Lindsey O’Neal

Lindsey O’Neal (she/her) is honored and excited to be a 2023 Donald M. Payne International Development Fellow and pursue her dream career of being a USAID Foreign Service Environmental Officer.  Growing up in her hometown of Palmetto, Florida, Lindsey developed an early love of service while volunteering for Community AIDS Network promoting sexual health.  From Palmetto, she moved to Canyon, Texas, to pursue her Bachelor of Arts degree at West Texas A&M University.  During her studies, she was introduced to Foreign Service work through the Department of State’s Virtual Student Foreign Service internship, where she reported political and security issues in Guanajuato, Mexico, during the 2018 elections.  With the aim to expand her knowledge of environmental issues in Mexico, she worked with teachers in rural communities in Guanajuato to address water inaccessibility and severe heat.  Lindsey also became interested in women’s empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa through her gender studies certificate program, where she wrote and presented research at numerous regional conferences.  After graduation, her interest in Africa led her to join the Peace Corps in Botswana.  There, she gained insight into challenges facing sustainable agriculture while working on her host sister’s drought-ridden farm in rural Kanye.  Her passion for international service flourished as she partnered with local women to start an educational campaign to promote environmental empowerment and women’s economic development.  Serving abroad cemented Lindsey s commitment to Foreign Service work and paved the way for her interests in sustainability.  She saw first-hand how climate change disproportionately affected women in developing countries and now hopes to apply a gender lens to better implement environmental programs while at USAID.  Through graduate school, her goal is to develop expertise in natural resource management to confront complex intersectional challenges and lead innovation that will revolutionize climate action.  Lindsey is a Latina, a first-generation college student, and a member of the LGBTQ+ community.  She is committed to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility at USAID and beyond.  In her free time, Lindsey enjoys writing for her travel blog, baking vegan desserts, reading philosophy, and playing video games with her partner.  She is living in Washington, D.C., and attending graduate school in Fall 2023.