When Erin Aldrich leaves for her Peace Corps assignment in February, she will, in a sense, be living a dream her mother Margie once had.
"Both my parents have been really supportive," she said. "It's something my mom thought about doing too when she got out of college, but she got married and had me and my sister."
Aldrich will spend the next two years in Romania working as an Environmental Youth Advisor.
"I don't know exactly what I'm going to be doing yet, but it's working with schools, local groups to raise awareness of environmental issues," she said.
Now 26, the 1999 Carson High graduate she said everything seemed to come together to encourage her to sign up.
She said she graduated from UNR a year ago with a double major in geography and information systems. She has a good job working for the geo-spacial lab in the geography department doing spacial analysis and projects including desert tortoise research.
"I do like my job, but it's not going to last a long time because it's based on grant money," she said. "I don't have any large commitments here other than family. This just seemed like the perfect time to travel and see some of the world.
"And hopefully, do some good."
Aldrich is one of two Nevadans who signed up for the Peace Corps this year. The other is Candee Ramos who will be assigned to French Guinea.
Ramos was unavailable because she is in Canada now improving her French. Aldrich said she has no knowledge of Romanian.
When she leaves Feb. 19, she'll spend three months in training in Ploesti, a city north of the capital of Bucharest, famed for its oil refineries. Hopefully, she said, a good share of that training will be language survival skills.
She said she's been told language is a two-way street in assignments like this.
"They say a lot of communities there want you to start an English Club because a lot of places Peace Corps volunteers go, people have never heard English spoken by a native speaker.
Romania wasn't even on the radar when she first talked with a Peace Corps recruiter.
"I was set on Mongolia - I don't know why," she said. "Then I wanted to go to Peru. But she said she had served in Romania and really loved it."
Eastern Europe, she said, sounded good.
"The history of it, the different culture, architecture but still have a few of the comforts we have here."
So they nominated her for a post in Romania, and officials at the Peace Corps agreed.
"I'll learn a new language, meet some interesting people and maybe get some idea what direction I'm interested in going when I'm done."
Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.