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Friday, June 14
The Indiana Daily Student

academics & research

Peace Corps Prep Program now offered at IU

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Junior Lucy Brown is completing three majors in biology, Spanish and international studies, as well as a minor in chemistry.

But, coursework is not the only thing Brown said she focuses on.

Brown also aspires to be a member of the Peace Corps and is the IU student ambassador for the Peace Corps.

After living and working in the Dominican Republic on health-related projects this past summer, Brown said she developed a passion for public health policy.

One of the Peace Corps’ six sectors, or volunteer focuses, is health.

Students like Brown who are interested in joining the Peace Corps can now take part in the Peace Corps Prep Program offered through the School of Global and International Studies.

“The Peace Corps Prep Program focuses on service learning, community service and global experience,” said Olga Kalentzidou, director of the Peace Corps Prep Program at IU.

“The goals of the program align with IU’s strategic plan in fostering global competencies, undergraduate engagement through experiential learning opportunities and cross cultural understanding.”

The program’s Global Service and Peace Corps Prep certificate consists of 25 credit hours that include courses in international studies, foreign language, service-learning and a capstone project.

Applicants interested in applying to the Peace Corps after graduation should also complete 100 service hours that correspond with one of the six Peace Corps work sectors.

These include education, health, environment, agriculture, youth development and community economic development identified in the certificate, 
Kalentzidou said.

Students interested in applying for the Peace Corps Prep program can attend an advising workshop and fill out the online application form.

Brown said she thinks the program will be beneficial because it allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the Peace Corps and for participants to gain volunteer experience in the sector they are interested in applying to.

“The Peace Corps program has a competitive application process,” Kalentzidou said. “You need to have more qualifications.”

Brown said she plans on applying to medical school and anticipates the Peace Corps application process will be as intense and 
competitive.

However, students who complete the program are 30 percent more likely to be considered during the Peace Corps application process, Kalentzidou said.

Brown said her desire to be in the Peace Corps stems from both her studies and desire to help others abroad.

“I want everyone to understand cultures better,” Brown said. “Plus, there’s lots of professional training in the Peace Corps that is great experience to take into health care field.”

If admitted to the Peace Corps, Brown said she hopes to work with Michelle Obama’s initiative Let Girls Learn.

The program, created in 2015, works to advance educational offerings for girls globally.

This next summer, Brown said she plans on working at the Middle Way House, a center for women and children who experience domestic abuse here in Bloomington.

“It is something I have a strong passion for,” Brown said. “Domestic violence is the same process here in the U.S. and in other places.”

With her volunteer experiences both locally and internationally, Brown said she wants to be a part of the Peace Corps for both professional and personal 
reasons.

“The whole point of the Peace Corps is to volunteer and make the world a better place,” Brown said. “That is the cheesy answer. But I think other countries don’t look at Americans and think we are philanthropic people. They see us and think we’re all from Miami. I want to change the perspective of how other people view Americans.”

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