Chicago Ranks Among Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Metro Areas in 2016

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Today, Peace Corps announced that the Chicagoland area – which includes Chicago, Joliet and Naperville – ranks No. 4 among metropolitan areas with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers. The state of Illinois also ranks No. 6 among the top volunteer-producing states. There are 245 volunteers from the Chicagoland area, and 301 Illinois residents currently serving worldwide. Since the agency’s founding in 1961, 8,788 residents from the Land of Lincoln have served in the Peace Corps.

“During my time leading the Peace Corps, I have seen the tremendous impact that volunteers have when they share their unique hometown perspectives with the communities they serve,” said Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “Volunteers represent our nation’s rich diversity by coming from all corners of the U.S. They are able to share our nation’s rich cultural heritage with communities around the world, leaving a legacy of peace and friendship that is timeless.”

This is the eighth consecutive year that Chicago has ranked among the five top volunteer-producing metropolitan areas and the state of Illinois ranked in the top ten. Volunteers from Illinois are among the more than 225,000 Americans who have served around the world as agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development Volunteers since 1961.  Continue reading “Chicago Ranks Among Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Metro Areas in 2016”

University of Chicago earns spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools list

Abigail Pershing (center) graduated from the University of Chicago in 2014. She is currently serving as an education volunteer in XX.
Abigail Pershing (center) graduated from the University of Chicago in 2014. She is currently serving as a health volunteer in Senegal.

CHICAGO – For the third year in a row, the University of Chicago has placed on Peace Corps’ annual list of the top volunteer-producing midsized colleges and universities across the country. The school ranks No. 25 with 13 alumni currently serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers.

Since the agency was created in 1961, 762 UChicago graduates have made a difference as Peace Corps volunteers.

“The Peace Corps is a unique opportunity for college graduates to put their education into practice and become agents of change in communities around the world,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Today’s graduates understand the importance of intercultural understanding and are raising their hands in record numbers to take on the challenge of international service.” Continue reading “University of Chicago earns spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools list”

David Goodloe served as an environment volunteer in Benin from 2004-05.

Facing challenges in Africa, volunteer embraced opportunity to be more conscious of his identity

David Goodloe served as an environment volunteer in Benin from 2004-05.
David Goodloe served as an environment volunteer in Benin from 2004-05.

As an African-American Peace Corps volunteer, David Goodloe had a lot of superficial notions about what going to Africa for the first time would mean. He imagined a vivid Hollywood-like scene: walking off the plane and being greeted with “Welcome home,” or “It’s so good to have you back.”

But upon arriving in Benin, Africa for his Peace Corps service, he quickly realized that the romanticized vision was not reality. Perhaps the hardest lesson Goodloe had to learn was that he didn’t fit in just because he shared the same skin tone as others in his village.   Continue reading “Facing challenges in Africa, volunteer embraced opportunity to be more conscious of his identity”

Peace Corps runs in the family for daughter, mother, grandmother

Janet Pershing, Jan Larsen and Abby Pershing
Janet Pershing, Jan Larsen and Abby Pershing

As a kid, Abby Pershing thought she had the coolest mom. She grew up listening to her mother, Janet (Larsen) Pershing, speak Bambara, which sounded like secret-agent talk to Abby but is actually a language of Mali, where Janet served as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1983-85.

Through her mother’s words and photos, Peace Corps seemed like a grand adventure, but Abby was able to see life as a volunteer up close when she visited her grandmother in Burkina Faso. Inspired by her daughter Janet, Jan Larsen also made a difference as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa, serving from 2010-12.

In February, Abby, of Rockville, Md., will follow in both of their footsteps and begin her own Peace Corps service in Senegal.

“I received my invitation to serve while on a trip with my grandmother, so she was the first to find out,” said Abby, who graduated with honors from the University of Chicago in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and public policy. “It was really special to share that with her. She is so excited that I am joining the Peace Corps, particularly given that Burkina Faso and Senegal are both in West Africa.” Continue reading “Peace Corps runs in the family for daughter, mother, grandmother”

University of Chicago earns spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools rankings

UChicago alum and Peace Corps volunteer Jennifer Talbott of Jamestown, Ohio, began serving as a community health volunteer in Paraguay in January 2014.
UChicago alum and Peace Corps volunteer Jennifer Talbott of Jamestown, Ohio, began serving as a community health volunteer in Paraguay in January 2014.

CHICAGO – For the second consecutive year, the University of Chicago has placed on Peace Corps’ annual list of the top 25 volunteer-producing midsized colleges and universities across the country. The school ranks No. 13 with 19 alumni currently serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers.

Since the agency was created in 1961, 752 UChicago graduates have made a difference as Peace Corps volunteers. Continue reading “University of Chicago earns spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools rankings”

Doctor’s passion for public health developed while serving in Peace Corps

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Andrew Dykens has committed his life to improving health care in communities across the world. He is an assistant professor of family medicine and the director of the Global Community Health Program at the University of Illinois-Chicago Center for Global Health. But his career began as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mauritania.

“The amount that I learned during my Peace Corps experience has had more impact than any of my other experiences,” said Dykens, who served as a health and water sanitation volunteer from 1997-99.

His freshman calculus professor at Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., talked about her experiences as a volunteer, and the idea of joining the Peace Corps stayed with Dykens as a pre-medical student until he graduated in 1997. He thought it would be a good opportunity to speak a new language and see other parts of the world. Continue reading “Doctor’s passion for public health developed while serving in Peace Corps”

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”