Going to extremes and giving it your all is not a foreign concept to Annalise Peters. She’s combining a challenging academic program with a grueling athletic schedule as captain of the UGA ladies track team and a competitive pole-vaulter. As you can imagine, heights do not bother Annalise, which came in handy when she traveled to Africa in 2008 and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
Through the Honors International Studies Program (HISP), Annalise secured funding to conduct research in Madagascar, but she decided to first make a stop in Tanzania to fulfill a long-time dream.
Reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (called Uhuru) was indeed a dream come true. She later wrote in her blog, “There’s no way to internalize or even describe Uhuru. Standing on top of the highest point on the entire continent of Africa, looking down on a crystal blue sky over Kenya and Tanzania. Giant ice walls to the left. Low-lying, snow-filled valleys to the right. You’re on the roof of Africa, but talk about humbling. Truly, a once in a lifetime experience, and I’ll never forget that moment.”
Following this feat, Annalise made her way to Madagascar and interned for a month with Reef Doctor, an organization performing coral reef research, conservation, and preservation along the southwest coast. While living in a reef hut with another volunteer intern, she combined her love for scuba diving and adventure with performing seagrass surveys to document growth and depletion. Annalise was one of only two Americans working with Reef Doctors, which enabled her to begin thinking more internationally.
Following her summer travel experiences, Annalise has learned that “college is a journey to learn your path.” She feels her eyes were opened to her path by living alongside natives, seeing poverty up close, and developing a strong conviction to make a difference. She hopes to return to Madagascar and travel for a year before attending law school, with her ultimate goal being to contribute to policy-making for those less fortunate.
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