CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 12, 2014)—Is joining the Peace Corps on your bucket list? Always been intrigued by the possibility of serving overseas, and yearn to learn more? If so, mark your calendar for a first-of-its kind Peace Corps information session at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 25, when four UM graduates and current Peace Corps volunteers will share their experiences and impressions from their country of service via a live video-chat at the Toppel Career Center. Also joining the discussion will be one of the Peace Corps’ first volunteers and UM’s best recruiter, President Donna E. Shalala, who completed her Peace Corps service in Iran 50 years ago.
Acting Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet also will be on hand for the UM chat, which coincides with the annual Peace Corps Week, to recognize Shalala for 50 years of service.
“We celebrate Peace Corps Week every year to commemorate President Kennedy’s executive order creating the Peace Corps in 1961, but this year is special because it marks the 50th year since President Shalala completed her service and we want to thank her for hers,” said Steve Hunsicker, the Peace Corps’ South Florida recruiter. “For 50 years she’s been one of our biggest supporters and advocates, and as UM president she has an open-door policy to talk to any student about the Peace Corps and has inspired many of them to join.”
Among them was Andre Heard, who graduated from UM in 2011 with a degree in international relations and is now an education volunteer in a tiny Nimibian village across the river from Angola, to which he helped bring the first source of clean water. “Having Dr. Shalala speak about her Peace Corps experience was a big boost in helping me decide if I would join or not,” Heard wrote in his Peace Corps profile, where he also describes his remote village as having “the most beautiful sunsets and stars I have ever seen in my life.”
Also scheduled to join President Shalala and Heard on the chat are Kim Hutchinson, A.B. ’12, who plans to go to law school, and is working with children in conflict with the law on the Filipino island of Negros Occidental; Yoruba Mitchell, a 2009 liberal studies grad who is teaching English in the West African nation of Burkina Faso, where she is the first black American people in her village had ever met; and Rory Lincoln, a 2010 broadcast journalism and English grad who is teaching English in Madagascar, where he helped establish a library.
Sponsored by the Peace Corps and the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida (RPCVSF), the event is free and open to the public, but space is limited; those who plan to attend are encouraged to RSVP by registering at http://tinyurl.com/UM2014. For more information, contact Steve Hunsicker.