Office of Global Programs and Department of Agriculture host Peace Corps #PeaceCar Events
On October 24-25, the Office of Global Programs and the Department of Agriculture hosted Peace Corps #PeaceCar events. On both days, representatives and returning volunteers of the Peace Corps, Stephanie Wade, regional outreach coordinator, and Melanie Felton, central regional diversity coordinator, had informational tables available, and gave presentations to students in the School of Agriculture, Research, Extension and Applied Sciences.
Informational tables were available during lunch in the lobby of the Clinton Bristow Dining Hall, and presentations were held in the Medgar Wiley Evers Auditorium as well as the Assembly Hall of the Morris-Boykins Agricultural Science Building. The events allowed both students and staff to hear Wade and Felton provide information on volunteer opportunities within the Peace Corps as well as their experiences as returning volunteers.
The Peace Corps is a federal agency that was formed in 1961 under the administration of President John F. Kennedy. The mission of the federal agency is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals: to help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women; to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served; and to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
On United Nations Day, Monday, October 24, presentations were held in the Medgar Wiley Evers Auditorium where Dr. Dovi Alipoe, director of the Office of Global Programs, School of AREAS, gave the opening and introduced the speakers.
“The purpose of this event was to introduce the Peace Corps to students and highlight some opportunities for cultural enhancement and professional development through the agency. The Peace Corps offers tremendous opportunities for students to gain international experience and preparation for graduate school,” expresses Dr. Alipoe following the presentation.
Wade spoke openly at the presentation about the volunteer missions that are offered year-round. Positions with the agency vary in six areas, such as, education, health, environment, youth in development, community economic development, and agriculture. Volunteers are able to decide where they want to serve, and will receive three months of training, before beginning their two years of service.
“I can’t tell you how marketable the Peace Corps makes you. Having two years of international work experience and language skills makes you more competitive in the workforce,” states Wade.
In addition to learning about the many opportunities within the agency, students were informed about the various benefits including medical and dental coverage, a living stipend, and two vacation days per month. After service, returning volunteers are given transitional funds to aid in readjusting to the American lifestyle, affordable healthcare, graduate school benefits, job placement support, and non-competitive federal agency employment opportunities.
Following Wade’s presentation, English instructor Chad Poovey, from the School of Arts and Sciences, shared his experiences on serving in the Peace Corps and how it has changed over the years.
“Logistics has made some things a bit more convenient, but really learning to adapt to another culture and performing the job while learning another language, that’s still all there,” adds Poovey.
Felton informed students of her experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer. Felton, a Chicago, Illinois native, served in the South Pacific Ocean nation, Vanuatu, as an English literacy instructor.
“The Peace Corps is the toughest job you’ll ever love,” she boasts. Her presentation ended with questions from the students.
Artrista Saffold, senior, states, “The session was very informative. It gave me a different outlook on what it means to join the Peace Corps and what they actually do. Even though I do not want to join the Peace Corps, it was nice to learn of a different organization where my major can be used.”
For more information on the Peace Corps and its opportunities, visit www.peacecorps.gov. For more information about this event, contact the Office of Global Programs at (601) 877-6533 or [email protected].