UMN grad student prospers as the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter

Frieda M. von Qualen followed her heart when she joined the Peace Corps to work as a water, sanitation, and hygiene volunteer in Peru from 2008-11. This year, she continues her second year as a graduate student and as the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities.
Frieda M. von Qualen followed her heart when she joined the Peace Corps to work as a water, sanitation and hygiene volunteer in Peru from 2008-11. This year she continues her role as the          on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

Frieda M. von Qualen was following her natural instincts when she joined the Peace Corps seven years ago. Yet, four years after the completion of her Peace Corps service in Peru, von Qualen continues to give back, sharing her wisdom with students as the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

“It has been such a delight recruiting UMN students for the Peace Corps!” said von Qualen who worked as the on-campus recruiter last year. “I am always impressed with the diversity of experiences of students who come to speak with me. The university feels like a microcosm of exactly what Peace Corps aims to do – send volunteers abroad who represent the diversity we enjoy regularly at this campus and in the U.S.” Continue reading “UMN grad student prospers as the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter”

St. Olaf grad completes Peace Corps service in Senegal

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After two years of making a difference on sustainable health projects in Senegal, Kathleen Curtis, of Morris, Minn., has completed her Peace Corps service and returned to the U.S.

Curtis, 25, returned in April after serving as a preventative health volunteer in the West African nation since 2013, focusing on combating child malnutrition through education and screenings. With two other volunteers, she toured four villages on a campaign to promote handwashing and prevent the spread of Ebola. Additionally, she taught English at an elementary school, wrote a grant to build a new classroom for the school, helped organize a marathon to raise money for the scholarships and worked on a leadership camp for girls and their fathers. Continue reading “St. Olaf grad completes Peace Corps service in Senegal”

Peace Corps recruiter leads University of Minnesota students to life of making a difference

IMG_5686Frieda M. von Qualen wasn’t breaking the mold when she joined the Peace Corps. She was simply following her natural path.

Having lived in northern Ghana for seven years as a child, von Qualen knew Peace Corps was a possibility because her father, Ralph von Qualen, was a volunteer in Ghana from 1977-79. She also studied abroad in Namibia during college, and several of her friends were interested in becoming volunteers.

“Growing up in Ghana made me aware of living abroad and encouraged me to work internationally for at least a couple of years,” said von Qualen, who served as a water, sanitation, and hygiene volunteer in Peru from 2008-11. “The mission of Peace Corps aligned with what I hoped to do while working abroad as a recent college graduate.” Continue reading “Peace Corps recruiter leads University of Minnesota students to life of making a difference”

St. Olaf College earns spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools rankings

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Peace Corps Volunteer Eric Rahman in Madagascar.

CHICAGO – St. Olaf College has once again earned a spot on Peace Corps’ annual list of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities. With 15 alumni currently serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers, St. Olaf ranks No. 6 among small schools nationwide

St. Olaf has appeared on Peace Corps’ Top Schools list every year but one since the rankings started in 2001. For the past seven years, it has placed in the top 10 small schools. Continue reading “St. Olaf College earns spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools rankings”

St. Olaf College moves up on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools rankings

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St. Olaf alum Laura Olson does yoga with high school students in her community in Cambodia, where she is serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

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CHICAGO – St. Olaf College moved up from third to take the No. 2 spot this year on Peace Corps’ annual list of the top volunteer-producing small colleges and universities across the country. With 22 alumni currently serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers, the school is second only to Gonzaga University, which has 24 volunteers in the field. St. Olaf has been a consistent player on the list since the ranking system began in 2001 and remains a solid source of individuals committed to making a difference at home and abroad. Since the agency was created in 1961, 496 St. Olaf graduates have served as Peace Corps volunteers.

“Every year, graduates of colleges and universities across the United States are making a difference in communities overseas through Peace Corps service,” said Acting Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet (Peace Corps Volunteer, Western Samoa, 1981-83). “As a result of the top-notch education they receive, these graduates are well prepared for the challenge of international service. They become leaders in their host communities and carry the spirit of service and leadership back with them when they return home.”

St. Olaf alum Laura Olson, a community health Peace Corps volunteer who works at a clinic in Cambodia, weighs babies and advises new mothers on proper nutrition, in addition to teaching health lessons and coordinating an English club at local schools. At her health clinic, children in the waiting room keep busy with coloring sheets featuring pictures drawn by Olson that teach about nutrition and hygiene. Continue reading “St. Olaf College moves up on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools rankings”