Preparing a Path to Peace Corps  

Andrew Bishop, a graduating senior, has been accepted into the Peace Corps, and will volunteer in Namibia. He has been in Pune, India, since the summer, where he interns for the Center for Development Studies and Activities.    

ALBANY, N.Y. (Dec. 10, 2019) – Graduating senior Andrew Bishop believes his recent application as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer was enhanced by the resources available to him at UAlbany.

Bishop, from North Tonawanda, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will serve as a small enterprise and entrepreneurship development volunteer in Namibia.

“I have always had a passion for helping others, but never thought it would lead to a career,” he said.

UAlbany’s Peace Corps Prep certificate program, introduced in the fall, gives would-be volunteers like Bishop a leg up in applying to the Peace Corps. By joining the program, undergraduates from any major can take advantage of courses and mentoring to increase their chances of being accepted.

UAlbany was the first school in SUNY and third university in New York State to be selected as a Peace Corps Prep partner this past spring.

“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 the relevant courses, you have language skills and you are committed,” said John Justino, director of the Center for Global Health at the School of Public Health.

This is important since only 3,000 applicants are accepted from about 17,000 who apply each year.

“Earning a Peace Corps Prep program certificate significantly increases an applicant’s chance of being selected as a Peace Corps volunteer,” said Annette Richie, director of Global Academic Programs at the Center for International Education and Global Strategy. She co-chairs the UAlbany Peace Corps Prep Faculty Council with Justino.

No stranger to study abroad and international travel, Bishop has been in Pune, India, since the summer, where he interns at the Center for Development Studies and Activities. He is working on a UNICEF project focused on getting college students involved in participatory urban planning.

Through Richie, Bishop met with Peace Corps recruiter Abbey Knickerbocker and a panel of UAlbany Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Richie made sure he was on track with meeting requirements for Peace Corps.

“I am incredibly proud to have received an invitation on my first try,” said Bishop. “I couldn’t have accomplished this without the help of Peace Corps recruiter Abbey. She made sure my resume and statement of motivation were the best they could be and even helped me practice for my interview over the phone. Alone I would’ve been so intimidated by the whole process but having someone helping me who has been through it themselves made a huge difference.”

The new program supports the University’s strategic plan priorities of internationalization, diversity and inclusion, community engagement and student success.

Richie said the program offers students the opportunity to achieve global career readiness and the experience of global community engagement.

To earn the certificate, students 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 evidence of leadership.

The Peace Corps Prep Program complements Global Distinction as well as the 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.

Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens but all undergraduate students, pursuing any major, are welcome to earn the Peace Corps Prep certificate. Seven students earned the certificate in Fall 2019, with two of them, Bishop and Nicholas Gilbert, already invited to serve in 2020.

More information is available on Peace Corps Prep. Undergraduates can sign up by emailing [email protected] for Spring 2020.

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