By Kaitlyn Waters, Photographer
Warren Wilson’s triad program, which incorporates academic with work and service, creates ideal candidates to serve in the Peace Corps, a program created by John F. Kennedy in 1961 in order to “promote world peace and friendship.” Since ‘61, the program has expanded from serving nine countries to serving more than 139 countries, where volunteers work in six different sectors– education, health, environment, community economic development, youth in development and agriculture. Recently, the local Peace Corps recruiter, Marques Anderson, came to Sage Cafe to talk with students interested in serving after their graduation and to share what his experience was like. Anderson’s presentation showed that the application process is definitely not for the faint of heart. During Anderson’s own application process, he was told that he’d be sent to Southeast Asia; then he was told Jamaica; finally, he got his official placement in Nicaragua, doing community development projects. Warren Wilson’s Director of the Career Development Center, Wendy Seligmann, spent her Peace Corps service in Costa Rica teaching English. Seligmann told the group during the information meeting at Sage about her recent return to Costa Rica with a group of students from Wilson. During the return visit, the group met Seligmann’s host family that she lived with for a while during her service. Seligmann considers this family in Costa Rica to be her second family. Other former Peace Corps volunteers present at the Sage event shared that they received as much out of their Peace Corps experience as they gave. Each returned volunteer who attended the Sage informational meeting avidly expressed that they wouldn’t be where they are now without having had their experience serving in the Peace Corps.
A recent innovation within the Peace Corps is that you can earn a Master’s Degree while serving in the Peace Corps. As explained on the Peace Corps website, “Prospective students apply separately to Peace Corps and to a participating graduate school. Once accepted by both, students will study on campus, usually for one year, and then spend the next two years earning academic credit while working overseas in a related Peace Corps project. Most schools provide students in this program with opportunities for research or teaching assistantships, scholarships, or tuition waivers for the credits earned while serving in the Peace Corps”. When asked about what part of her Peace Corps experience put her on the path to her career at Warren Wilson, Seligmann responded with “everything.”
For more information about the Peace Corps be sure to visit their website at www.peacecorps.gov.