“Centre students tend to be civic-minded, feel passionate about social justice and inequality and have a strong global perspective,” explains Joy Asher, director of the College’s Center for Career and Professional Development. And, fittingly, this year a record number of them will pursue a volunteer position in the Peace Corps.
A total of seven seniors, including Cameron Beach, Sam Foster, Moses Ngong, Audrey Moreng, Peter O’Donnell, Alana Smith and Abbigail Vansickle, have accepted positions with the Peace Corps in a variety of locations around the world, including Malawi, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa, Uganda and Ukraine.
“I believe that student interest in the Peace Corps is really an embodiment of what we do here at Centre—preparing students for lives of learning, leadership and service,” says Asher. “The Peace Corps is a perfect place to learn, lead and serve.
“I have no doubt that these students will have a lasting impact on their locations,” she continues, “going on to do extraordinary things with their lives and make Centre extremely proud.”
O’Donnell said he will follow in the footsteps of his late father, who was his main inspiration in pursuing a position with the Peace Corps.
“He passed away in 2006, so I believe that I always wanted to do Peace Corps as an ode to him and what he stood for,” O’Donnell says. “In tandem, I wanted to do Peace Corps, because it is an illustrious organization aimed at doing good in the world. I always wanted to be a part of something important and international, so applying to the Peace Corps seemed like the most logical step for me.”
As an international studies and politics double major with a minor in Latin American studies, O’Donnell credits his study abroad experience in Mexico and his internship in Namibia for helping him prepare for this opportunity to serve.
O’Donnell will be stationed in Ukraine, and, as of right now, he knows he will be placed somewhere in the western part of the country.
“I am looking forward to learning Ukrainian, working with the youth in my assigned area, creating some impeccable bonds in my community and definitely trying Ukrainian sweets,” he says.
For Beach, she is interested in pursuing a career in international relations or international development and believes the Peace Corps will help her gain relevant experience.
“I believe that the skills and knowledge that I have gained through my classes on differing political, economic and social contexts and realities will be invaluable in my work as a Peace Corps volunteer,” Beach says.
Moreng has seen the Peace Corps as a possibility since she was in high school.
“I have always had a yearning to travel and have not always felt the typical rush to get a job and make money,” she says.
The experience Moreng had with Saha Global in Ghana, as well as her international studies major and environmental studies minor has sparked her interest of sustainable development, which she will be able to learn about during her service.
Beach and Moreng will both be serving in Malawi. Beach will be working as a secondary education English teacher and Moreng as an environmental sector.
Through the Peace Corps, Moreng is looking forward to learning more about herself and gaining a new perspective on the world.
“I am ready to live and breathe a new culture,” Moreng adds. “I am excited to experience this emotional rollercoaster that is the Peace Corps.”
Beach says there is not one single experience she is looking forward to the most, but she is ultimately excited about the journey itself.
“I am excited for the opportunity to meet and work with new people and build lasting relationships,” Beach concludes. “I am excited to learn a new language, learn about a different culture from my own and to live in a different environment from the one that I know.”
Header photo from left to right: (top row) Alana Smith, Peter O’Donnell, Moses Ngong and Cameron Beach, (bottom row) Sam Foster, Abbigail Vansickle and Audrey Moreng.
by Kerry Steinhofer
March 15, 2018