Welcome to our students' page! We are delighted to be able to communicate with prospective students. Since half of any successful program is determined by who participates, we hope that you will take a few minutes to learn more about where we come from and how you can get in touch with us. We look forward to sharing this great program with you and sharing our passions for creating a brighter future here at USF and abroad through our Peace Corps service.

Global Health MI Students:

  • Jennifer Burges (Current Student and Peace Corps Nominee) **Click to Expand**
    I grew up in Gainesville, Florida. After spending 12 years there, I moved to Tampa, Florida to attend USF for my undergrad degree. My major was International Studies and Women's Studies with a minor in Public Health. For more than 8 years I have wanted to join the Peace Corps and have always considered Africa my first choice. I studied French as an undergraduate to help guide my Peace Corps placement to a French-speaking region of Africa. I am excited to work in the area of public health and the areas of orphan, maternal and child, and HIV/AIDS care interest me most of all. The Peace Corps offers an opportunity to learn a new language and be completely immersed in a new culture and those are the aspects that I look forward to the most. Also, they do great work in the field of public health and I am excited to be a part of that! My aspirations of moving internationally to a low resource area for two years never would have come to complete fruition without the unwavering support of my family. They have been pillar of encouragement and have supported my decision. They have also been saving up so they can come visit me while I serve with the Peace Corps!
  • Jessica Chambless (Peace Corps Nominee Assigned to Botswana Fall 2012) **Click to Expand**
    Assigned Country
    I know the Peace Corps values flexibility when it comes to regional preferences, and honestly I would go anywhere they placed me. During the application process I did not have any regional preferences, however I did have preferences on my assignment. For me, what I will be doing is more important then where I will be. Secretly, I wanted Africa. As of September 11, 2012, I will be on my way to Botswana!

    My Assignment
    I am a health extension volunteer. I want to work with orphans and vulnerable children. My official assignment is a school and community liaison for life skills…I don't know exactly what this entails yet (but it doesn't rule out orphans and vulnerable children), and I am excited to find out! My other interests include child health, food security, infectious disease, humanitarian assistance, and international refugees.

    Undergraduate and Related Experience
    I was born in Louisiana, raised in Florida. Spending my childhood and adolescence in a catholic school has fostered the value of community service, as it was a part of the curriculum. Since I was in middle school, I have been volunteering with a variety of different organizations. I went to USF for my undergraduate degree and graduated with my bachelor's of science in nursing. I have worked as a nurse for three years, two of which were spent in the burn center, which I love. I am currently working toward my Master's in Public Health; my concentration is Global Health Practice.

    Why Peace Corps?
    I wanted work and live in a different country, but I also wanted to further my education. Many nurses I knew were/are working toward becoming a nurse practitioner, but I wanted something that would take me out of the hospital setting and bring me to preventing disease internationally. When I found that USF had a Master's International program in the College of Public Health, I knew it was exactly the opportunity I had been looking for. What could be more perfect than getting your Master's and the international experience you need to get a job after graduation?

    My Family's Reactions to my Peace Corps Service?
    My family members have very different reactions. My immediate family are supportive, they want me to be happy, but are concerned about my safety. My grandparents want me to be safe, they don't give me negative feedback, but I know they would rather me stay in the states. Some of my extended family admire my decision, while others don't understand why I would want to live in an underdeveloped country for two years…they probably never will and that's okay.

    I studied Spanish since I was in kindergarten and still my skills are less then conversational. I am currently learning Setswana; hopefully after two years of living with people who speak Setswana I will be able to master it.
  • Stephen Cormier (Current Peace Corps Volunteer - Cameroon) **Click to Expand**
    Assigned Country/Regional Preference:
    'Sub-Saharan Africa'— Granted it is a region nearly three times larger than the continental US the prospects are amazing! Secretly hoping for West Africa.

    What Assignment or Focus you have or would like?
    Health extension volunteer! While nearly everything in the PC looks totally groovin' I feel this is my best fit for now—though, should PC choose me as a 'Public Health Education' volunteer I'd be flattered, honored and almost apprehensive. Also, I am very eager to do some water and sanitation projects if applicable.

    Life Story in a Nutshell: Place of Origin, Undergraduate, Related Experience
    I was born and raised (partly) in the forgotten borough of New York city then spent my more formative years in New Jersey— the Big Apple AND the Garden State?!! Diggg.

    During undergraduate I studied in an enchanting town in upstate New York where I attended SUNY Binghamton. While sharpening my 'small axe' I studied Sociology, Africana Studies and Global Studies. Quick synopsis comprises of: The Black Panther Party, Anti-systemic social-political movements, Abolition of a radicalized worldview, Brother Cornel West, Frantz Fannon, Vodou, Candomblé, First-people (native) African beliefs systems—mainly the Asante who are under the umbrella of 'Akan'. Paper titles included: "A Brief History of the Correlation Between Racism and Capitalism", "Why the Catholic Church Did Not Stop the Slave Trade", and "Restructuring the Revolution: The Reincarnation of the New Left." Awww, the good ol' days.

    Experience?! During undergrad I was a very active campus organizer/activist. A true passion of mine is helping bring a bit more justice to the many historically neglected communities in New Orleans. Post-Katrina I was very involved with Common Ground Collective, a community based NGO in the 9th/Lower 9th Ward. Other than that…Anti-war movements, campus food worker rights coalitions, indigenous rights lectures, prisoners support networks, weeklong events focusing on the travesties of life in a post-Katrina New Orleans, student organized social justice conferences—basically anything involving a megaphone, I was there. I also had a radio show, 'Let's Change the World Today' and was on the cheerleading team.

    Unaligned with the overall American mores I value travel—highly. I studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland where I was able to become a part of the very vibrant street life as a busker. Once in Dublin I took many trips tooling around a decent amount of Europe. I've also spent some time in Viet Nam where I smiled, taught English to little whipper-snappers, painted fences and made many friends.

    What made you decide to get shipped off somewhere for two years?
    Essentially— to help foster the already existent, but often neglected, global solidarity that exists between all human beings.

    What does your family have to say about it?
    Overall, supportive! There are two camps in my family: Camp 'This is great, I'm proud of you, almost equally as nervous because you're my baby boy—but this is great.' And Camp 'Ehh, I don't know why you really want to do this but hell you're my son and I'm supporting your life decisions; but do you really want to 'delay' your degree two years?' Luckily they love me very much and only want to see me happy and safe.

    Know any other languages yet?
    Italian. I do not read novels but I can easily get myself around, manage to make friends and chit-chat with the best of 'em!
  • Aditi Desai (Peace Corps Volunteer – Uganda) **Click to Expand**
    Assigned Country:
    Sub-Saharan Africa—Uganda! Assignment?
    I'm a community health volunteer working with HIV/AIDS outreach, sensitization, and mobilization. I'm interested in doing research on the effect counseling has on ARV adherence with HIV+ patients. I am also working with student outreach groups, working on community mobilization.

    Undergraduate, Related Experience:
    I was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Orlando, Florida (education paid for thanks to the mouse, Mickey Mouse that is!).

    I did my undergraduate work at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, where I majored in Psychology and minored in biology, chemistry, and photography (yes, I was THAT student). I graduated with honors and did the whole pre-med thing (stereotypical Indian kid) but failed miserably. After a great deal of thought and realizing I didn't want to spend the next full year studying for the MCATs again, I decided to apply to USF COPH on a whim (studying a whole month for my GRE, woah). Thankfully, I was accepted and looked further into the MI program, realizing it was the best fit for me. After my first year of coursework, I realized this was the program I was meant to do, the path I was meant to follow. Not getting into medical school was probably the best thing that has happened to me. Now I am able to focus on what I love most, helping people who want and need my help.

    During my undergraduate work I was always busy doing volunteer work at hospitals, free health clinics, the Ronald McDonald House, among others. I also conducted research in cognitive psychology as well as in the health sciences department. Throughout my graduate school career I continued my passion for community service through organizations at USF COPH as well as through the Bulls Service Breaks program (USF's version of Alternative Spring Break). I spent the first year in the Gulf Coast, Mississippi helping rebuild houses (yes, they are still trying to rebuild from Katrina). I spent the second year in Atlanta, Georgia, working with Project Open Hands to deliver nutritious, balanced meals to patients with diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and other chronic diseases. I also worked as an editorial associate for the Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, where I had the opportunity to read current research on behavioral health, a true passion of mine.

    I don't know where to begin with my traveling history. It seems from the beginning I was addicted to traveling, spending summers across the U.S. and in Canada. After my first trip to India at the ripe age of 13, I was hooked. I went to India many more times, followed by a trip through Europe, a study abroad trip to Australia and a hiking trip through South America. In the 25 years I've been around, I've been on six of the seven glorious continents, hitting 26 countries along the way. I hope to have set foot on all seven and hit 30 countries before I'm 30.

    Why Peace Corps?
    I want to help people help themselves. Everywhere I've gone, I have been drawn to those who want and need help and the Peace Corps has drawn my attention ever since I first heard about it during my undergraduate work. As a child of immigrants, I know how important it is for my family to give back to their home and for me, this is one step in the right direction, giving back to those people who have suffered for no good reason.

    Family Opinion
    Initially, I didn't have the greatest support going into this. That caused me to question my decision a few times, but after a great deal of thought I knew this was the right thing for me. After receiving my placement, my parents thought it would be great, since they had spent 3 years in Zambia, where my older brother was born. Some of my extended family is still hesitant to "approve" of my decision, but I know it is right for me and in the end, my family will too. I now am happy to say I have the full support of my parents and a few members of my extended family, which only confirms my notion that this was right.

    Gujurati, Spanish, and now Luganda

    Here's a link to my blog: http://aditiuganda.blogspot.com

  • Mezelle Moore (Peace Corps Volunteer - Mongolia) **Click to Expand**
    Preferred Region:
    Sub-Saharan Africa, but they can send me wherever they need me.

    Preferred Focus:
    Would like to work in HIV/AIDS Education & Community Development. Unless the stats have changed in the past year or so, Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most heavily affected region of new HIV infections. My experience with HIV/AIDS community outreach in Northeast Georgia ultimately led me to the Peace Corps, and now I am super excited!

    Warner Robins, Georgia. I attended The University of Georgia where I received my undergraduate degree in Public Relations with a Minor in Italian.

    Work experience includes:
    Forestry Technician, USDA Forest Service, Athens, Georgia, 2005-2006 Marketing/Communications Specialist, TeleNet Marketing Solutions, Bogart, Georgia, 2007-2008 Bank Teller, SunTrust Banks, Inc., 2008-present

    AIDS Athens, 2009 University Community Hospital, Feb. 2010-present USF Public Health Students Association (PHSA), Public Relations Committee Chair, Fall 2010

    Why I want to get shipped off:
    Who wouldn't want to? I'm a sucker for uncertainty and believe in throwing myself into cultures different from my own. On the career side, as a Global Communicable Disease candidate international work experience would be highly beneficial. This seems like the perfect opportunity do to both.

    Family opinions:
    They don't really feel too strongly either way. I am the first in my family to obtain a degree, so they were just excited that I decided to even go to college, much less seek out a Master's program with the Peace Corps. I am excited too! Hope I get accepted because I really want to do this!

    Other languages:
    I took a few semesters of Latin and Biblical Hebrew. I minored in Italian at UGA, and am picking up on a little Spanish from my work environment.
  • Folishade Osibanjo (Peace Corps Volunteer – Zambia) **Click to Expand**
    Info Coming Soon
  • Sami Spedoske (Current Peace Corps Volunteer, South Africa) **Click to Expand**
    I was born and raised in the capitol of Michigan, which to many people's surprise is not Detroit, rather it is the oh so exciting Lansing! For undergrad I attended Alma College in mid-Michigan, if only you could see my hand I could point right where I studied. It is a very small liberal arts school that promised I would be able to go to any physical therapy school when I finished their rigorous Exercise and Health Science program. Turns out it wasn't all that liberal and I found physiology and anatomy to be unfulfilling and the thought of being a physical therapist left me with wanting more. I continued with the original major but also studied epidemiology and health policy with hopes of getting into a public health program. I finished my degree and graduated with a BS in Exercise Physiology and a minor in Public Health.

    After hurricane Katrina I went to New Orleans and worked in St. Bernard's Parish. I spent five weeks working in the most devastation I have ever seen, doing the hardest work I have ever done. This experience led me to more volunteer trips and affirmed my idea of public health and Peace Corps. I later studied abroad in Australia, worked as a Wellness intern at Alma College, and became Co-President of International Health Service Collaborative (IHSC) at USF.

    I have to admit, Peace Corps marketing worked on me. I distinctly remember being in the car with my mom when I was a teenager, driving past a Peace Corps billboard that read "Never have to start a sentence with 'I should've'". The idea never left my mind. Five years later, I realized I would never be satisfied with just sending donations but needed to be in the field working, had a passion for traveling and other cultures, and saw myself living and working in low resource areas. When people ask why I am joining I find it hard to describe, it is something I have known I wanted to do for a very long time. Ten years after that initial billboard sighting, I am now packing to move to South Africa. As a future global health worker, Peace Corps is an opportunity I could not pass up!

    I'll be working in the Republic of South Africa, starting January 26, 2011 as an HIV Outreach Worker with a Community HIV/AIDS Outreach. My family has mixed reactions about me going. They seem to be happy that I am happy, but have the normal concerns. They are mainly hoping that I actually come home safe and sound when the term is up, for some reason they see me staying or floating around for a while. I don't know any other language yet, but I'm looking forward to cramming during those three months of training!

    Here's a link to my blog: http://samiirene.blogspot.com/

Suggested Links:

USF Peace Corps Office: http://global.usf.edu/peacecorps.php