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College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Political Science senior, Jennifer Ballard, volunteers in Haiti

Jennifer Ballard, a senior political science major, literally took Haiti disaster relief into her own hands. For two months during her summer vacation, Jennifer volunteered in Haiti removing rubble while working with a nonprofit organization, All Hands Volunteers.

Working in disaster relief areas was not always Jennifer's plan. "I stumbled into it, really," said Jennifer. Jennifer and her sister had made a deal to travel together. When their travels brought them to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, they decided to volunteer. When the Earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010, Jennifer decided to continue her philanthropic efforts. 

She decided to volunteer through All Hands Volunteers, which she had learned about during her time in New Orleans. While in Haiti, Jennifer's main responsibility was rubble removal because that is still the area of most need. Eventually, Jennifer became a team leader.

"Because I want to work with the Peace Corps, I thought volunteering in Haiti would be a good test to see if I could survive living in a third world country," said Jennifer. "You're stripping yourself of everything you know. There's no running water, flushing toilets or air conditioning." While this might not seem ideal for some, Jennifer has plans to go back to Haiti for another five months after graduating in December.  

Since Ballard realized her passion for helping others, she has focused her studies at Rowan on disaster relief. "We have to do research papers in political science, and I examine disaster response," said Jennifer. "I'm trying to learn as much as possible."

Jennifer sees herself working in disaster relief for a long time. Besides her current desire to join the Peace Corps, Ballard would like to work for other non-governmental organizations and possibly earn a master's degree in International Development.

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Bullard clearing rubble in Haiti
Bullard clearing rubble in Haiti