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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA ranked among top 25 for Peace Corps volunteer recruits

    Nadia Elgoghail, who graduated in December with an international studies degree, is applying for a job with the Peace Corps in Africa. The UA currently ranks 24th in the nation in recruiting for the Peace Corps.
    Nadia Elgoghail, who graduated in December with an international studies degree, is applying for a job with the Peace Corps in Africa. The UA currently ranks 24th in the nation in recruiting for the Peace Corps.

    Global Giving

    A love of traveling and a desire to help others led UA alumna Nadia Elgoghail to apply for the Peace Corps last November.

    She is one of many UA graduates going into the government program, helping to make the UA the No. 24 producer of Peace Corps volunteers for large schools for 2006. Currently 43 UA alumni are serving as volunteers, said David Briery, public affairs specialist with the Peace Corps.

    Since its inception in 1961, 1,151 UA alumni have joined the Peace Corps, making the UA the No. 18 producer of volunteers of all time, he said.

    Elgoghail, who graduated in December with an international studies degree, said she is still waiting to see if she has been accepted in the program because the application process takes about six months.

    Elgoghail said she became interested in the program early on because her aunt was in the Peace Corps and traveled to Ecuador.

    “”I’ve always wanted to help out in developing countries,”” she said. “”I think this is the best way to start off.””

    Elgoghail, who has studied abroad in Costa Rica and Ecuador, said if she is accepted, she will be traveling to Western Africa. Service is a 27-month commitment, which includes three months of intensive language and field training.

    The Peace Corps is a good stepping-stone because she plans to go to graduate school some day and to continue to work abroad, Elgoghail said.

    She said the UA has a strong support system and said this may contribute to the number of graduates going into the Peace Corps.

    “”It’s really helpful to have someone on campus guiding you,”” she said.

    That someone is Steve Cole, the southern Arizona recruiter for the Peace Corps and an anthropology graduate student at the UA.

    Cole said he has been the southern Arizona recruiter for about three years and said each year he interviews between 45 to 50 applicants, most of them UA graduates.

    Cole said applying is a long and expensive process and said he is not sure what

    I’ve always wanted to help out in developing countries. I think this is the best way to start off.– Nadi Elgoghail, UA alumna

    percentage of the students he interviews end up being accepted.

    He said the UA is an excellent school and said schools that instill good theoretical training along with a sense of cultural awareness generally produce the most Peace Corps volunteers.

    “”There’s a lot of awareness of the program on campus because you have graduate students and even professors who have done it,”” he said.

    Cole said his activities include speaking at conferences and clubs and said most of the applicants come with a social science or international studies background.

    “”There’s a good mix of me actively recruiting and then just sitting and letting the students who are interested come to me,”” he said.

    Cole traveled to Zambia with the Peace Corps in 1998 and said the experience opened doors for him.

    “”It’s a very unique and prestigious program,”” he said. “”And you have the U.S.

    It’s an ideal time for someone who’s looking at starting a career. It’s great experience and it looks good on a resume. – David Briery, public affairs specialist with the Peace Corps

    supporting you financially and with issues of safety and security.””

    Currently volunteers are sent out to 75 different countries, Briery said.

    A country has to ask volunteers to come and countries let the Peace Corps know what kind of help they need, he said.

    Roundtrip transportation is provided, along with housing and living expenses and full medical and dental coverage.

    Volunteers are paid what their counterpart in that country would generally be paid and receive $6,075 at the end of their service.

    Briery said most students who apply to the program are from liberal arts universities and are service oriented.

    Ninety-five percent of volunteers have at least an undergraduate degree, with 13 percent of those also possessing a graduate-level degree, according to the Peace Corps Web site.

    “”It’s an ideal time for someone who’s looking at starting a career,”” Briery said. “”It’s great experience and it looks good on a resume.””

    Students are allowed to request a certain region of the world, but are not guaranteed a spot there, Briery said.

    “”(UA) has been a very successful campus for us over the years,”” he said. “”We get students that are really good people and it gives you a real faith in the upcoming generation.””

    Other schools on the list include the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which took the top spot this year, the University of Washington, and the University of California-Berkeley, which is the No. 1 all-time top-producing school for volunteers.

    Since 1961 more than 182,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps. Volunteers work in a variety of fields including education, health, business development, the environment and agriculture.

    Students interested in learning more can email Cole at pcorps@ag.az.edu.

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