Marcia J. Harr Bailey, Ph.D.
As a faculty member teaching and business leadership in Bangkok, Thailand, Marcia’s holidays were spent traveling Southeast Asia. She felt a special connection to the people and culture of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR/Laos). Her native Wisconsin has a large Laotian refugee population, making what she learned in Laos relevant to her Wisconsin community.
Her doctoral study at Fordham University explored experiential education along with Laotian history and culture as she conceived the idea to use higher education service-learning as a grassroots development effort in rural Laos. After spending a year in Laos with her husband Todd through a Fulbright U.S. Student grant, her passion to realize social change in rural Laotian communities intensified and she developed Poom Loom, a nonprofit project of the We Are One Foundation.
Poom Loom funds service learning projects. College student volunteers learn about sustainable development, entrepreneurship, leadership, and Laotian culture while performing rural development work and working with villagers on income projects that preserve Laotian culture.
In Marcia’s new role as an Assistant Professor of Business and Entrepreneurship and Coordinator of the Entrepreneurship Minor at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, she plans to connect students from Wisconsin universities with students in Laos through study abroad programs and internships. Marcia believes, “Wisconsin students will benefit from projects that will engage them with students, organizations, and community members in Laos, exposing them to traditional lifestyles, diverse cultures, and complex issues in the developing world. “
“Thank you for your interest in helping families in Laos. This project started as part of my doctoral study, but I am excited to see it expand and make an impact on the lives of rural villagers and students alike.”
-Marcia J. Harr Bailey