Theresa Kedinger, 29, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Costa Rica on February 20 to begin training as a community economic development volunteer. Kedinger will work at the community level to build one-on-one relationships with women, youth, and potential entrepreneurs. She will advise business, marketing, financial management, and product design plans, in addition to teaching literacy programs and facilitating business workshops.
“My mother got my sisters and I involved in volunteering at a very young age, and I have always enjoyed the experiences that each has offered,” Kedinger said. “Each encounter, whether it be with an organization itself, the people who work there, or the population that they are serving, has had an impact on who I am today. If I can make an impact, in even the smallest form, I am doing something good for the world, and that is important to me.”
Kedinger is the daughter of Jean Kedinger of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and a 2006 graduate of Laconia High School. She attended Ripon College of Ripon, Wisconsin, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and global studies with a minor in French in May 2010. She went on to earn a master’s degree in public service nonprofit management from Marquette University. During her undergraduate career, Kedinger volunteered in Mexico and Panama, which inspired her to consider Peace Corps service.
“I become involved at Ripon College immediately as I stepped foot on campus. I was selected to serve in the Bonner Scholar Program and received an AmeriCorps stipend for my service,” she said. “Ripon College also provided me with a great education and several opportunities to study abroad. I am so grateful for the complete liberal arts experience that I received while going to school there.”
During the first three months of her service, Kedinger will live with a host family in Costa Rica to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the necessary skills to assist her community, Kedinger will be sworn into service and be assigned to a community in Costa Rica, where she will live and work for two years with the local people.
Kedinger will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Costa Rica and help Kedinger to develop leadership, technical and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge when she returns home. Peace Corps volunteers return from service as global citizens who are well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.
Kedinger joins the 199 Wisconsin residents currently serving in the Peace Corps. More than 6,160 Wisconsin residents have served as Volunteers since the agency was created in 1961.
About Peace Corps/Costa Rica: There are more than 105 Volunteers in Costa Rica working with their communities on projects in community and youth development and education. During their service in Costa Rica, Volunteers learn to speak Spanish. More than 3,685 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Costa Rica since the program was established in 1963.