MPA students Geoconda Idrovo (middle, in red dress) and Natasha Young (on right, in white shirt) are doing their overseas service in Puerto Rico at the Centro para Puerto Rico (the programmatic arm of the Sila M. Calderón Foundation).

They are working on two projects. The first is a feasibility study for a Rutgers MPA on the island, to focus on community development. They have done data collection and are helping to produce a lengthy proposal for program accreditation. 

The second project is to expand the center’s Green Market initiative (Mercado Verde). The project gives women in agriculture a space for selling and marketing their products. The project also includes a focus on sustainable agriculture, including workshops to promote urban farming, the sharing of new techniques, and encouraging consumption of locally grown food. This project has given Natasha and Geoconda the chance to collaborate with community organizations, university professors, technical experts, and local business owners to develop a strategy for accomplishing the goals of the project. 

When not hard at work they’re at the beach of course – enjoying the year round sunshine and contemplating how life could possibly get any better.