Munster native Amanda Schulte has begun training for what is perhaps the longest bicycle ride she will ever take.
Schulte, 23, will bike from Charleston, S.C. to Santa Cruz, Calif. with the Bike and Build program May 22 to Aug. 10 and will partner with Habitat for Humanity along the way.
In addition to covering more than 4,200 miles, the 30 riders on Schulte’s team have each made a commitment to raise at least $4,500 by the start of the trip to fund building materials.
“My route happens to have the greatest number of build days of all of the Bike and Build trips, and we will have a 'blitz build' in Colorado Springs, Colo., during which my group will work to build an entire house over the course of one week,” she said.
“Volunteers host us along our route in churches or community centers. Many people will generously house us and provide meals for the group. In some smaller towns in rural areas, we may also have to camp at times.”
“I knew this would be an incredible and unique way to have a direct impact on a dire situation in the U.S.,” she added about housing needs in the U.S.
A Munster High School graduate, Schulte graduated in 2011 from Tufts University in Massachusetts with a double major in international relations and community health. She will next attend the University of Michigan to earn a master's degree in public health.
“I would like to work in the field of public health policy. My dad is a doctor, my mother is a nurse, and several other family members also practice medicine,” Schulte said.
“Public health policy appeals to me because I believe it holds great potential for having a positive impact on the health of entire populations.”
In addition to studying abroad in Morocco and France, Schulte has traveled with Timmy Global Health, a national nonprofit, to Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.
“Each trip usually includes around 25 college students and a team of medical professionals including doctors, nurses, dentists and pharmacists,” she said.
“One of the most important things we accomplished was the support we provided to the medical team working in the country throughout the year. Our fundraising and donations ensured that the work continues once we leave.”
Schulte currently lives in Boston, Mass. and enjoys surfing, yoga and reading when she's not on the road.