About Me

I was born and raised in Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC. From a very young age my parents encouraged me to be independent and interested in other cultures and people. I took my first real international trip during the summer after tenth grade when my Girl Scout troop spent two weeks in England and Switzerland visiting the WAGGGS World Centers in London and Adelboden. From then on, I was hooked.

I attended Marywood University, a small liberal arts college in Scranton, PA, where I studied Special Education and Elementary Education. While enrolled I participated in a number of service trips, including working at a nursing home in Garrison, NY, volunteering in schools on American Indian reservations in Philadelphia, Mississippi, and performing deconstruction of ruined homes in New Orleans, Louisiana. I also had the opportunity to travel to San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala for an incredible cultural exchange and series of service projects.

In Spring 2005 I set out on 100-day, round-the-world voyage on Semester at Sea. We braved ridiculous storms  and gigantic waves, and ended up visiting Canada, Hawaii, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, India, Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, and Venezuela before returning to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. This trip changed me and effected me in ways I still find difficult to describe. It was the single best experience of my life.

After I graduated with my teaching degree, I worked for two years in Glen Burnie, MD, just outside of Baltimore. I taught students in grades 3-4 with special needs, and while I loved the students and my co-workers, two years of dealing with bureaucracy and high stakes testing had me fleeing the country for something new.

In August 2009 I moved to Seoul, South Korea to work for SMOE. I have spent the past two years teaching roughly 600 students a week in grades 3-6. I lucked into a wonderful school with enthusiastic, hilarious students and supportive co-teachers. I also happened to amass one of the greatest groups of friends a girl could ask for, who helped make my experiences here all the richer. While living in Korea I had the opportunity to visit Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia. I've loved every minute of it.

So why am I leaving? Simple...I got into Harvard. I will be attending Harvard University for the 2011-2012 school year and earning my MEd in International Education Policy. I am awed and honored to be part of an incredible cohort full of passionate, interesting people from around the world that I have no doubt are going to effect great and lasting change in the world.

Want to know more? Drop me an e-mail at mkshanahan@gmail.com.