Chicago native begins Peace Corps service in Thailand

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Diana Chavez, 25, of Chicago has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Thailand on Jan. 6 to begin training as a teacher collaborator and community facilitator volunteer. Chavez will work at the community level to train, co-teach and collaborate with the local Thai teachers to improve their teaching practices. She will identify local learning resources and help plan student camps, conferences and workshops. Continue reading “Chicago native begins Peace Corps service in Thailand”

Minnesota native reflects on two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia

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For two years, Aara Johnson, of Blaine, Minn., has spent her days training secondary English teachers, leading a girls’ group, making Colombian friends and learning more about herself and the world around her. In December, Johnson will complete her service and then will spend the holidays in the U.S. before returning to Colombia for a six-month internship at a global education development organization.  After receiving her  bachelor’s degree in political science from DePaul University and a master’s of public policy from the University of Minnesota, Johnson came to Colombia as a Peace Corps volunteer in 2013 because she wanted to develop her international experience. Below, she reflects on how the experience enhanced her career ambitions and changed her perspective on life.

Why did you apply to the Peace Corps? I joined the Peace Corps because I wanted to develop my international experience, and I liked that it seemed more open-ended than some volunteer organizations I knew about. I also liked that it was with the U.S. Government because I would eventually like to work for a federal agency.

What are your primary job responsibilities as a volunteer? I am a secondary English teacher trainer, where I focus on improving the teaching practices of high school English teachers at an urban public school. I spend most of my time co-planning and co-teaching with one counterpart who teaches four 9th grade classes. I also help with other English initiatives such as English Day and cultural events. Continue reading “Minnesota native reflects on two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia”

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

Volunteers use film to tell the Peace Corps experience in Ghana

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As a natural resource management volunteer in Ghana from 2011-13, Austin C. Pruett helped a local school raise money through sustainable agricultural projects such as beekeeping, and he coordinated a collective of farmers to pool resources so members could produce and sell more cashews. Yet, it was in his secondary projects that the Chicago native was able to find his true calling. As a philosophy and digital cinema graduate from DePaul University, Pruett helped launch PCV Media, a committee of Peace Corps Ghana volunteers who created training videos and cultural documentaries to educate Ghanaians, volunteers and other Americans. Below, he describes his projects and how this work propelled his career. Do these videos inspire you to become a volunteer? Peace Corps is now accepting applications for health and community service assignments in Ghana: http://1.usa.gov/1KASsK8

How did video play a part of your service? What were you intentions/messages about Ghana as a whole and what were you were trying to portray with your videos?

I came to Ghana with the intention of making films, although when I was accepted into Peace Corps, I had very little experience making films on a professional level. I knew that coming to Africa would present a lot of opportunity for filmmaking and storytelling.

Continue reading “Volunteers use film to tell the Peace Corps experience in Ghana”

Illinois native plans to use Peace Corps experience to launch into international aid career

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Leslie Munson, 24, of Moline, Ill., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Jamaica March 9 to begin training as an English education volunteer. Munson will make a difference working teaching English to children ages 12 and younger and will work to expand literacy in both school children and community members to increase personal and professional opportunities.

“Joining the Peace Corps has been a goal of mine for many years,” Munson said. “I hope to use the experience as furthered education in the field of international aid and community development. It is my goal to make a career for myself in this area of work.” Continue reading “Illinois native plans to use Peace Corps experience to launch into international aid career”

Meet your Peace Corps Midwest Regional Recruiter: Rok Teasley

Name: Rok Teasley
Country of Service: Moldova, 2005-08
Assignment: Organizational Development/Social Work
Recruitment Territory: Chicago Continue reading “Meet your Peace Corps Midwest Regional Recruiter: Rok Teasley”

In Peace Corps and grad school, DePaul student explores passion for international development

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Carmen Fleming served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama from 2010-12.

As graduation day approached at Middlebury College in Vermont, Carmen Fleming realized she wasn’t particularly interested in the economics degree she had earned. She was more drawn to the field of international development.

“After college, the one thing I knew I didn’t want to do was work in an office,” said Fleming, who has lived throughout the country but considers Madison, Wis., her hometown. “I wanted to be working with people, and I wanted to travel. I had always known about the Peace Corps, and the more I learned about it the more it seemed like the right experience for me post-college.”

Peace Corps ended up being a life-changing decision for Fleming – her two years of grassroots development work made a difference in the community where she served and in Fleming’s own life, as well. Now, she’s earning a master’s degree through DePaul University’s Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program. Fleming and all returned Peace Corps volunteers enjoy lifetime eligibility for the program, which offers financial assistance and internships at more than 80 schools nationwide.

Continue reading “In Peace Corps and grad school, DePaul student explores passion for international development”