Tanzania, here she comes

February 16, 1997


Staff Writer

For someone who has never been out of the United States before, Tanzania is a pretty big first step.

But then Shannon Cianelli has never shied away from a challenge, and the 24-year-old Hagerstown woman doesn't plan to start now.

She heads out March 5 for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where she will take part in a three-month project called "Roots and Shoots.''

Founded six years ago by renowned anthropologist Jane Goodall, Roots and Shoots is an environmental education and humanitarian program for Tanzanian youth on the east coast of Africa.


Cianelli became interested in the program while she was working with chimpanzees and sign language at Central Washington University. She earned a master's degree there.

Last year, Goodall lectured at the Washington State institution, partly because Central Washington University is known to have the most sophisticated chimp program in the U.S., Cianelli said.

"She talked about chimps but she also talked about the Roots and Shoots program,'' Cianelli said.

Roots and Shoots promotes environmental and community service projects. The projects focus on hands-on learning, global networking and constructive action.

Young people in schools and community groups in 28 states and 30 other countries are members, Cianelli said.

Cianelli will be working as a volunteer with street children. She will learn to speak Swahili as she goes.

Cianelli believes she is well suited for the community-service aspect of Roots and Shoots program.

"I don't want to work with chimps anymore but I hope that what I've learned will be valuable,'' Cianelli said.

The cost to Cianelli is about $3,000, nearly half of which is airfare. She will be living at the Goodall compound while in Tanzania.

When she returns from Africa, Cianelli will continue her education. She hopes to go to Penn State to pursue her doctorate.

"Ultimately I want to teach college and be a consultant for communities and schools on the principles I learn in Tanzania,'' Cianelli said.

Cianelli is the daughter of Susan and Jerry Cianelli and a graduate of Smithsburg High School. From there, she attended Salisbury State University where she earned her bachelor's degree.

Then she began her master's program at Central Washington University, completing the psychology curriculum.

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