Category: Peace Corps

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Completes Service in Uganda

Lindsay Carrera

Lindsay Carrera

Peace Corps Volunteers know that service isn’t a bucket list item; it’s a life-long dedication. Once you are part of the Peace Corps family, you are always a member. No one knows that better than Lindsay Carrera, a Hartland, Wisconsin, native who recently completed her service in Uganda.

“I have always wanted to do Peace Corps – since I was young,” Carrera said, “I love learning about people and trying to help. It was an educational experience.”

As a primary education teacher trainer in Uganda from 2013-16, Carrera provided training and support to elementary school teachers. She also worked intensively with administrators and primary school management committees to improve education in her community.

Read the full story in the original post on Central Peace Corps Volunteers.

Story credited to PEACECORPSCHICAGO.

Peace Corps: Reed sees service as investment

His studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison fostered Patrick Reed’s interest in exploring different cultures and perspectives. Add to that a desire to serve others.

Since receiving his B.A. in history and international studies from UW–Madison in 2011, Reed has followed a path of service.

“I traveled the country for two years, volunteering in impacted communities helping with recovery and capacity building,” says Reed, who served with AmeriCorps NCCC and FEMA Corps.

Next, his call to serve will carry the 26-year-old from Grayslake, Illinois, overseas. As one of the latest UW–Madison alumni to sign with the Peace Corps, he reports in mid-June 2016 as a community health extension volunteer in Swaziland, a small, landlocked country in southern Africa.

“My time at UW–Madison was a great first step in my pursuit of Peace Corps,” he says. Continue reading

Peace Corps Week: Get an inside perspective

Curious about the Peace Corps?

Perhaps you’ve read that the University of Wisconsin–Madison has produced nearly 3,200 Peace Corps Volunteers since 1961. And with 68 Badger alumni currently serving overseas, UW–Madison ranks second on the annual list of top-producing universities and colleges.

Peace Corps Week – Monday, Feb. 29 through Friday, March 4 – offers opportunities to learn about the Peace Corps and to talk with people who have served overseas. Continue reading

Tradition of serving others keeps drawing UW-Madison alumni into Peace Corps

Rita Argus recalls hearing her professors at the University of Wisconsin–Madison talk about the Wisconsin Idea, “the thought that what we are learning in the classroom should be applicable to real-world situations.”

“I think this has conditioned me to better apply what I learned to help with problems and challenges I am encountering here,” says Argus, who graduated from UW–Madison in May 2014 with a degree in biological systems engineering.

Rita Argus

Rita Argus

When she speaks of “here,” Argus is referring to Senegal in West Africa, where she has been working with a Senegalese master farmer to train local farmers in sustainable agriculture and agroforestry practices. She also is helping a local agricultural research group distribute seeds and gather information to help improve seed variety throughout the country.

Argus, 24, of Helenville, Wis., is one of 68 UW–Madison alumni currently in the field as Peace Corps Volunteers.

For the second year in a row, UW–Madison is the second-largest producer of Peace Corps Volunteers, according to the agency’s 2016 list of Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities, released February 18.

UW–Madison has been a leading source for Peace Corps Volunteers throughout the agency’s history:

  • Since the Peace Corps began its annual rankings in 2001, UW–Madison has been among the top producers every year and has held the No. 1 spot for six years, from 2001 to 2006, and in 2014.
  • Since 1961, when the Peace Corps was created, 3,184 UW–Madison alumni have served overseas, making the campus the No. 2 all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers.

Continue reading

2015 International Education Week at UW-Madison Events, November 16-19

IEW_2015_logos_outlined_Dark_BlueInternational Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, designed to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States. The International Education Week celebration at UW-Madison is led by The International Division. Continue reading

Peace Corps journey leads Kloppenburg home

“I can talk all day, really about anything, and especially about the weather,” says Micah Kloppenburg. “The weather can easily be an entry point to any other conversation, any discussion that you would want to have.”

“And I think that’s a great analogy to the Peace Corps as well, that the Peace Corps is an entry point,” adds Kloppenburg, who served as a Peace Corps agriculture volunteer in Nicaragua in 2009-11. “You know where you’ll be in those two years, but you don’t where it’s going to take you after. You just know that it’s going to be a defining experience.”

His own “defining experience” led him back to the city where he was born and raised, Madison, inspired to apply what he’d learned abroad. This fall, he begins working on his master’s degree in landscape architecture at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and talking about the Peace Corps as the new campus recruiter. Continue reading

Returnees provide send-off, advice for new UW Peace Corps invitees


The latest UW group entering the Peace Corps gather for a send-off brunch.

Like many graduating seniors at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Rebecca Morgan grapples with a feeling of not knowing what to expect this summer. Morgan wakes up every morning feeling either overwhelmed with excitement or overcome with nerves, as she looks ahead to a two-year stint as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Recently, Morgan and other invitees – including some preparing to leave the country for the first time – had an opportunity to meet with returned volunteers, at a Peace Corps Send-off Brunch at the University Club, which brought together people of various backgrounds and involvement with the Peace Corps.

Invitees looked to those with experience to answer burning questions and ease anxieties about their imminent 27-month terms in such countries as Kosovo and Nicaragua.

Morgan, who leaves June 1 to teach in Uganda, sought advice from Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Mary Ann Feutz, who served 2002-04 in Lesotho.

“It’s hard to know what to pack because you don’t know what you’ll miss until you’re gone,” Feutz tells Morgan. “It’s different for everyone, which is why care packages from home will be so important.”

The send-off event also was important for parents and guests of invitees, who learned about other countries through presentations by RPCVs.

Through Skype sessions, volunteers currently serving in Grenada and Mozambique talked about how to deal with the unexpected once in-country and told invitees to prepare for all of their expectations to be proven wrong.

Dean Jefferson spoke about his Peace Corps experience as a “gringo” in Costa Rica in 1974-77 with Judy Allen, who served in Morocco around the same time. They looked back on the risks they were able to take when they were “young and foolish” and the similarities of their experiences in diverse countries.

“It’s something you just can’t understand unless you’ve been a volunteer,” Allen said.

— by Brianna Maas


UW Peace Corps recruiter Eric Luckey talks at a send-off brunch for new Peace Corps invitees.

UW-Madison ranks among leaders in recruiting Peace Corps Volunteers

With 69 Badger alumni currently serving in 34 countries, the University of Wisconsin–Madison continues its tradition as one of the nation’s top producers of Peace Corps Volunteers.

Carrie Hessler-Radelet

Carrie Hessler-Radelet

Since 2001, when the Peace Corps began releasing its annual list of top universities and colleges, UW–Madison has consistently placed in the top 10, including six years in the top spot. This year, UW–Madison ranks second.

Since 1961, when President John F. Kennedy created the agency, 3,145 UW–Madison graduates have served with the Peace Corps – a total exceeded only by the University of California, Berkeley.

“The Peace Corps provides an indispensable opportunity for young people out of college to put their unique skills to work making a difference for communities around the world,” says Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “Volunteers make lasting change by living and working at the grassroots level in their communities of service and using their talents to tackle some of the most critical challenges in international development.”

The UW–Madison graduates currently serving in the Peace Corps – 51 women and 18 men – are working in areas of education (26), health (22), environment (11), agriculture (5), community and economic development (3), and youth in development (2). Continue reading

Ambassadors group helps aspiring Peace Corps volunteers

For decades, the University of Wisconsin–Madison has been among the top institutions for recruiting Peace Corps volunteers. Today, a student group called Peace Corps Ambassadors is helping to sustain that tradition, while providing additional support for prospective volunteers.

“It’s nice to have a small cohort of folks who are going through the same phenomenon, worried about their choices, not sure how to word [their] essays,” says Peace Corps campus recruiter Eric Luckey.

The Peace Corps Ambassadors group was formed before Luckey became the campus recruiter two years ago. Now, he wants to raise the group’s visibility among students, by promoting more Peace Corps networking and hosting small-group bonding activities.

Meetings provide a forum for the 20 to 30 students in the group to talk about the Peace Corps and their future after graduation.

“Having conversations with students about their fears, their concerns, their expectations,” Luckey says, “I think those are all, if not as important, perhaps even more important than the day-to-day recruiting work that I do here on campus.” Continue reading