Maggie Rudick ’08
Growing up on the East Coast, Maggie Rudick ’08 was drawn to Cornell by its diverse population in a small community, boasting students from 48 states and 14 countries. Intent on travel during her college years, she knew the block plan would allow both domestic and international adventures.
“One of my most memorable moments at Cornell was living in Harlan House,” Rudick says. “I loved the community of women there and living in such a historic landmark in Mount Vernon was amazing. There were some blocks where I moved onto the 2nd floor, the quiet floor, of the library. I admire those people who can study while listening to music, watching TV, or with people around, but I unfortunately could not learn that way. I was really glad to have options!”
Majoring in international politics with a minor in anthropology, Rudick found a mentor in Alfrieta Monagan. “She helped me prepare for learning and appreciating other cultures in the world,” she says.
As a junior Rudick says her studies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, “opened my eyes to the world.” She knew then that she wanted to go back to Africa with the Peace Corps, which she did—in Gambia.
Serving as an Environment and Natural Resource Management volunteer, Rudick worked closely with rural subsistence farmers. But her most rewarding project was planning the country’s first HIV Bike Trek. “This was a goal of mine from day one. HIV rates may have been low in Gambia, but the only way to keep them from growing is educating youth,” she explains. “We had field days and lessons at 15 schools and reached over 2,500 at-risk youth. I just heard that the current volunteers will be having this event again this year in a different region of the country!”
Always being passionate about environmental conservation, Rudick wanted to work in environmental or agricultural fields. “After the Peace Corps, I talked to so many people about their jobs. I organized dozens of “informational interviews” to learn about different career opportunities. After a few months of “soul searching”, I knew working at the EPA was my top choice government Agency and was lucky enough to meet some wonderful people and be at the right place at the right time.” Working in her position at the EPA in the Office of Pesticides Program, Rudick knows that she’ll learn quite a bit and, yes, satisfy her wanderlust. “Cornell got me hooked on traveling and I look forward to incorporating that into my future.”