Career and Post-Graduate Development

Photo of Lauralee Lightwood-Mater
Photo of Lauralee Lightwood-Mater

Lauralee Lightwood-Mater


Environmental Studies



Current Position

Project Coordinator for the Healthy Corner Store Initiative


The Food Trust


I travel to corner stores in Chester, Norristown, Philadelphia, and Camden NJ to teach corner store owners how to source, buy, handle, and sell healthier food options. Store owners get incentives based upon their participation in the program, including monetary incentives, shelving, marketing materials and refrigeration.

How did you get your start in the field?

I decided to serve in the United States Peace Corps right after graduating from Ursinus. I was stationed in Paraguay, where I worked as an agricultural volunteer, helping small scale farmers better their soil quality and crop production. When I got back to the U.S., I wanted to continue working within the food system, and also use Spanish daily, so the job I have now perfectly incorporates both of these things.

Impact of Ursinus

While a student at Ursinus, I was required to do an internship, which I chose to do at a local Collegeville farm. I worked alongside two Mexican natives who I was able to practice my Spanish with and translate for. I learned tons of important skills and language during that internship that helped me during my Peace Corps experience, and that I still keep in mind when working within the food system today.

Piece of Advice

Treat with respect every human you come in contact with. Everyone has their own stories, their own reasons for doing things, and their own views of the world. You will never, ever, completely understand how others see and experience the world, but treating everyone with respect and love will never fail to be the best option

Paying It Forward

I answer emails and messages weekly from people interested in applying for the Peace Corps. I have time and time again counseled and encouraged people through the lengthy application process. If anyone has any questions about The Peace Corps they are always welcome to reach out to me.