A Brief Intro Before Traveling to Trinidad!

Hello, everyone! My name is Olivia Drohan and I will be traveling to Trinidad and Tobago next month during spring break. I am so excited to be working on the service learning project for Amizade and DORCAS Women’s Group and cannot wait to be in Matelot. I chose to partake in this study abroad trip to develop my own leadership skills and service learning abilities while being able to help others!!

I grew up in a town not far from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The town is called Butler, and that is where I have lived my entire life. My mom also grew up in Butler and when I am not residing at the University of Pittsburgh, I live in a Victorian home not far from the one she lived in as a child. I have two younger sisters who are still in high school and middle school now. I am very close with them and am trying to convince my sister who is a junior to attend Pitt! Because my mom chose to stay in her hometown, I also live close to several family members. Because of this, I have maintained close relationships with my mom’s siblings and my cousins, who were just a stone throw away from where I lived.

The population of Butler is around 14,000 and has one of the largest high schools in my area: my graduating class consisted of almost 600 students. Being in such a large high school presented me with numerous opportunities and chances for growth. It was very easy to get involved in school activities because there were so many options. My freshman year, I started out with what I was comfortable with. I started playing soccer when I was 5 years old and I played on the soccer team for my first two years of high school. I was a bit close-minded at first and did not join other extracurricular activities. When it came time to think about college, I realized that I had not explored many other interests. My junior year, I auditioned to be a “Sequinette” flag twirler in the Butler Band. I made the team and made many new friends as a result. I always had an interest in law, so I tried out for and made the Mock Trial team that year. Our first competition was held in the Cathedral of Learning at Pitt, which began to spark my interest in the university. My senior year I became Captain of the Mock Trial team and French Club president. These experiences taught me that I like to be a leader, which reflects some of my current studies and activities at Pitt.

I choose to study business for several reasons: To begin, my dad is a CPA and both of my parents run their own businesses. They always stressed to me that one can use business skills for anything and I decided this was a good option for me. My interest in studying law was sparked while I was in Mock Trial during high school. I decided that having a business background would allow me to go on to study corporate law if I desire. At the moment I am still undecided in that aspect!

Currently, I am involved in a plethora of activities inside and outside of Pitt. I work for the Business Research Lab as a Research Assistant for the new lab in Posvar. Additionally, this semester I became the VP of Marketing and Member Relations for Women in Business! I love this position because I got to plan recruitment this spring as well as social events throughout the semester. I also made the Dean’s List which is a proud accomplishment of mine because I take my studies very seriously. Outside of the business school I try to stay very involved as well. I am a member of the Panther Crossfit Club and that is where I met all my current roommates freshman year. I love working out and am also a big runner! This past October I ran my first marathon in Columbus, Ohio. One of my goals for the future is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. In addition to working out, I also love spending time with my friends and family.

I am so excited for the opportunity to travel to Trinidad and cannot wait to continue learning and growing. So far in the class, I have already learned several important things that will help me develop professionally. For example, before this class I had never written a scope of work. I now know that it is the extremely important outline that defines how our project will go. I have also learned a lot about the difference between service learning and community service. For the service learning project, our main client will be Amizade, an organization based in Pittsburgh that collaborates with universities, high schools, and community groups to design and manage safe and empowering global service-learning and volunteer programs. Our main goal this semester is to help them implement eco-tourism in Matelot, a small and remote community in Trinidad to expand their economy. I am looking forward to finishing the scope of work to determine what our deliverables for the project will be. As of right now, we hope to begin by defining eco-tourism in Matelot to help us determine what will be necessary for future tourists. We also want to help Matelot by coming up with necessary customer service training and social media plans.

I have several personal goals for this project. First and foremost, I want to be able to grow from my experience abroad and from my experience working with a client. I want to make the most of my time in country for the benefit of the client as well as myself. Additionally, I think it is important to do well on this project to help future CPLE students as they continue working with Amizade and traveling to Trinidad so that our ideas can be fully implemented and seen through!