Laura Bach '16
Laura Bach ’16, or “teacher” as she is known to her students, is serving in the Peace Corps Uganda.
Not only did her ILR School degree and experiences inspire her to think globally, it reinforced her commitment of working to better the lives of others, specifically the students at the Urua Hill School in Uganda.
Bach’s dedication to serving others began when she volunteered with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps during a gap year prior to Cornell. She followed the career path of her father, Matthew Bach, MBA ’89, in pursuing both a Cornell degree and working in the Peace Corps.
“I think ILR attracts ambitious, visionary leaders who demand a lot out of life, but who are also willing to work hard,” She said. As an Ivy League school, with a diverse and international student population, Cornell broadened her horizons and challenged her in ways she could not have anticipated, much like the Peace Corps.
Bach says ILR encouraged her to think about a range of people and how to bring them together, such as workers and management.
Her involvement with Cornell’s mock trial program added to her leadership skills, and demonstrated how to balance a vision of the future with concrete steps. It taught her how to have complete autonomy over projects.
She further credits her degree emphasis on politics, economics, business and history as giving her a framework of understanding for her development work.
Bach was surprised to feel at home in such a dramatically different culture, community and school, where she is teaching 400 plus students literacy-based skills. To assist with her teaching, she is unwavering in her newest goal to raise funds for 20 computers, necessary items in an institution where all work is still laboriously completed by hand, and meaningful connection to the outside world - for both students and teachers - is cut-off.
She hopes the new computers will aid literacy efforts and technology education for students, faculty and staff of Arua Hill. To find out more, Laura has an award-winning website with more information: https://www.computersforaruahill.com.
From her ILR studies, Bach has a deeper appreciation of how Uganda has gotten where it is today, and where it has the potential to go.
“I feel that, whether it’s my fellow teachers or farmers in the village, I can approach labor conditions and tensions with a more informed viewpoint thanks to my experience with ILR.”
So what’s next for Laura? Upon completion of her Peace Corps service in January of 2019, she is happy to report that she was accepted to Harvard Law School for the fall of 2019.