Lauren Purnell

Lauren completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia in Anthropology and East Asian Studies in 2011. After graduation, she joined the international law firm of White & Case LLP as a practice assistant. For four years she assisted on cases related to white collar crime and international arbitration. However, after assisting on pro bono cases for asylum seekers she was inspired to change the direction of her life and focus on the development of safer societies. She is currently earning her MA in International Relations and Economics from John Hopkins SAIS, with a concentration on International Development. After her fellowship, Lauren wrote: "I am so grateful for the opportunity the Advocacy Project has given to engage with an organization doing such meaningful and fulfilling work."

My New Toolbox

27 May

Day 2 of Training with The Advocacy Project. A lesson on video recording and editing from Greg Walsh. The most challenging day of the week for me!

This week of training with The Advocacy Project has provided me with a shiny new set of tools. Some of these tools are hammers and nails that I can use anywhere. Once I arrive in Kathmandu it should be easy to compose a photo or a blog post. Just like using a hammer and nails. I’ll see a loose board take out my hammer and nails and fix it right then and there. The same will be true for my photography and writing. I’ll see something interesting and snap a picture or take a note down for later. However, other skills will only be useful under the right conditions.

Just last week as I was using my cordless drill on a wooden frame, I found out that my drill bits were already very dull. So I got onto Best of Tools and figured out a way to sharpen them instead of buying another expensive set. The same way goes with my camera. When I notice that the lenses and sensors have all become dusty after a days out of taking photos on an unforgiving environment, I take time to remove the dust and carefully do that.

I think of everything I’ve learned about editing websites, creating content, and using social media as an electric saw. With strong internet connectivity I’ll have a powerhouse at my fingertips. I’ll be able to use my resources to bring attention to CONCERN and promote their presence to a larger audience. However, without the internet my saw becomes inoperable. I’ve been told I’ll have much better access to internet than many of the other fellows, but I still have an image of myself holding an electric saw, the wheel spinning slowly as I try to apply it ineffectually to a block of wood.

Nevertheless, with all that I’ve learned this week I know some of the most important tools are the ones I already had. Patience, ingenuity, organization, these are my hands. They are part of me and without them all the other tools I’ve received would be rendered useless.

I’ll be leaving for Kathmandu, Nepal on Sunday with my metaphorical toolbox overflowing. I look forward to using these tools to the best of my ability and keeping my readers updated!

Posted By Lauren Purnell

Posted May 27th, 2016


  • Ai Hoang

    May 27, 2016


    Awesome post! Good luck in Nepal!

  • Hannah Chi

    June 9, 2016


    This first post is great, Lauren! Safe travels to Nepal, and I can’t wait to see all the beautiful pictures and videos!

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