Indiana University put alums on different paths toward making a difference with Peace Corps

IU alum Vincent Razo with students after completing a world map project at his school in Azerbaijan.

A degree in microbiology, or a degree in Chinese Language and Culture. Promoting malaria prevention in Tanzania, or teaching English in Azerbaijan. At first glance, Carolyn Rhodebeck and Vincent Razo don’t seem to have much in common. But the two recent Indiana University alums both chose to apply the lessons they learned in Bloomington to Peace Corps assignments, and now back in the U.S., they already see how that choice has changed the course of their lives.

“A big take-away I got was it’s not about what you have or don’t have,” said Rhodebeck, of Fort Wayne, Ind. “It’s about the people and how you try to make a positive difference in their lives.” Continue reading “Indiana University put alums on different paths toward making a difference with Peace Corps”

Ann Arbor, Mich., ranks No. 7 on Peace Corps’ list of top volunteer-producing metro areas per capita

Peace Corps volunteer Steven Goldbaum of Ann Arbor, Mich., celebrating Halloween with his English club in Azerbaijan.

CHICAGO — Ann Arbor ranks No. 7 this year among metropolitan areas for producing Peace Corps volunteers, per capita. The Michigan college town generated 29 volunteers this year, or 8.3 volunteers for every 100,000 residents.

Michigan is No. 9 among states in producing Peace Corps volunteers, with 271 of its residents making a difference in communities overseas. On the whole, Michigan produces 2.7 Peace Corps volunteers for every 100,000 state residents. Continue reading “Ann Arbor, Mich., ranks No. 7 on Peace Corps’ list of top volunteer-producing metro areas per capita”

Stevens Point, Wis., resident begins Peace Corps service in Azerbaijan


Shannon McVeigh, 28, of Stevens Point, Wis., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Azerbaijan April 4 to begin training as an English education volunteer. McVeigh will make a difference teaching and developing extra-curricular programs in his community.

Being able to live and experience a different culture attracted McVeigh to the Peace Corps. “Through my experiences I have discovered that people are all the same, no matter where they live or what their race or religion is,” he said. “I want to show Americans that the people I’ll be working with seem different, but deep down we are very similar.”

McVeigh is the son of Pat and Nina McVeigh and a 2003 graduate of Stevens Point Area High School. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in history and social studies secondary education. Continue reading “Stevens Point, Wis., resident begins Peace Corps service in Azerbaijan”

Married Wisconsin Rapids residents to depart for Peace Corps service in Azerbaijan


For Wisconsin Rapids residents Olivia and Matthew Nelson, making a difference in the Peace Corps is a years-long dream finally coming true. The married couple will depart April 4 to begin 27 months of service in Azerbaijan.

“Joining the Peace Corps was something we really cultivated together,” Olivia said. “My parents have always encouraged travel and volunteering; when I met Matthew, we discovered it was something we both were passionate to do together. Since we met over six years ago, the Peace Corps has always been a focus and goal for both of us.”

The Nelsons have lived in Eau Claire since college but returned home to Wisconsin Rapids several months ago to spend time with family before their departure. Olivia, the daughter of Ruth and Tim Krueger, graduated from Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids in 2007. Matthew is the son of John and Rae Ann Nelson and a 2006 graduate of John Edwards High School in Port Edwards. Continue reading “Married Wisconsin Rapids residents to depart for Peace Corps service in Azerbaijan”

East Leroy, Mich., resident completes Peace Corps service in Azerbaijan

Peace Corps Volunteer Jarrett Dunn helped coordinate an arts camp for children in his community in Azerbaijan.

With a new perspective on the world and a new appreciation for traditional Azerbaijani cuisine, Jarrett Dunn, 28, of East Leroy, Mich., has returned home to the United States after completing his Peace Corps service as youth development volunteer in Azerbaijan.

For more than two years, Dunn has made a difference teaching English in Shirvan, Azerbaijan. Dunn’s work involved developing and managing English language clubs designed to improve students’ reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. He also mentored an advanced English club that served as a forum for cross-cultural exchange with discussions including gender issues, civil rights, and current world affairs.

“One of the major highlights of my service was collaborating with other volunteers and resource partners to brainstorm, design, and implement a weeklong summer arts camp for about 50 schoolchildren in Shirvan,” Dunn said. “At the end of the week, the children put on an art show displaying all of their creations, singing, and performing skits in front of their parents.” Continue reading “East Leroy, Mich., resident completes Peace Corps service in Azerbaijan”

Painesville Peace Corps Volunteer Finishes 2-Year Service in Azerbaijan

Susan Kay and students participate in an education fair in Azerbaijan.

For most of her life, Susan Kay had never traveled extensively or studied abroad, instead preferring the comforts of home. She called herself a “nester.” Now, it’s a description that no longer fits. Kay, 60, returned home to Painesville, Ohio, last month after completing her two-year service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Azerbaijan.

“Although I loved my job, I felt I needed to renew my commitment to the helping professions,” Kay said, describing her decision to quit her job and join the Peace Corps in 2010. “Through Peace Corps I was able to recharge my commitment to working in service professions, broaden my own global perspective, and truly feel a part of the Peace Corps’ mission to promote peace and friendship.”

Kay will speak about her experience to prospective Peace Corps applicants and their family and friends at a special “Home for the Holidays” recruitment event at Cleveland Heights Public Library on Thursday, Dec. 20. Currently serving volunteers at home on leave will also participate in the panel discussion, to be held in Meeting Room B of the library, 2345 Lee Road, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Continue reading “Painesville Peace Corps Volunteer Finishes 2-Year Service in Azerbaijan”