The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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April 28, 2013

PSU establishes partnership with Peace Corps

Program could expedite serving with agency after students graduate

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Pittsburg State University officials have announced a partnership with the Peace Corps that is designed for students who plan to enter the service organization upon graduation.

PSU is the seventh university in the country with a Peace Corps Prep program.

Megan Corrigan, assistant director of PSU’s study-abroad efforts, said the Peace Corps Prep program will fit well into several major and minor areas of study, including education, public health, environmental biology and business.

Corrigan said the requirements include foreign language courses and 100 hours of volunteer work.

She said those who complete the preparation program will be competitive applicants for the Peace Corps, although they are not guaranteed a slot.

“One of the challenges is the application process takes up to a year,” Corrigan said.

Those who know they are going to apply can start the application procedure while they are still at PSU. Corrigan said students also can get their required volunteer hours out of the way.

Corrigan said the Peace Corps gives students long-term career skills.

“With the Peace Corps, you get two years of solid experience with foreign language and with problem-solving skills — you get that in the Peace Corps in spades,” she said.

She said some students may want to go into international development work as a career, for which the Peace Corps would be great training.

Besides the career training, Corrigan said there is the personal satisfaction and growth, and broadened cultural awareness that comes with being a part of another culture.

Lynette Olson, PSU provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the partnership is a good fit with the university.

“Pittsburg State has a long history of encouraging students to develop a global perspective,” Olson said.

Carrie Hessler-Radelet, acting Peace Corps director, also welcomed the partnership and said in a statement: “Pittsburg State encourages its students to make a difference by becoming global leaders through community service and international study. We are excited to welcome them as a partner with the Peace Corps Prep program and we look forward to more Pitt State alumni becoming our next generation of highly skilled volunteers.”

Peace Corps history

President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961. Since then, more than 210,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. There are now 8,073 Peace Corps volunteers working with local communities in 76 host countries.

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