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Center promotes Peace Corps

Benjamin Horvath | Thursday, October 11, 2012

On Wednesday evening, the Center for Social concerns connected students with current and former Peace Corps volunteers, including seven current volunteers who Skyped into the conversation from around the world.

Notre Dame graduate Tim Durigan, who is currently serving in the Dominican Republic, shared his thoughts on service through video chat to the group gathered in Geddes Hall. He said the commitment to the Peace Crops can be daunting and some new volunteers may be naïve when first joining.

“Things are hard and are what they are for a reason,” Durigan said. “You can only do so much, and none of the problems are easy to solve.”

2011 graduate Clare Broshinan is currently serving in Rwanda and said her time at Notre Dame helped prepare for her service to the Peace Corps.

“I knew I wanted to do post-graduate service, but was not sure what,” Broshinan said. “I was a political science and peace studies major, so when I looked at the Peace Corps, it was a good fit.”

Notre Dame graduate Roger Parent said his service in Thailand was “one of the greatest experiences of his life.””I knew I wanted to have adventure, leave the country and help people, but there were not as many opportunities to do that back then,” Parent said.

Parent said the Peace Corps was not as organized when he first joined, and therefore it was a learning experience for both him and the Peace Corps.

“They sent me to Thailand where I worked on construction, and it taught me to be adaptive, flexible and accommodating,” Parent said.

Junior graphic design major Jeff McLain said he is interested in the Peace Corps for the organized nature of the group that has developed over its existence.

“I’m interested in both business development and post-graduate service,” McLain said. “The organization of the Peace Corps would give me opportunities in both of these areas.”

Peace Corps recruiter Rok Teasley, who served in Moldova from 2005 to 2008, said the purpose of Wednesday night’s event was to allow current Notre Dame students to connect with former Peace Corps volunteers.

Teasley also said the Peace Corps recruitment with Notre Dame has been “great” since both institutions share similar goals.

“The Peace Corps has a commitment to service in a rapidly globalizing world,” Teasley said. “I see a similar commitment by Notre Dame.”
Teasley said Peace Corps volunteers share common characteristics.

“Volunteers are generally committed individuals, who want to serve and are strong leaders,” Teasley said.

The application process tends to take seven to 12 months and includes seven steps, according to the Peace Corps official website.

After an individual is admitted to the Peace Corps, Teasley said that volunteer will serve for two years in a nation that fits their area of expertise.
Notre Dame is currently ranked No. 10 among medium-sized universities for Peace Corps volunteers.