How long have you been working at FHC and what’s your favorite part about it?
I’ve been working at FHC since September 2018. My favorite parts about it are the people I get to meet and know, including my co-workers. Also, it’s very nice to be working in a place with such a positive atmosphere again. I’ve worked a lot of really rough jobs in my time with very unpleasant folks and working environments.
I heard you were in the Peace Corps. That’s amazing! Where were you living and what kind of projects were you working on?
Thank you. I served in the Peace Corps in Ukraine from 2011-2013. I was living and working in a small farming village in the Carpathian Mountains of Southwestern Ukraine. This region is called Zakarpatska (Transcarpathia in English). I also traveled throughout Ukraine working on different volunteer/aid projects, so I got to see a lot the country and its people. In my Transcarpathian village, I taught English at the one school. Outside of this day job, I worked with other American, Ukrainian, and German volunteers in education based aid projects combating xenophobia, promoting women’s rights, and a lot of youth development/mentoring projects for boys and girls. I worked with a lot, a lot of kids during my service. I also worked on some projects in health education and trained kids on how to plan and execute their own environmental conservation projects in their local communities. I helped implement some of these youth mentoring programs alongside Ukrainian NGO’s in orphanages and refugee camps housing Afghan and Somali children who fled the conflicts going on in their home countries. Many of these kids were trying to get to the European Union to find a better life, but were detained at the border; sometimes interrogated and tortured by border police. They got stuck in western Ukraine and could not go back to their home countries because they would be killed.
You obviously have a big heart for people and a love for travel. What’s next on the horizon for you?
You know, it’s funny you put it like that. I always thought of myself similar to the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz who lacked a heart. Hahaha. I suppose I’m drawn to people and traveling because it allows me to observe and learn about all the facets and complexities of humans and their condition. But I’m by no means an extrovert. I need to recharge alone in isolation and reflect. What’s next on the horizon? San Juan de Gaztelugatxe in Spain, Drangarnir in the Faroe Islands of Denmark, Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I kinda just want to travel somewhere where no one speaks English and/or any other languages I speak and try to live and work alongside the people there to figure it all out. I’ve found these to be the most rewarding travel experiences for me.
What are you studying in school right now?
I’m studying a lot, a lot of chemistry. It’s very challenging, but the ultimate goal is to become a Medical Laboratory Scientist so I can one day apply to work with Doctors Without Borders to serve those living in conflict zones around the world. French and Arabic speakers are highly sought after, so I guess I should travel somewhere where these languages are spoken to learn them.
Outside of work and school what do you like to do? A little birdie told me you’re getting pretty good at boxing!
That little birdie flatters. I’d like to buy that birdie a drink! Hahaha. I’m an alright, beginner. Yeah, I like learning boxing from Manny here at FHC. It’s been a lot of fun. Back in the day, I was obsessed with martial arts, combat sports, self-defense, and all that jazz. It’s been really great to get back into some of it again alongside other gym members here. I like running, hiking, and strength training with calisthenics. Before I came to work at FHC, I could never afford a gym membership. Overtime I learned how challenging and effective a workout one could get with just using their own body weight, some creativity, and basic physics. I also enjoy reading, a lot! Some of my favorite genres include dystopian sci-fi, psychology, applied sciences, economics/personal finance, philosophy, mysteries, graphic novels, and classics like Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Steinbeck, Cervantes, and the like. Here’s my 2019 summer reading list:
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick
1984 by George Orwell
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
God: A Human History by Reza Aslan
The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday
The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus
The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
Yikes! I should probably read up on organic chemistry to prep for next school year.