From Peace Corps Volunteer To Professor

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When Dr. Kristin Hedges left for Kenya to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer, she thought she was going to save the world. Looking back sixteen years later, she had it backwards.

Through finding herself, living in a new community and making lifelong friendships, it was Peace Corps that saved her. Continue reading “From Peace Corps Volunteer To Professor”

Meet Your Peace Corps Recruiter: Bryce Rinkenberger

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Name: Bryce Rinkenberger
Country of Service: Paraguay, 2011-2013
Assignment: Agriculture
Recruitment Territory: West Michigan Continue reading “Meet Your Peace Corps Recruiter: Bryce Rinkenberger”

Columbus, Ind., native departs for Peace Corps Ecuador

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The world is Tim Hofmeister’s classroom and for 27 months there are no boundaries that he will not cross. The Columbus, Ind., native will depart on Jan. 26 for Ecuador to begin training as a secondary education English teacher and will train the local English teachers on new instruction methodologies to implement in the classroom. He will also work with community groups to create need-based development projects for his community and facilitate youth life-skills classes and professional development workshops. A graduate of the Grand Valley State University of Allendale, Mich., he shares below how he was inspired to serve. Continue reading “Columbus, Ind., native departs for Peace Corps Ecuador”

Muskegon, Mich, Peace Corps Volunteer leads environmental camp in Nicaragua

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Peace Corps Volunteer Carly Steinhauer with the mural made out of recycled materials.

Peace Corps Volunteer Carly Steinhauer of Muskegon, Mich., led a three-day camp in her Nicaraguan community focused on recycling, English language skills and interactive games. The camp culminated in the participants creating a mural out of recycled materials, including bottle caps, seashells, CDs, broken glass and ceramics.

The idea for the camp came when Steinhauer noticed a large amount of litter in her community, as well as a number of young people with nothing to do. “I contemplated what to do with this situation of boredom and pollution and one thing came to mind: a youth camp including a bottle cap mural. The future of Nicaragua lies in the hands of the youth, so the idea of demonstrating garbage as art may intrigue them enough to carry out this idea and continue with similar projects,” said Steinhauer, a graduate of Grand Valley State University. Continue reading “Muskegon, Mich, Peace Corps Volunteer leads environmental camp in Nicaragua”

Grand Valley State University helped put alumna on path to Peace Corps

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Peace Corps Volunteer Katie Kirouac let her hair down and had fun with children in her village in Ghana.

Seven months after returning to America, Katie Kirouac is readjusting from – and reflecting on – her Peace Corps experience. Serving as a health education volunteer for two years in Ghana gave her a new extended family in the community members she lived alongside and made her reexamine previously held notions about how international aid benefits the needy.

“Service in Ghana allowed me to dig deep and discover things within myself that I didn’t know were possible,” Kirouac, 24, said. “I found my voice, I learned how to push myself beyond what is comfortable, and I became confident in my ability to take on challenges independently.”

Kirouac’s journey started at Grand Valley State University, where a professor who had served as a Peace Corps Volunteer decades ago encouraged her to do some research into the agency. She graduated in 2010, majoring in political science and minoring in Spanish. The Spanish program, in particular, encouraged students to expand their cultural understandings and explore the world.

“Grand Valley’s emphasis on providing a well-rounded liberal arts education was ultimately the springboard for my decision to serve,” she said. “I think that people who live, serve, work, and travel abroad generally have a particularly open mindset and a thirst for new experiences, which were qualities instilled in me through my education at Grand Valley. My mind was opened to so many opportunities and my life was influenced by the diverse group of people I interacted with on a daily basis.” Continue reading “Grand Valley State University helped put alumna on path to Peace Corps”