ETSU announces new Peace Corp Prep program

Brandon Paykamian • May 26, 2018 at 11:13 PM

Since 1961, when President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps, more than 230,000 Americans have served as humanitarian volunteers in 141 countries. More than 100 of these members came from East Tennessee State University.

Now the university will launch its Students in the Peace Corps Prep program, the first program of its kind in the state, in the 2018 fall semester.

The program, which has been offered in other states’ schools since 2007, will be structured around an interdisciplinary minor and will include courses from five different colleges, according to a Friday news release from the university announcing the launch of the program coordinated by the ETSU College of Public Health.

“Students will be able to choose a sector; they may choose between the six sectors the prep program has,” Taylor Dula, academic advisor for the College of Public Health, said. “So they may do education, health, community and economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development.”

Through the course of the program, students will learn about leadership, foreign language and intercultural competence and focus on a professional sector of their choice. After students complete the program’s coursework and hands-on training, they will receive a certificate from the Peace Corps.

Megan Quinn, Global Health Initiatives coordinator, said the program will prepare students for every aspect of service in the humanitarian organization and “build upon their undergraduate education,” giving them a competitive edge when applying for Peace Corps service and entering the workforce.

“We think it’s really important for students to learn in the classroom and from (real world) experiences,” she said. “Being immersed in a community for a 23 month period that the Corps requires changes your outlook on life and helps people understand how people live in different countries, what matters to them, and that we aren’t all that different, no matter where we are.”

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