Eva Virginia Farrell
Eva Farrell served in Peace Corps Kenya from 2012 to 2014 in the Secondary Math & Science education program, first at Turkana Girls, an all-girl’s school in Turkana County, Rift Valley Province and later at Kyanguli, a mixed school in Makueni County, Eastern Province. Though primarily a mathematics and physics teacher, all volunteers were required to teach Life Skills as part of their service. Eva’s favorite subjects to teach were sexual health, healthy relationships, STD and malaria prevention, contraceptives, and feminine hygiene associated with this class. She encouraged her students to participate in nation-wide weeklong events hosted by Peace Corps, such as Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) and Camp MAP (Men As Partners), which helped to expand upon these concepts. Eva’s decision to enter a career in healthcare was informed entirely by her Peace Corps experience and through her exposure to seeing the work of frontline health organizations and the positive effects they were having on communities in her area.
Once back in the states, she quickly pursued a degree in nursing, and has found that her Peace Corps experience has greatly informed her care as a nurse. In the Peace Corps she learned the importance of partnering with local communities to build sustainable initiatives; that the experience as volunteers wasn’t nearly as important as a community’s readiness for change. Which is why when developing a project in Kenya, she chose to help fund a science laboratory for her school through a generous grant from World Connect. This was a project that her school had already designed but did not have the funding for. She was happy to assist them in bridging that gap. Now as a nurse, Eva tries to bring these same concepts with her using a patient centered approach. Her aim is always to be a partner and strong advocate and never a director in patient care. Her Peace Corps service also motivates her to continue to invest in her community and in addition to her work as a nurse, She has sought volunteer opportunities from COVID vaccination campaigns to Remote Area Medical events that provide free healthcare, vision and dental services to thousands of uninsured in rural Appalachia.
Eva believes that Penn Nursing’s mission to impact healthcare by advancing science, promoting equity, demonstrating practice excellence and preparing leaders in the discipline of nursing, with a strong focus on social justice and innovation is a natural extension to her own personal growth. She is proud to be learning from an institute that aligns so closely with her own values and she is excited to pursue a degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner and use this education to better serve her patients by forming innovative solutions to healthcare challenges.