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Next steps half a world away

 

Hailey Fox, a Sequim High School graduate, participates in an HIV/AIDS awareness/outreach at the Mount Cameroon Race for Hope. Photos courtesy of Hailey Fox

Sequim grad Hailey Fox finds meaning in 2-year Peace Corps journey

After four years at one of the region's most well-known universities, it was a two-year trip to the sweltering heartland of Africa that gave Hailey Fox direction toward a possible career. A 2004 Sequim High School graduate, Fox embarked on a two-year stint to Africa with the Peace Corps after completing her studies at the University of Washington.


Fox graduated from UW in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in international studies and public health.

The Forks native said joining the Peace Corps was a good segue from the academic world to the professional world because it allowed her to gain hands-on experience in areas of interest without being tied indefinitely to a particular company.

During her time in Africa, most of which was in Cameroon, an impoverished country in central Africa, Fox worked with a school for deaf children and at a child health care center.

"I got really interested in neonatal health and preventive health," Fox said.

Because many African countries, including Cameroon, do not have the same stringent regulations for health care providers as the United States, Fox said she essentially was a practicing nurse.

"I really enjoyed the interactive side of the job, seeing a whole different set of needs," Fox said.

Fox eyes her future

After experiencing roles as a teacher and a health care provider, Fox said she is considering returning to school to become a nurse practitioner.

As an alumna of the Peace Corps, Fox said she will receive reduced tuition at certain universities if she decides to continue with her education.

For now, however, she is living in Sequim while she earns money and prepares for an upcoming trip to the Philippines.

When she arrives in the collection of islands off the southeast coast of Asia in September, Fox will add the Philippines to a list of the countries she has visited, which already includes Italy, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Argentina, Kenya, Cameroon and South Africa.

"South American culture was definitely my favorite," Fox said. "People are really warm and friendly."

Fox will spend six months in the Philippines working with deaf children and their families to advocate on the behalf of the hearing-impaired. Children with disabilities such as deafness often are abused in developing countries, Fox said.

While in the Philippines, Fox will work on developing videos and literature for families with deaf children.

Whether she eventually follows her idea to become a nurse practitioner or not, Fox seems committed to a life of traveling and serving others, saying if she became a health care provider, she still would go on foreign-service trips.

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