Alena served in southern Ethiopia as an Agriculture/Environment volunteer, though worked primarily with her local health post on garden-based nutrition initiatives and with International Rescue Committee’s Girl Empower program in her village. She loved living in the Sidama Zone, where life revolves around coffee – its growth, harvest, sale and consumption. It was not uncommon to drink 9 (small) cups a day!
She is currently a graduate student at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at UMN, studying Urban and Regional Planning. She is passionate about planning cities that work for everyone and is particularly interested in the ways that the built environment effects peoples’ lifestyles and health. While she and her partner have enjoyed their transplantation to the Twin Cities, they find the winters rather rough. Nonetheless, they feel especially grateful to be in a place that has an Ethiopian community big enough to support many restaurants and grocery stores. In her free, time Alena likes to ride her bike, do yoga and play her guitar.
She is thrilled to be a part of the Board and to serve as the Membership Chair. She looks forward to meeting more folks in the MNRPCV community and continuing to facilitate community connections in the coming year.