University of Wisconsin – Madison leads Volunteers to Peace Corps Agriculture

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Rita Argus (center) recently completed her service as an agriculture volunteer in Senegal.

Joining the Peace Corps was a natural next step for Rita Argus and Daniel Stevenson after they earned their degrees from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Whether it was through study abroad programs or in-the-field agriculture experiences, the students found their inspiration through different facets within the institution.

But their Wisconsin values were a constant.

“Classroom wise, professors often talked about ‘The Wisconsin Idea’ – the thought that what we are learning in the classroom should be applicable to real world situations,” Argus said. “I think this has conditioned me to better apply what I learned to help with problems and challenges I am encountering here.” Continue reading “University of Wisconsin – Madison leads Volunteers to Peace Corps Agriculture”

Knox College earns spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools list

Courtney Hall (right) and husband Alex Hall have been serving in Cameroon as education volunteers since XX. The couple graduated from Knox College in XX.
Courtney Hall (right) and husband Alex Hall have been serving in Cameroon as education volunteers since May 2014. The couple graduated from Knox College in June 2011.

CHICAGO – For the third year in a row, Knox College has placed on Peace Corps’ annual list of the top volunteer-producing small colleges and universities across the country. The school ranks No. 14 with nine alumni currently serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers.

Since the agency was created in 1961, 201 Knox 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 “Knox College earns spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools list”

Peace Corps Holidays: Cameroon

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Because Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment, it allows volunteers to celebrate the holiday season in their host countries and participate in new traditions and customs, while also sharing their own. From now until January, we will highlight stories from Peace Corps volunteers who share their experiences spending the holidays overseas.

The year 2015 marked a year full of many things, but for Peace Corps volunteer Colin Korst, 2015 was a year of working in the rural communities in Cameroon to educate youth and families about malaria prevention – and 2016 will be no different. Korst, a Wheaton, Ill., native, is serving as an agribusiness volunteer and will be meeting his sister and mother in South Africa this holiday, after being separated for nearly 15 months.

“Last year I spent the holidays in my village. They celebrate Christmas and New Year’s by having massive feasts and moving from house to house eating along the way,” said Korst. “I ate a lot… Especially chicken, that is the main dish. This year will be different since I won’t be in my village which is a bit sad, but I’m very excited to see my family.

Peace Corps volunteers like to celebrate Thanksgiving together. Last year we had a great potluck dinner with a banana cream pie that almost had me in tears, and we talked a lot about football.”

Colin Korst (right) has been serving as an agribusiness volunteer in Cameroon. This holiday season, he will meet his mother and sister in Africa.
Colin Korst (right) has been serving as an agribusiness volunteer in Cameroon. This holiday season, he will meet his mother and sister in Africa.

Continue reading “Peace Corps Holidays: Cameroon”

Peace Corps Holidays: Volunteers offer advice on spending the season abroad

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Because Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment, it allows volunteers to celebrate the holiday season in their host countries and participate in new traditions and customs, while also sharing their own. From now until January, we will highlight stories from Peace Corps volunteers who share their experiences spending the holidays overseas. From one Peace Corps volunteer to another, these volunteers share their advice to those embarking on their first festive season in service.

Indianapolis native, Jennifer Wininiger spends the holidays in Thailand this year where she is working as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Teaching Collaboration and Community Service program in her local village.
Indianapolis native, Jennifer Wininger (center) spends the holidays in Thailand this year where she is working as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Teaching Collaboration and Community Service program in her local village.

“Last year at this time, I was eagerly awaiting the beginning of the holiday season. Like many Americans, Thanksgiving for my family is the kickoff of this exciting time of year. It is usually a time filled with family, friends and great food. This year is a little different. Not only am I miles away from family and friends and the comfort foods I love, the tropical climate doesn’t feel like the typical Midwestern holiday season I am accustomed to. Since Thailand is predominately Buddhist, the holidays that are typically associated with this time of year are not celebrated in my rural village. But, all these differences allow me to use this time of year in a unique way. I think it is important to be thankful for what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t. This vastly different holiday season, I have the opportunity to explore a completely different country.”
– Jennifer Wininger, Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand Continue reading “Peace Corps Holidays: Volunteers offer advice on spending the season abroad”

Crown Point, Ind., resident begins Peace Corps service in Cameroon

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Daniel Maginot, 23, of Crown Point, Ind., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Cameroon May 26 to begin training as a secondary education science teacher volunteer. Maginot will live and work at the community level and make a difference teaching general science, biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as health education and environmental education.

“I wish to obtain a different perspective and gain an understanding of others who live a completely different culture and lifestyle,” Maginot said. Continue reading “Crown Point, Ind., resident begins Peace Corps service in Cameroon”

Rice, Minn., native begins Peace Corps service in Cameroon

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From left, sister Chelsea Schlangen, Candice Thielen, brother Chase Thielen, and sister Catherine Thielen

Candice Thielen, 23, of Rice, Minn., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Cameroon May 26 to begin training as an English education volunteer. Thielen will live and work at the community level teaching conversational and content-based English in middle and high schools, developing resources with local teachers, and assisting with community- and school-based projects.

“Peace Corps offers the opportunity to completely experience a way of living that’s completely different than my own, as well as the chance to help change people’s lives for the better, my own included,” Thielen said. Continue reading “Rice, Minn., native begins Peace Corps service in Cameroon”

From AmeriCorps to Peace Corps, Indianapolis native commits to service-oriented work

Guerin.Danielle_CameroonDanielle Guerin, of Indianapolis, was studying entrepreneurship at Bradley University, in Peoria, Ill., when she began to doubt a future in the for-profit world. When she brought up the Peace Corps to her college adviser, she was encouraged to try AmeriCorps to determine if service work was really for her.

It was, and after working as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Indianapolis, Guerin is ready to begin her Peace Corps service as an agriculture extension volunteer. She departed for Cameroon Sept. 9 and will live and work at the community level to make a difference assisting farmers and those who work with agricultural products from farming/production to market.

During her AmeriCorps service, Guerin, 24, knew she still wanted to do Peace Corps, but she was also interested in going to graduate school. She visited Indiana University Bloomington’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and learned about its Peace Corps Master’s International program, which allows her to earn her master’s degree and complete her Peace Corps service simultaneously. As soon as she was accepted into the program, she began applying to Peace Corps. IU Bloomington is one of Peace Corps top schools for undergraduates and MI students, ranking 25th and 10th in the nation. Continue reading “From AmeriCorps to Peace Corps, Indianapolis native commits to service-oriented work”