Meghan White, Wittenberg class of 2015, is embarking on a journey of a lifetime. White, from Indianapolis, Ind., has been accepted as a secondary school math teacher in the South African Kingdom of Lesotho through the Peace Corps. She will be serving for approximately 27 months, which began in late September and will conclude in December 2019.
“It’s incredibly exciting and scary,” said White, who majored in both math and philosophy at Wittenberg. "I think the beauty of this opportunity is not knowing what awaits, but I am hoping I make connections with other volunteers and the people of Lesotho, which will affect me for the rest of my life.”
Even though White did not formally participate in Wittenberg’s Peace Corps Preparation program, one of only a select few in the country, she became interested in the teaching opportunity through the encouragement of Scott Rosenberg, professor of history and director of Peace Corps Preparation program, and after completing a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer with the Springfield Promise Neighborhood in July 2016.
“I think often of Dr. Rosenberg and his own Peace Corps experience,” said White, who did participate in a service trip with him to Lesotho as a sophomore. “He was an agricultural volunteer in Lesotho, and now he takes students back to his volunteer country. In the end, I hope that I am able to uphold the Peace Corps mission of educating the people of Lesotho about American culture and educating the American people of Lesotho culture.”
White was a tutor at the Math Workshop during all four years of her time at Wittenberg and taught two courses as a supplemental instructor. She served as a communications and assessment leader at AmeriCorps VISTA under Wittenberg Professor Emeritus of Education Bob Welker, Springfield Promise Neighborhood executive director, and was grateful for the opportunity to work with him and stay in Springfield for a year after graduation.
“The experience granted me an exponential amount of appreciation for my education, the opportunities, and the people I was able to meet during my four years at Wittenberg,” said White, who was also a member of Delta Gamma, the Gamma Rho chapter and a Springfield Promise Neighborhood volunteer. “I decided to take the plunge and submit a Peace Corps application in hopes to be a math instructor. Dr. Rosenberg expressed to me that there was a high need for volunteers that could teach math as part of the education sector, which is exactly what I wanted to do.”
White, who was awarded the Charles J. Ping Community Service Award and the Seretta Saylor Student Legacy Award for her time with the local nonprofit, first became interested in the Peace Corps while in high school.
“My friend and I would sell custom-made, tie-dyed clothing to our peers and donate the money to a nonprofit in Kenya that provided immunizations to infants,” she said. “At that point, I knew that I wanted to travel internationally and spend time in Africa, but I was unsure what country or when the opportunity would present itself. I applied to participate in the Lesotho trip without telling my friends or family, and was elated when I could share that I had been accepted.”
White is still unsure about her future career path, but knows she would like to be part of the nonprofit or education sector in some way.
“I’m not sure that I want to be a teacher myself, but I am passionate about creating and nurturing educational opportunities for others,” she said. “I do plan to continue my studies, but have no definite plans as of now. Depending on where my path takes me, I’ll likely return to grad school. But, Wittenberg had an uncanny way of taking me under its proverbial wing and nurturing my budding passions. If I had any advice to give, it’d be to follow your heart as you pursue jobs and volunteer opportunities. Looking forward the dots don’t always connect, but looking back I’m grateful that I always pursued experiences that nurtured my passions as I believe these experiences each have undeniably made me the person I am today.”