Peace Corps Students

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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.

Peace Corps Masters International Students:


Please click on an item to expand.

  • Jennifer Burges (Uganda) 
    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. Public health and the areas of orphan, maternal and child, and HIV/AIDS care interest me most. My aspirations of moving internationally to a low resource area for two years would not have come to fruition without the unwavering support of my family. They have been pillars of encouragement and have supported my decision. They have been saving so they can come visit me while I serve with the Peace Corps!
  • Jessica Chambless (Botswana) 
    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
    My official assignment is a school and community liaison for life skills…I don't know exactly what this entails yet 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
    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 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 with a concentration in 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 degree and the international experience you need to get a job after graduation?

    Blog: http://jessinbotswana.com/
  • Stephen Cormier (Cameroon) 
    Assigned Country/Regional Preference:
    'Sub-Saharan Africa'— Granted it is a region nearly three times larger than the continental US, the prospects are amazing! I’m secretly hoping for West Africa and an assignment of health extension volunteer. Also, I am eager to do some water and sanitation projects, as well.

    Life Story in a Nutshell: Place of Origin, Undergraduate, Related Experience
    I attended SUNY Binghamton and studied Sociology, Africana Studies and Global Studies. 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. 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.

    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.

    Why Peace Corps?
    Essentially— to help foster 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.
  • Aditi Desai (Uganda) 
    My Assignment
    II'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 and Related Experience:
    I did my undergraduate work at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, where I majored in Psychology and minored in biology, chemistry, and photography I graduated with honors and did the whole pre-med thing 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. Thankfully, I was accepted and looked further into the MI program and realized 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. In graduate school, I continued my passion for community service through organizations at USF COPH.

    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.

    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. I now am happy to say I have the full support of my parents.

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

  • Christine Meister (Guatemala) 
    Assigned Country and Assignment
    I have been assigned to the Healthy Homes project as a Health Promoter in Guatemala. While I won’t find out exactly what that entails until after pre-service training, I couldn’t be more excited about my placement!

    Undergraduate and Related Experiences
    I am originally from the northwest suburbs of Chicago and I attended Michigan State University (Go Green!) for undergrad. I received my undergraduate degree in Human Biology with a second major in History, Philosophy and Sociology of Science and a specialization in Bioethics, Humanities and Society. I got my first taste of life abroad in South Africa where I studied abroad as in incoming freshman at MSU.

    Why Peace Corps
    I chose to attend USF because it was one of the only schools where I could get an MSPH in Health Education AND participate in the Master’s International Peace Corps program. I always knew I would work abroad at some point in my lifetime and the Peace Corps gives me the perfect opportunity to do so. The MIPC program also offers me the unique experience of completing my Health Education thesis abroad and I will have two years of international work experience under my belt before entering the job market.

    Family Opinions:
    Overall, my family is very supportive of my decision to join the Peace Corps, although this wasn’t always the case. Any doubts my family had about Peace Corps service were centered on concerns for my safety. However, as my excitement has grown, my family’s has as well and they are now completely supportive of my decision!

    Here's a link to my blog: http://meisteringuatemala.blogspot.com/
  • Mezelle Moore (Mongolia) 
    Regional Preference/Assigned Country
    Sub-Saharan Africa, but they can send me wherever they need me.

    My Assignment:
    I would like to work in HIV/AIDS Education & Community Development. My experience with HIV/AIDS community outreach in Northeast Georgia ultimately led me to the Peace Corps, and now I am super excited!

    Undergraduate and Related Experience
    I attended The University of Georgia where I received my undergraduate degree in Public Relations with a Minor in Italian. Volunteer experience includes AIDS Athens and service with the USF Public Health Students Association.

    Why Peace Corps?
    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!
  • Annastesia Mims (Swaziland) 
    Where have you been invited to serve? In what program? What position?
    I have been invited to serve in Swaziland in the Community Health program. I will be working as a community health outreach agent on the Peace Corps Swaziland’s Community Health HIV/AIDS project.

    Where are you from originally?
    I am originally from Beech Island, South Carolina. It is a small town about 10 minutes outside of Augusta, Georgia.

    What is your undergraduate degree in and from where?
    In my undergraduate years at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, I received a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with a concentration in Health Promotion and a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies.

    What previous volunteer/community service experience do you have?
    In undergrad, I volunteered with various community organizations through my sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. In Charleston, I volunteered with Lupus Walk, Dash for Trash community clean up, Adopt-A-Highway, and Susan G. Komen’s Breast Cancer Walk. As a chapter, we created thought provoking events to bring awareness on the issues surround Jena 6, HIV/AIDS among youth, substance abuse and safe sex awareness, and diversity issues in and around Charleston.

    What previous overseas experience do you have?
    In eighth grade, I received the opportunity to travel outside of the U.S. I participated in an EF Tour with one of the teachers at my middle school on a 10 day, 5 countries tour to Holland, Germany, Belgium, France, and England. We toured museums including the Anne Frank museum and the Van Gogh museum. We visited national landmarks like Canterbury castle, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, Big Ben, and the Louvre. In my second year of undergrad, I joined the Portuguese Club. I was a very active member in the Portuguese Club and the Capoeira Performing Arts of Charleston academy. We put on Carnaval celebrations, Bate-papo (Portuguese conversation meet-ups), and Capoeira and Samba classes on campus. The summer before my senior, my advisor made a way for me to join the study abroad program to Brazil. We spent three weeks in Rio de Janeiro, Ilha Grande, Salvador, Fernando de Noronha, and Recife. In Rio de Janeiro and Salvador we visited well-known places, events and museums including Mercado Modelo, Pelourinho, an Orixa museum, and attended an Olodum concert. Outside of the two islands resided on, my favorite part of the trip was visiting a residential program for children with cancer and their families. In this program, the families attended education classes and support groups as well as being able to stay with their children as they receive treatment during their stay. Meeting these families and the children is what sparked my passion into global health. This past summer I took the International Perspectives on Women’s Health course where in the last week of the course, we went to Panama City, Panama for nine days.

    Why do you want to be a Peace Corps Volunteer? How does Peace Corps fit into your career goals?
    Where do plan to be in 5 years?
    My passion in life has always been to help people. I want to be a voice for the voiceless, collaborate and develop community partnerships, create equality across cultures, all for the betterment of the human race as a whole. I think that Peace Corps has done a phenomenal job of continuing this effort since 1961 and will continue for decades to come. My dream career is to travel to various countries and reside and relate with various cultures to develop skills and programs to be self-reliant, efficient, and sustainable. This is what Peace Corps does. Peace Corps will give me firsthand experience and will train me how to proceed with this goal. I am excited and looking forward to embarking on this step of my journey. In 5 years I plan to have my Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Global Health Practice. I have hopes to have done more research in the field of HIV treatment and adherence to care. I also plan to either participate in another Peace Corps opportunity or find a job that will continue to allow me to travel and do global public health from a more hands-on experience.

    What does your family think about you becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer? Your friends?
    My family and friends were excited for me even before I accepted my invitation. Going to South Africa has been a dream come true for most of my family and friends, so going to Swaziland is even better. My colleagues are especially excited for me since I will have the opportunity to see how what we do every day really impacts those who need HIV/AIDS services most. Everyone is extremely supportive and are already making plans and saving up for when it is time for me to leave. They say they cannot wait to hear all about. I think I am most excited about the work I will be doing, all I will be learning, the research I will be conducting, and all the ways I can expand my knowledge, skills, and career in HIV/AIDS services.
  • Anthony Nguyen (Togo) 
    Where have you been invited to serve? In what program? What position?
    Togo, Health, Community Health and AIDS Prevention (CHAP)

    Where are you from originally?
    Lincoln, NE

    What is your undergraduate degree in and from where?
    Biology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    What previous volunteer/community service experience do you have?
    I volunteered as an eye technician at a free medical clinic that served the poor and uninsured.

    What previous overseas experience do you have?
    I do not have overseas work experience but I lived in Vietnam and traveled to Europe.

    Why do you want to be a Peace Corps Volunteer?
    To experience a different culture and gain international work experience.

    How does Peace Corps fit into your career goals? Where do plan to be in 5 years?
    In 5 years, I hope to be finishing up a PhD program studying infectious diseases. Peace Corps will allow me to see the impact of infectious diseases and other health problems in developing countries, giving me a better understanding than what I can learn through formal education.

    What does your family think about you becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer? Your friends?
    I have full support from my family and friends.
  • Folishade Osibanjo (Zambia) 
    Info Coming Soon
  • Sierra Petrosky (Benin) 
    Where have you been invited to serve? In what program? What position?
    I have been invited to serve in Benin as a Community Health Advisor in the Rural Community Health program.

    Where are you from originally?
    I am originally from Cottonwood, Arizona.

    What is your undergraduate degree in and from where?
    I received a Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences with a minor in Biology from Northern Arizona University.

    What previous volunteer/community service experience do you have?
    During my time at NAU I was the Vice President of Community Service for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. I got to plan and implement a ton of really fun service events such as flood relief efforts, alternative spring breaks, fundraisers, volunteer days at the homeless shelter, road cleanups, etc.

    What previous overseas experience do you have?
    I spent a semester in Western Australia during my sophomore year of undergrad. That’s where I caught a severe case of the “travel bug” and somehow found myself in Singapore, backpacking through Europe, Jamaica, Mexico… I also had a really cool opportunity last summer to do case studies in Panama through a course here at USF.

    Why do you want to be a Peace Corps Volunteer?
    I want to be a Peace Corps volunteer because I love pretty much everything about how they operate and what they believe in… Philanthropy, cultural exchange, personal and professional growth, grassroots efforts, lasting positive change... It is a really unique organization that I am very excited to become a part of.

    How does Peace Corps fit into your career goals? Where do plan to be in 5 years?
    Where geographically? I have no idea! I suppose we will see what opportunities arise. Where career-wise? My passion is in Maternal and Child Health. I could see myself running an MCH program at a health department or for a non-profit organization. I think the Peace Corps may help me actually narrow down what my “dream job” will be, and will equip me with some pretty awesome skills for my future in the health field.

    What does your family think about you becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer? Your friends?
    Half of my family thinks I am crazy, and the other half is totally pumped. Overall, everyone has been very supportive, excited for me, and eager to hear about my experiences.
  • Sami Spedoske (South Africa)
    Undergraduate and Related Experience
    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 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.

    Why Peace Corps?
    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. 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 as an HIV Outreach Worker with a Community HIV/AIDS Outreach.

    Family Opinions
    My family has mixed reactions about me going. They seem to be happy that I am happy, but have the normal concerns.

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

Suggested Links:

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

 

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