Recruiters Bring Peace Corps to HBCUs and MSIs Throughout Mississippi

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Peace Corps recruiters Natalie Felton and Stephanie Wade made their way across Mississippi to visit historically black colleges/universities and minority serving institutions.

Peace Corps recruiters Natalie Felton and Stephanie Wade recently wrapped up the first Peace Car tour of minority serving institutions and historically black colleges and universities throughout the Mississippi area.

The educational tour, which began Oct. 13, made stops at Tougaloo College, Mississippi State University, Coahoma Agriculture High School, Delta State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Alcorn State University, Belhaven University, and Jackson State University in an effort to reach qualified, underserved communities.

“The true inspiration for this tour derived from wanting to reach and share the possibility of Peace Corps as a postgraduate or post-retirement opportunity with diverse groups,” Felton said. “This led to personalized and intimate conversations with students on a career path that could take their collegiate experience overseas.” Continue reading “Recruiters Bring Peace Corps to HBCUs and MSIs Throughout Mississippi”

Texas State University Ranks No. 10 Among Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Hispanic-Serving Institutions

Texas State University returned to the Peace Corps’ annual rankings of the top volunteer-producing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) nationwide, the agency announced. In 2016, Texas State University ranks No. 10 with nine alumni currently serving in the Peace Corps. The school last appeared on the top HSIs list in 2014. Since the Peace Corps was established in 1961, 235 alumni from Texas State have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers.

“Graduates of Hispanic-Serving Institutions come to Peace Corps with a strong educational background and the flexibility and curiosity needed to make an impact in communities around the world,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Volunteers with different talents, viewpoints, experiences and backgrounds demonstrate to people across all corners of the world what it means to be an American.” Continue reading “Texas State University Ranks No. 10 Among Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Hispanic-Serving Institutions”

Discrimination in the Dominican Republic empowers Peace Corps volunteer

Self Love

Deandra Bass’ counterparts warned her not to dip into the hot Dominican sun: “It will make your skin too dark,” they offered. They made those comments not out of malice or discrimination, but out of love and protection.  As an African-American Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic, Bass could blend in with her local community – for the most part. But at times, she danced with the color line, causing some to question if her skin was not of Dominican decent, but of Haitian. This ambiguity exposed her to an ongoing political struggle that was bigger than her.

“Some volunteers were asked to get off buses and not allowed to travel because they were dark-skinned and looked Haitian,” said Bass, who served from 2012-15. “I once was questioned for my identification to prove I was not Haitian. Luckily, I had the support of fellow volunteers who advocated on my behalf and, fortunately, I was not asked to leave the bus.” Continue reading “Discrimination in the Dominican Republic empowers Peace Corps volunteer”

Meet Your Peace Corps Recruiter: Natalie Felton

Me and Host Brother BenjaminName: Natalie Felton
Country of Service: Vanuatu, 2011-15
Assignment: Education
Recruitment Focus: Diverse populations

The desire to travel stirred my decision to apply for Peace Corps in 2010. After living and working in Southern France for two and half years, I wanted to challenge myself with a more rustic experience. My dream was to serve in West Africa. I wanted to get back to my roots, immerse myself into the local culture, food and music and return back to the U.S with an intimate relationship and understanding of my ancestors.  I wanted to give back to my host country; share my knowledge, education and resources, providing an addition to local custom and tradition.

Though my path did not direct me to Senegal, Guinea or Mali, my path did allow for me to immerse into the rich, tropical and Melanesian culture of Vanuatu. I was fortunate to have been accepted to extend my contract twice in the South Pacific. Continue reading “Meet Your Peace Corps Recruiter: Natalie Felton”

From Alpha Phi Alpha to Peace Corps, IU grad student dedicates life to service

Donovan Wright, left, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda from 2012-14.
Donovan Wright, left, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda from 2012-14.

Donovan Wright was raised to believe in service. From Alpha Phi Alpha to Peace Corps, serving others is how Wright wants to spend his life.

As a student at Bradley University, Wright was initiated into the Epsilon Kappa chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha and then served as a community health volunteer in Peace Corps Rwanda, from 2012-2014. The two service-oriented organizations are partnered to encourage Alpha Phi Alpha members to take their passion for service to a community in need overseas. For Wright, being a dedicated member of both organizations has ingrained in him values that now represent who he is as a person. Continue reading “From Alpha Phi Alpha to Peace Corps, IU grad student dedicates life to service”

Peace Corps visits Lincoln University to find the next generation of international volunteers

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How does someone become a citizen of the world and prepare for a global job market?  Peace Corps representative Brett Heimann knows exactly how. Heimann will share the personal and professional benefits of living and working in an international community, and members of the public can also take photos with the Peace Car, an eco-friendly recruiter on wheels, when he stops by Lincoln University Wednesday, Sept. 16.

Lincoln students are urged to apply by Oct. 1 for Peace Corps assignments departing in spring 2016. Heimann, who was culturally immersed for two years in Togo as a girls’ education volunteer, will be on campus and can answer questions about the application process and the benefits of Peace Corps service.

“Peace Corps service offers a unique combination of international experience and rewarding work,” says Heimann, who recommends browsing available assignments at www.peacecorps.gov/openings. “It changed my perspective of the world and allowed me to grow personally. Professionally, it underscores your level of commitment and dedication, and your ability to adapt, problem-solve and work across cultures. Today’s graduates need to seek opportunities that provide them with both international and field experience.” Continue reading “Peace Corps visits Lincoln University to find the next generation of international volunteers”

Serving as a LGBTQ Peace Corps volunteer

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Shay and Betsie, Peace Corps volunteers in Ecuador

Shay had few expectations when she began her Peace Corps service in Ecuador but, as a lesbian, she did expect that she wouldn’t be able to be open about her sexual orientation. In actuality, she met her future wife and now helps create a healthy and safe environment for other lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer volunteers.

The 27-year-old Cape Girardeau, Mo., native and graduate of Southeast Missouri State University joined the Peace Corps for the opportunity to promote peace and friendship while sharing technical skills and cultures. Shay arrived in Ecuador in May 2014 and serves as a health extension volunteer. She is also the president of SpeQtrum, a support group for Peace Corps volunteers in Ecuador who identify as LGBTQ or ally.

“Being a Peace Corps volunteer presents challenges from so many angles,” Shay said. “Personally, my identifying as a lesbian has been one of the smallest challenges during service, but I do feel that my in-country staff is particularly attentive to the needs of LGBTQ volunteers.” Continue reading “Serving as a LGBTQ Peace Corps volunteer”