Peace Corps Campus Recruiter Inspires Wash U Students

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With a bachelor’s degree in international development from the University of California Los Angeles, Allie Simpson is ready to inspire the next generation of Peace Corps Volunteers as the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter. After graduating from UCLA in 2012, Simpson departed for the Peace Corps in 2013 and served as a HIV outreach project Volunteer in South Africa until 2015.

Now, Simpson embarks on her first year of graduate school at Wash U, where she is studying social work with a concentration in children, youth and families, specializing in system dynamics.

“After studying international development for four years in college, I was tired of learning about the failures in development on a large-scale, so I wanted to get involved on a smaller scale, working in partnership with a community to understand their needs and help make a change,” Simpson said. “I believed the Peace Corps’ method was the most sustainable and effective way to make a difference. I was also obsessed with adventure and learning new cultures and couldn’t resist applying.” Continue reading “Peace Corps Campus Recruiter Inspires Wash U Students”

Peace Corps and the University of Missouri Announce New Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program

The Peace Corps and the University of Missouri announced the launch of a new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program that will provide graduate school scholarships to returned Peace Corps Volunteers. All program Fellows will complete internships in under-served American communities while they complete their studies, allowing them to bring home and expand upon the skills they learned as volunteers.

“We are delighted to partner with the University of Missouri to support our returned Volunteers as they pursue higher education and continue their commitment to service,” said Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “Communities are moved forward by the selflessness of volunteers, and returned Peace Corps volunteers have unique skills and experiences to offer their local communities.”

The Coverdell Fellows program at Mizzou will be housed in the Department of Geography and offered to students pursuing a master of art’s degree in geography. Fellows selected for the program will receive a full tuition waiver and work part-time as a graduate assistant.

“The Department of Geography at Mizzou offers a disciplinary perspective that complements the Peace Corps mission and provides the infrastructure, which will position returned Peace Corps Fellows for success through participation in our established programs of research, teaching and service in the geographical sciences,” said Soren Larsen, associate professor of geography. “We are excited to be moving forward in partnership with the Peace Corps through our participation in the Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship program.” Continue reading “Peace Corps and the University of Missouri Announce New Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program”

Peace Corps Volunteer educates Indonesia community about race and diversity

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Vanika Spencer was the first African-American that many of her Indonesian community members had ever encountered. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, her skin tone gave her heightened attention; it was brought up in everyday life, while on the bus and when meeting new people for the first time.

But Spencer overcame the obstacles of serving as a minority in Indonesia by challenging herself and her community in conversations about race and the racial hierarchy enforced in society.

“Peace Corps Indonesia taught me how to be more patient when it comes to discussions about race,” Spencer said. “In America, most people know of African-American history and no one really questions who you are and how you got there. But for most people in Indonesia, I was the first African-American (or even dark-skinned person) they had met.” Continue reading “Peace Corps Volunteer educates Indonesia community about race and diversity”

Peace Corps and Washington University in St. Louis Announce New Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program

The Peace Corps and Washington University in St. Louis today announced the launch of a new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program that will provide graduate school scholarships to returned Peace Corps volunteers working towards their master’s degree in social work and public health. All Fellows will complete internships, known as a practicum, in underserved American communities while they complete their studies, allowing them to bring home and expand upon the skills they learned as volunteers.

“We are delighted to partner with the Brown School at Washington University to support our returned volunteers as they pursue higher education and continue their commitment to service,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Communities are moved forward by the selflessness of volunteers, and returned Peace Corps volunteers have unique skills and experiences to offer their local communities.” Continue reading “Peace Corps and Washington University in St. Louis Announce New Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program”

Columbia ranks No. 4 on Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Metro Areas Per Capita in 2015

Alan Strathman lived in Colubmia, Mo., for 25 years before beginning his Peace Corps service in the East Caribbean.
Alan Strathman lived in Colubmia, Mo., for 25 years before beginning his Peace Corps service in the East Caribbean.

CHICAGO –  Columbia, Mo., ranks No. 4 on Peace Corps’ list of the top volunteer-producing metro areas per capita in 2015, the agency announced today. With 12 residents currently serving worldwide, Columbia generated 6.95 Peace Corps volunteers for every 100,000 residents in 2015. By comparison, the state of Missouri produced 2.3 Peace Corps volunteers per capita.

Volunteers hailing from Columbia are among the more than 220,000 Americans who have served around the world as agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development volunteers since the agency was founded by President John F. Kennedy. Since 1961, 3,344 Missouri residents have served as Peace Corps volunteers, with 141 currently in the field.   Continue reading “Columbia ranks No. 4 on Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Metro Areas Per Capita in 2015”

New Wash U Peace Corps recruiter arrives to campus

Marissa Cohen (center) served in Ecuador from 2013-15 as a youth and family development volunteer. She now works as the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at Washington University - St. Louis.
Marissa Cohen (center) works as the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at Washington University – St. Louis. She served in Ecuador from 2013-15 as a youth and family development volunteer.

Marissa Cohen knows the doubts and uncertainties that race through students’ minds when considering and applying for Peace Corps. As a returned volunteer from Ecuador, Cohen understands the questions and apprehensions Washington University – St. Louis students may have about Peace Corps, and she wants to be their voice of reassurance.

“I want to encourage others to join the Peace Corps and share my personal experience to give a better idea of what the Peace Corps is like,” said the St. Louis native. “As an applicant, I recall wanting to have the opportunity to talk with someone about their experience to understand what I was getting myself into.” Continue reading “New Wash U Peace Corps recruiter arrives to campus”

The simple life: Mizzou Peace Corps recruiter’s service inspires students

Daniel Zozaya (far right), is the new on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at the University of Missouri - Columbia. He served as a secondary English teacher facilitator in Ecuador from 2012-14.
Daniel Zozaya (far right), is the new on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at the University of Missouri – Columbia. He served as a secondary English teacher facilitator in Ecuador from 2012-14.

It’s the simple things that Daniel Brown Zozaya misses the most about his Peace Corps service in Ecuador.

It’s the afternoon guitar sessions after a day’s work. Or the memory of breaking the icy exterior of the Punguayco River, a river so cold only the taunting from his new-found friends could get him to plunge into the frigid water. Continue reading “The simple life: Mizzou Peace Corps recruiter’s service inspires students”