Notre Dame, UT alums root for their teams from Peace Corps Peru

Matt Keenan is a 2013 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a current Peace Corps volunteer in Peru. He is pictured, left, with a man in his local community that he spotted wearing a Notre Dame jacket.

Matt Keenan is a 2013 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a current Peace Corps volunteer in Peru. He is pictured, left, with a man in his local community that he spotted wearing a Notre Dame jacket.

In honor of this weekend’s season opener between the University of Notre Dame and the University of Texas – two schools that are Peace Corps powerhouses as well as football powerhouses – we’re highlighting two alumni fans who are far from home but keeping school pride in their hearts. Matt Keenan, Notre Dame ’13, and Brittany McGee, UT ’11, are currently making a difference as Peace Corps volunteers in Peru. But that doesn’t mean they’re any less excited about the upcoming game – the first time UT and Notre Dame have played since 1996.

“I am a huge college football fan!” Keenan said. “Growing up in South Bend there was a stretch of 13 years where I never missed a home Notre Dame game. Missing games is one of the toughest things about the Peace Corps for me.” Continue reading

Peace Corps visits Western Illinois to find the next generation of international volunteers

Karen Mauldin-Curtis, right, is the program manager of the Peace Corps Fellows Program at Western Illinois. Returned volunteers Lexie Woodward (Nicaragua), Danny Ramirez (Benin), and Ella Lehmann (Ethiopia) are students in the WIU Fellows Program.

Karen Mauldin-Curtis, right, is the program manager of the Peace Corps Fellows Program at Western Illinois. Returned volunteers Lexie Woodward (Nicaragua), Danny Ramirez (Benin), and Ella Lehmann (Ethiopia) are students in the WIU Fellows Program.

Peace Corps recruiters will visit Western Illinois University Thursday and Friday, Sept.3-4, to speak with students and faculty about the personal and professional benefits of living and working in an international community. In addition, the Peace Car, an eco-friendly Smart Car decked out with the Peace Corps logo, will make its first visit to campus and will be photographed with WIU’s mascot, Colonel Rock III.

Some 358 WIU alums have served as Peace Corps volunteers since the agency’s inception in 1961. To build upon that legacy, Peace Corps recruiters Jessica Vig, Travis Bluemling, Jake Hamilton, and the Peace Car will be tailgating north of Hanson Field at WIU’s Ag Day on Thursday before the Fighting Leathernecks season-opening football game. Returned volunteers from the campus community and Macomb are urged to stop by, take a photo from the Peace Car, and meet with those considering service. Continue reading

Kennett, Mo., native begins Peace Corps service in Tonga

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Katie Briscoe, 23, of Kennett, Mo., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Tonga Aug. 31 to begin training as a primary education teacher trainer volunteer. Briscoe will live and work at the community level to help build the capacities of primary school staff to adopt participatory, student-centered practices that integrate English skills into other subjects and co-teach using these teaching methods. She will also work with parents and the community to strengthen support for literacy education and increase access to literacy development opportunities for older youth and adults.

“I have spent a lot of my time as a youth volunteering what little skills I did have through youth group mission trips led by my mother,” Briscoe. “That drive to offer up what skills I possess to help others, as well as a desire to explore more of the world, led me to apply to be a teacher through the Peace Corps.” Continue reading

Bloomington, Minn., native begins Peace Corps service in Fiji

Richardson.Denisha_Fiji

Denisha Richardson, 30, of Bloomington, Minn., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Fiji Aug. 31 to begin training as a youth development volunteer. Richardson will live and work at the community level to promote and develop healthy lifestyles and environmental awareness in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Youth and Sport. She will coordinate several skill-building activities, including co-teaching life skills classes, after school clubs and school gardens.

“I have always enjoyed helping others and serving in my community,” Richardson said. “There are two quotes that truly inspire and motivate me: ‘Think globally, act locally’ and ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ These two quotes remind me that we are all interconnected and no matter how small the contribution, it all has meaning and impact on the lives of others.” Continue reading

Iowa couple begins Peace Corps service in Fiji

Semprini_Fiji

Jason Semprini, 28, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and his wife Laura, 27, of Iowa City, Iowa, have been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Fiji Aug. 31 to begin training as a youth development volunteers. The Semprinis will live and work at the community level to promote and develop healthy lifestyles and environmental awareness in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Youth and Sport. They will coordinate several skill-building activities, including co-teaching life skills classes, after school clubs and school gardens.

“We had both dreamed of serving with the Peace Corps long before we met,” Jason Semprini said. “Part of what brought us together was our mutual desire to see the world and serve others. Along with love and support, we see commitment as our key to success while serving with the Peace Corps: committing to each other, committing to the mission, committing to the community within Fiji, and committing to peace.”  Continue reading

Springfield, Mo., couple begins Peace Corps service in Fiji

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Eric Hillgren, 30, his wife Katie Hillgren, 29, of Springfield, Mo., have been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Fiji Aug. 31 to begin training as a youth development volunteers. The Hillgrens will live and work at the community level to promote and develop healthy lifestyles and environmental awareness in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Youth and Sport. They will coordinate several skill-building activities, including co-teaching life skills classes, after school clubs and school gardens.

“My husband and I have been talking about the Peace Corps since college,” Katie Hillgren said. “We have always wanted the opportunity to live and work overseas and experience life in new ways.” Continue reading

Jacksonville, Ill., native begins Peace Corps service in Fiji

Bland.Brianna_FijiBland, 23, of Jacksonville, Ill., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Fiji Aug. 31 to begin training as a youth development volunteer. Bland will live and work at the community level to promote and develop healthy lifestyles and environmental awareness in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Youth and Sport. She will coordinate several skill-building activities, including co-teaching life skills classes, after school clubs and school gardens.

“I joined the Peace Corps to become culturally competent and pass on my knowledge and passion for health education to those who are less fortunate,” Bland said. Continue reading