Watson Chronicle

WATSON COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

Student Opportunities and Student News

Peace Corps Volunteers Share Experiences with UNCW Students

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Peace Corps Logo

Six Peace Corps volunteers shared personal experiences with 42 UNCW students at an event at the Watson College Feb 17.  Panelists included WCE faculty members Kathy Fox and Allen Lynn, UNCW faculty members Scott Juall and Katie Peel, and WCE alumni Greg and Kevina Casaletto. 

Peace Corps volunteers work at the grassroots level to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world.  Since 1961, 215,000 American volunteers have served in 139 countries, making a sustaining impact on countless lives, including their own.

The panelists shared diverse experiences during their time with the Peace Corps. Fox worked with children and nutrition in Africa; Lynn’s role involved hillside farming in Honduras; Juall, then a pre-med major who also took French, worked to eradicate water-borne disease in West Africa; Peel taught high school English in Poland and the Casalettos lived in Belize, where Greg was a computer and IT trainer and Kevina focused on childhood literacy.

Each member of the panel expressed a deep and abiding passion for the Peace Corps, but they didn’t sugarcoat the experience.

“The ads on TV underestimate the experience when they say, ‘It changes your life’,” Fox told the students.

Juall agreed saying, “It was tough and because it was tough you loved it. Through the experience you find out who you are.”

Many said the service was lonely at times and they faced challenges as they worked to embrace a culture different than their own.

Fox reminded students that service in the Peace Corps is a two-year commitment and that it’s not for everyone. Still, students were encouraged to explore the many opportunities offered and advised that Peace Corps service can be an asset in building their careers. 

“The Peace Corps is widely recognized as a rich, valuable experience,” Juall said. “Having Peace Corps on your resume opens doors.”

Panelists strongly encouraged students considering service in the Peace Corps to plan ahead. The selection and placement process is competitive and can take up to a year.

For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov