UAlbany First SUNY School Named Peace Corps Partner
A UAlbany Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya.
ALBANY, N.Y. (May 23, 2019) – The University at Albany is the first in SUNY and the third college or university in New York State to be selected as a Peace Corps Prep program partner.
By joining the program this fall, UAlbany undergraduates from any major can take advantage of courses and mentoring to increase their chances of acceptance into the U.S. Peace Corps.
Andrew Bishop, a senior from North Tonawanda who will be studying and interning in India from July to January, has already been taking advantage of the resources available at UAlbany.
“I have always had a passion for helping others, but never thought it would lead me to a career,” he said.
He began taking Globalization Studies courses sophomore year and decided he’d work toward joining the Corps after graduation.
Annette Richie of the Center for International Education and Global Strategy connected Bishop with a Peace Corps recruiter and a panel of UAlbany Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV).
“UAlbany has been a huge help to me,” Bishop said. His courses in Globalization Studies gave him a new perspective on current issues. Richie makes sure he is on track with meeting requirements for Peace Corps and Global Distinction certification.
“Everything that Andrew is accomplishing as a Global Distinction candidate is exactly what the Peace Corps is looking for in its successful applicants,” Richie said.
He recently attended an application workshop with Abbey Knickerbocker, the regional Peace Corps recruiter, and Richie, both of whom gave him tips on how to strengthen his application.
“A few days later, I was able to have a one-on-one meeting with Abbey and she helped me decide which position would be best for me to apply to. We decided on a secondary school English teaching assistant position in Myanmar,” Bishop said.
Richie will co-chair the UAlbany Peace Corps Prep Faculty Council with John Justino, director of the Center for Global Health at the School of Public Health.
Justino, who was a Peace Corps volunteer himself in Cameroon, West Africa, said students can include their Peace Corps Prep certification with their Peace Corps application.
“Completing Peace Corps Prep demonstrates just how serious you are about serving in the Peace Corps and that you have given your application quite a lot of thought: You have taken relevant courses, you have language skills and you are committed,” he said. This is important since only 3,000 applicants are accepted from about 17,000 who apply.
“Earning a Peace Corps Prep program certificate significantly increases an applicant's chance of being selected as a Peace Corps volunteer, and working with a recruiter even more so,” Richie said.
The new program supports the University’s strategic plan priorities of internationalization, diversity and inclusion (EOP, Intercultural Student Engagement and Fuerza Latina are key partners and contributed to UAlbany’s selection), community engagement and student success. Peace Corps Prep offers students the opportunity to have global career readiness and the experience of global community engagement.
For Justino, joining the Peace Corps was a lifelong dream. It sparked in him a desire to live abroad.
Students who take the preparatory program complete three courses related to one of six Peace Corps sectors, 50 hours of training and/or volunteering in that sector, three intercultural development courses or experiences and professional development activities.
The Peace Corps Prep Program will complement existing Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Programs at the School of Public Health and Rockefeller College for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who wish to pursue graduate studies.
The Center for International Education and Global Strategy, with the support of the Peace Corps recruiter, is looking for UAlbany faculty, staff and students who are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and willing to mentor students in the Peace Corps Prep Program.
Those interested should contact Justino at [email protected] or Richie at [email protected].
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