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Public Service Scholars

Palani Akana (Earth Systems BS '15, MS&E MS '16)

Palani is committed to sustainable, community based development in Latin America. For the last six years, he has worked in many capacities with the nonprofit organization Amigos de Las Americas, whose mission is to inspire and build young leaders through collaborative community development and immersion in cross-cultural experiences. Palani has indeed helped carry out this mission through his two summers volunteering in Paraguay and Ecuador in rural communities. As a volunteer, he helped to build fuel-efficient stoves, plant trees, and teach classes on environmental, health, and children's rights topics. Since volunteering, Palani returned to Ecuador as a project supervisor, where he facilitated cross-cultural collaboration between North American and Latin American youth. For the past two years, Palani has served as the Training Director for the Peninsula Chapter of Amigos de las Americas, where he teaches future volunteers about leadership, community development, diversity, and cultural exchange. Palani's passion for public service in sustainable development in Latin America shines through in his personal life.