From the moment of Witty's announcement, I knew that I wanted to be a PULSE volunteer. In my final year of undergraduate studies at NC State, I considered numerous career options, including the very real possibility of joining the Peace Corps. Those who know me well can understand my motivations, given the bleeding heart that I (figuratively) wear on my sleeve. Although I strongly felt the urge to do my part to "promote world peace and friendship, per the Peace Corps mission, I felt I needed to have a stronger grounding in the so-called "real world" before undertaking such a challenging role. I also wanted to use the engineering skills that I had gained in college and didn't see that opportunity in the Peace Corps. On a side note, my story may have followed a different path if Engineers without Borders, a potentially perfect combination of Peace Corps and engineering, had existed at the time. However it was founded in 2000--by a civil engineering professor at the University of Colorado, where (coincidentally) I was in grad school at the time.
When Witty announced this initiative in 2008, it provided me with an opportunity to contribute to the greater social good, much like the Peace Corps, while remaining a part of the supportive community of colleagues I have at GSK. I'm thrilled that I've been given a meaningful task near and dear to my heart in my Pulse assignment...but we'll save that discussion for another day.