Sam Neally is in the final year of her B.A. at Mount Holyoke College. She is majoring in Environmental Studies and Spanish with a certificate in Culture, Health, and Science. She is interested in using her scientific background to influence policy in environmental health. Sam is a Peer Health Educator, co-chair for her school’s chapter of Planned Parenthood Generation Action, and member of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA). She also works with her school’s Community Based Learning program as an intern for Gardening the Community, where she promotes urban food justice and security through community development.
Sam learned about Few for Change after studying abroad in Panama in the Spring of 2018 with the School for International Training. She did not visit the Ngäbe-Buglé comarca, but she learned about human ecology and social change during the program in a way that encouraged change through community development. For her independent study, Sam investigated the perspectives of community members regarding land use expansion due to food production into the UNESCO protected forest Parque Internacional la Amistad (PILA). She focused this research in the region of Cerro Punta, which is considered the “breadbasket” of Panama. Through this research, she was first introduced to the situation of the Ngäbe-Buglé, because their comarca intersects with PILA. Sam applied to volunteer with Few for Change because she wanted to continue giving back to the country which offered her so many opportunities for education and growth. Sam looks forward to working to expanding the sustainability of Few for Change so it will be able to offer more education opportunities in the future.