By Casey Guditus, a Community Education Volunteer

Currently an MPA student at DePaul University, Grace Schmitz studies public service and specializes in international public management.  Seeking to fulfill her program’s international internship requirement, she set out to intern with Sustainable Bolivia, a non-profit in Cochabamba, Bolivia.  However, a cat and a boyfriend later, she had settled down and turned her six-month internship into a one and a half year experience, working as a social media coordinator.

Starting as Awamaki’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Grace says she is excited to work with an organization whose mission she stands behind. Besides wishing to implement weekly marketing meetings with good food, she can’t wait to work more closely with AwamakiLab in order to develop a greater understanding of Awamaki’s clientele and fine-tune the Lab’s marketing strategies. She also believes our young organization holds a lot of promise, as we are able to recruit new, talented people invested in the Awamaki mission to build a strong community of growth and innovation.

Besides her occupational interest in marketing, Grace has an academic interest in Andean small-scale agriculture and the indigenous peoples’ role in the global marketplace. She is especially interested in quinoa production, a grain which has recently become very popular worldwide. However, little is written on the role of the indigenous Andean people in quinoa production. She eventually wants to end up in academia and is thankful for the opportunity to work in Ollanta because of the access to indigenous peoples and entry into the world of fair trade. Because her travels have spanned both Bolivia and Peru, she has had a fantastic pan-Andean experience, which benefits her capstone due in the spring of 2015.

She’s been constantly busy since her arrival, but she’s excited to have a lot on her plate. Her only distractions have been dogs, because they’re so fun to play with.

We’re so happy to welcome Grace to our group of talented staff members and excited to see her impact on the marketing sector of Awamaki!