destroyed during Hurricane Gustav and needed to be rebuilt that the notion of the Peace Corps become solidified and real.
The Peace Corps embodied everything that Valarie was passionate about; helping people in a myriad of ways, learning about other cultures, and teaching others about herself and Americans, all in an effort to eradicate prejudices and stereotypes. Valarie will serve as a Youth Development Volunteer in the Eastern Caribbean-St. Kitts and Nevis with the Peace Corps from January 2011 until March 2013. Upon returning to the States after her service with the Peace Corps she plans to go back to school to obtain a graduate degree in Environmental Policy.