University of Wisconsin-Madison reclaims No. 1 spot on the Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools rankings

27_lauralindePeace Corps volunteer and UW-Madison graduate Laura Linde hopes to work for a nongovernmental organization and promote improved environmental practices internationally after she completes her Peace Corps service this year.

The Peace Corps announced that the University of Wisconsin-Madison ranked No. 1 among large schools on the agency’s 2017 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list. There are 87 Badgers currently volunteering worldwide.

This is the third year that the UW-Madison has ranked among the top five large universities and colleges. In 2016, UW-Madison ranked No. 2. Continue reading “University of Wisconsin-Madison reclaims No. 1 spot on the Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools rankings”

The journey home: Indiana retiree returns to Peace Corps 37 years later

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Lynne Newlon launched her career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Swaziland when she was 21. After retiring thirty-seven years later, Newlon is returning to the Peace Corps and will serve in a South African community less than two hours from where she served in 1979.

At her retirement party, Lynne Newlon thought she was saying goodbye to her 30-year career in public service. For her, retirement meant more time at home with family and friends and finally tackling the stubborn home projects she had put off for years.

But plans change. Less than a year after retiring, the Indiana native will depart for South Africa on May 7 to serve in the Peace Corps – for the second time– and she couldn’t be more excited. Continue reading “The journey home: Indiana retiree returns to Peace Corps 37 years later”

Minnesota couple departs for Peace Corps Ethiopia

Molly and Aaron Heit will depart to serve in Ethiopia on January 9th.
Molly and Aaron Heit will depart to serve in Ethiopia on January 9th.

Aaron Heit, 28, of Blaine, Minn., and his wife Molly Heit, 28, of Andover, Minn., have been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Ethiopia on Jan. 9. The couple will live and work at the community level to train local farmers on improved farming practices for sustainable living. The couple, both serving as environmental education volunteers, will also work with community members on small-scale gardening projects, reforestation trainings and watershed protection projects.

“Our motivations for serving with the Peace Corps have evolved and grown,” Aaron Heit said. “We don’t know how to provide one simple answer as to what calls us to serve, but we want to utilize our science teaching skills in diverse settings and to give back to our country by extending the hand of friendship. Together we will be collecting the moments one by one.” Continue reading “Minnesota couple departs for Peace Corps Ethiopia”

Peace Corps Holidays: Mexico

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Because Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment, it allows volunteers to celebrate the holiday season in their host countries and participate in new traditions and customs, while also sharing their own. From now until January, we will highlight stories from Peace Corps volunteers who share their experiences spending the holidays overseas.

This holiday season marks the second year of Peace Corps service in Mexico for volunteer Cassie Hoffman. But this season will be quite different from last year’s. This December, Hoffman will travel home to Cincinnati to spend a week with her friends and family. While in the U.S., Hoffman, a natural resource management volunteer, will take the opportunity to talk about her service and share traditions and culture of Mexico.

“This Christmas I am traveling to Cincinnati to spend a week of holiday break with my parents and sisters. I will give a recruiting talk with the support of the Peace Corps Midwest Recruiting Office and will hopefully bust open a piñata on Christmas day!”

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Hoffman showed her family around her site in Mexico last year for the holidays, but will be heading home this year to see her family again.

Continue reading “Peace Corps Holidays: Mexico”

U-M recruiter shares his Peace Corps experience with students

Benjamin Morse served in the Peace Corps as an environmental volunteer in Ethiopia from 2011-13. This year he maintains his role as the Peace Corps recruiter at the University of Michigan.
Benjamin Morse served in the Peace Corps as an environmental volunteer in Ethiopia from 2011-13. He now works as the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at the University of Michigan.

Benjamin Morse’s future changed the day he met with a Peace Corps recruiter on the campus of Colorado State University. He was shown a different kind of opportunity, and he never looked back.

Years later, after completing his own Peace Corps service in Ethiopia, Morse opens the same door for students at the University of Michigan (U-M) as an on-campus Peace Corps representative. Continue reading “U-M recruiter shares his Peace Corps experience with students”

Pleasant Lake, Ind., native completes Peace Corps service in Panama

Jessica Moore served as an environmental extension agent in Panama and completed her service in August of 2015.
Jessica Moore served as an environmental health extension agent in Panama where she educated her community about best health and environmental practices. She completed her service in August of 2015.

After two years of working as an environmental health extension agent in Panama, Jessica Moore, 31, has completed her Peace Corps service and returned to the U.S., to Pleasant Lake, Ind.

While in Panama, Moore’s objectives were to support her community in using and accessing resources to live a more sustainable life. By the end of her service, Moore helped install 22 solar panels that shed light to an isolated village. She also educated her community on sanitation, project management, business development, gender equality and youth development and also exposed community members to new ideas, such as adobe stoves, organic farming practices and recycling. Continue reading “Pleasant Lake, Ind., native completes Peace Corps service in Panama”

Limitless: How serving in the Peace Corps changed Michigan State recruiter

Erika Kraus (center) served in the Peace Corps as an environmental action volunteer from 2005-08. Now she works as the on-campus recruiter at Michigan State University.
Erika Kraus (center) served in the Peace Corps as an environmental action volunteer from 2005-08. Now she works as the on-campus recruiter at Michigan State University.

Returned Peace Corps volunteer, Erika Kraus carries her Peace Corps experience with her in all avenues of life. Now as the new on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at Michigan State University, Kraus uses her knowledge of the application process and her experience abroad to motivate and inspire students hoping to follow in her footsteps.

“By joining the Peace Corps, I entered another community with very different worldviews than my own,” said Kraus who served in Benin as an environmental action volunteer from 2005-08. “Through this experience, I have found that we all have much more in common than what we might think.” Continue reading “Limitless: How serving in the Peace Corps changed Michigan State recruiter”