My studies in anthropology at Fort Lewis College provided the foundation and direction which defined my subsequent academic and professional endeavors. The melding of the academic and the pragmatic have provided me with both the analytical knowledge and the real world skills that are needed to have an impact. In specific, my anthropology classes taught me to think outside of the box, to think critically, and how to better understand a complex world. My academic preparation at Fort Lewis College afforded a unique and informed perspective in my graduate studies in public health where I researched the synergy between poverty and the contraction of HIV/AIDS and how better understanding the religious beliefs of Santeria could be utilized in the prevention of mercury poisoning among Caribbean Islanders residing in Miami. I now utilize my background in anthropology in Central America where I design and implement small scale projects ranging from public health interventions focused on hygiene and sanitation in Nicaragua to rural tourism and coffee cooperative development in Costa Rica.