Sandra Adounvo was born in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and immigrated with her family to Stafford, Virginia. Sandra attended the University of Virginia where she earned a dual degree in Foreign Affairs and French. As an undergraduate, Sandra worked for several summer health and research programs that prepare historically underrepresented college students for graduate studies. During her junior year, Sandra studied French politics at Science Po Lyon in Lyon, France. While in college, she served as a residential assistant, university guide, and education abroad intern.
Sandra’s passion for international relations led her to join the Peace Corps shortly after graduating. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho, where she taught English, phonics, and sexual education to primary students in a semi-rural community in the Leribe district. She also directed a summer camp for at-risk boys teaching them entrepreneurial skills and sexual health topics.
Sandra hopes to dedicate her career to implementing sexual reproductive health and HIV prevention programs across the globe. She will pursue a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Global Health and Humanitarian Assistance. She is honored to have been selected as a 2021 Payne Fellow and intends to join the USAID Foreign Service as a Health, Population, and Nutrition Officer. In her spare time, Sandra enjoys reading francophone literature, catching up with friends, and traveling.