Memphis Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Tonga

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Name: Thomas Ercoli

City: Memphis, Tennessee

Major: Education

School:University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa

Thomas Ercoli, 21, of Memphis, Tennessee, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Tonga on August 29 to begin training as an English literacy volunteer. Ercoli will live and work in a community to improve English education techniques.

“I was attracted to the Peace Corps because I want to make a difference in the world,” Ercoli said. “I plan to use Peace Corps to launch a life of serving the world through education.” Continue reading “Memphis Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Tonga”

Why serving in the Peace Corps isn’t putting your career on hold

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Heather Mangan, center, served in Peace Corps Lesotho, from 2011-13.

I couldn’t do Peace Corps because I had student loans. I couldn’t do Peace Corps because it would break my mother’s heart to leave for two years. I couldn’t do Peace Corps because I was on a career path and volunteering would certainly disrupt my professional climb.

These are all reasons I justified not applying to the Peace Corps when I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2007. Instead, I took a reporting job at a small daily newspaper and began living the typical American life with bills, a time card, and not enough vacation time.

The whim to join the Peace Corps, which came to me one night while procrastinating on my French homework, didn’t perish after I entered the work force. Rather, it bloomed into a full life goal. All those reasons I had used to convince myself that Peace Corps wasn’t for me could no longer overcome this picture I had in my head of being at the end of my life and not having experienced the Peace Corps. That imagined regret motivated me to apply. Continue reading “Why serving in the Peace Corps isn’t putting your career on hold”

Peace Corps and the University of Missouri Announce New Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program

The Peace Corps and the University of Missouri announced the launch of a new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program that will provide graduate school scholarships to returned Peace Corps Volunteers. All program Fellows will complete internships in under-served American communities while they complete their studies, allowing them to bring home and expand upon the skills they learned as volunteers.

“We are delighted to partner with the University of Missouri to support our returned Volunteers as they pursue higher education and continue their commitment to service,” said Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “Communities are moved forward by the selflessness of volunteers, and returned Peace Corps volunteers have unique skills and experiences to offer their local communities.”

The Coverdell Fellows program at Mizzou will be housed in the Department of Geography and offered to students pursuing a master of art’s degree in geography. Fellows selected for the program will receive a full tuition waiver and work part-time as a graduate assistant.

“The Department of Geography at Mizzou offers a disciplinary perspective that complements the Peace Corps mission and provides the infrastructure, which will position returned Peace Corps Fellows for success through participation in our established programs of research, teaching and service in the geographical sciences,” said Soren Larsen, associate professor of geography. “We are excited to be moving forward in partnership with the Peace Corps through our participation in the Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship program.” Continue reading “Peace Corps and the University of Missouri Announce New Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program”

Peace Corps and Indiana University Announce New Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program

The Peace Corps and the Indiana University School of Public Health –  Bloomington have announced the launch of a new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program that will provide graduate school scholarships to returned Peace Corps Volunteers. All program Fellows will complete internships in under-served American communities while they complete their studies, allowing them to bring home and expand upon the skills they learned as volunteers.

“We are delighted to partner with IU School of Public Health- Bloomington to support our returned Volunteers as they pursue higher education and continue their commitment to service,” said Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “Communities are moved forward by the selflessness of Volunteers, and returned Peace Corps Volunteers have unique skills and experiences to offer their local communities.”

The Fellows Program at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington will be available to students pursing a master’s of public health (MPH) degree. Students in the program have the opportunity to study in the areas of biostatistics, environmental health, physical activity, or professional health education. Continue reading “Peace Corps and Indiana University Announce New Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program”

Henderson, Kentucky, Native Begins Peace Corps Service in Namibia

Kurtz_NamibiaName: Richard Kurtz

City: Henderson, Kentucky

School: University of Southern Indiana

Major: Computer Science

Richard Kurtz, 34, of Henderson, Kentucky, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Namibia on August 18 to begin training as a secondary education mathematics teacher. Kurtz will work at the community level to teach math at the primary, secondary and high schools. He will also assist the schools in providing extra-curricular activities for students and work on community secondary projects.

“The moment I received my invitation, I had to sit down for a few minutes,” Kurtz said. “I had been waiting for months to hear if I would be one of the few chosen to go and the moment had arrived.I was finally able to feel what I had been wondering about for what seemed like forever – the joy of success. It was like an explosion of relief, happiness and excitement blew up inside of me.” Continue reading “Henderson, Kentucky, Native Begins Peace Corps Service in Namibia”

Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Namibia

SchmidtName: Dana Schmidt

City: Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

School: University of Wisconsin – Green Bay

Major: Human biology

Dana Schmidt, 28, of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Namibia on August 18 to begin training as a science education Volunteer. Schmidt will work at the community level to teach in classrooms with limited resources at the primary, middle and high school level. Schmidt will also work to engage her students and community members in extracurricular activities.

“I was delighted when I got the invitation to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer,” Schmidt said. “I’m ecstatic to be given the opportunity to check off one of my life long goals. The motivation to join the Peace Corps started in high school when a Peace Corps recruiter had a booth with information. The opportunity to travel and meet new people, as well as learn about new cultures and languages, interested me to pursue the Peace Corps.” Continue reading “Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Namibia”

Kingwood, Texas, Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Peru

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Name: Alexandra Gary

City: Kingwood, Texas

School: University of Texas – Austin

Major: Nursing

Alexandra Gary, 22, of Kingwood, Texas, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and departed for Peru on August 18 to begin training as a community health Volunteer. She will work at the community level to raise awareness about basic hygiene practices and promote healthy lifestyles. She will also work with youth to educate them on sexual and reproductive health practices and work with a group of more than 30 mothers.

“It has been my dream to serve in the Peace Corps ever since my freshman year of high school, so I was ecstatic when I was invited to serve as a health Volunteer in Peru,” Gary said. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to live in South America for the next two years, especially since my Spanish is still pretty rudimentary. I have always been fascinated with Latin American culture and I love working with people, so the Peace Corps feels like a perfect fit at this point in my life.” Continue reading “Kingwood, Texas, Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Peru”