LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 3, 2020) — Since 1961, more than 240,000 U.S. citizens have served the global community as Peace Corps volunteers — living and working alongside local leaders to create change. Now, the University of Kentucky campus community can discover the benefits of Peace Corps service from those who have returned from service.
On Wednesday, March 4, the International Center will host an information session as part National Peace Corps week, which celebrates the initiation of the Peace Corps by John F. Kennedy on March 1, 1961. The session will take place at 4 p.m. in Room 202 of the Stuckert Career Center and will include a panel of returning Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs) and Peace Corps recruiter, Carlos Jean Baptiste.
The Peace Corps is a service opportunity for motivated change-makers to immerse themselves in a community abroad. Volunteers work hand in hand with local professionals and leaders to tackle the most pressing challenges being faced by the community and current generations.
During this information session, Baptiste will give an overview of the Peace Corps, and the RPCVs will host a Q&A to talk about their experiences in the service and how to join. The volunteer panel will consist of Madison Batt (RPCV Uganda), Jessica Byassee (RPCV Tanzania), Spencer Cruse (RPCV Uganda), Rona Roberts (RPCV Philippines) and Angene Wilson (RPCV Liberia).
“My experience as a Peace Corps volunteer was the most important transformational moment in my life,” Russell E. Morgan Jr., a RPCV, said. “These first-hand experiences gave me a glimpse of the need for public health improvements in developing communities and served as an underpinning of education and economic growth.”
This spring, UK launched the Peace Corps Prep program, which offers a certificate program for undergraduate students to develop skills in foreign language proficiency, intercultural competence and leadership. The program prepares students to become engaged, global citizens as Peace Corps volunteers or professionals in international development.
“Peace Corps service can be the first step toward a career or the continuation of a life’s work by sharpening existing skills or being challenged with new opportunities,” Craig Borie, director of Peace Corps Prep, said. “Peace Corps service benefits include unique opportunities to help others as part of a community, work for the world, learn a new language or improve language skills and grow as a person.”
Since 1961, UK has sent 346 UK graduates to serve in the Peace Corps in one of the following sectors: education, health, environment, agriculture, youth in development and community economic development.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.