Chis Hedrick (Senegal 1988-90) will be leaving his position as Senegal Peace Corps CD this June. He has been CD in his country of service since 2007. The Peace Corps, however, will still be in the family. His wife, Jennifer Beaston Hedrick (Senegal
1997-99), who has been the COO of Tostan for the past 6 years, is becoming the Peace Corps’ CD in Rwanda. (Tostan is the human rights NGO that has been recognized for its success in reducing female genital cutting and forced early marriage. It was founded by another PCV Molly Melching (Senegal 1976-79).)
Previously Jennifer Hedrick worked at Microsoft, Citigroup and the Grameen Foundation Technology Center. She has her MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
For the last 25 years, her husband, Chris Hedrick, has been focused on the intersection of technology, development and learning, and was recently recruited by Kepler to become their CEO. He will be working out of Kigali, Rwanda. Kepler is an organization trying to offer an alternative vision for higher education in Africa. As we all know one of the world’s biggest tragedies is the gap in Africa between human potential and real opportunities to unlock that potential. Capacity development is what Peace Corps is about, and Kepler is trying to address the same issues by creating a new model of higher education. It leverages distance learning (MOOCs) combined with intense in person seminars to try to provide low cost, high quality education where those opportunities are scarce, starting in Rwanda and soon growing to other countries in Africa. To understand more about kepler, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kepler_(institution)or or check out the website at: www.kepler.org.
Before going to Senegal as the Peace Corps CD, Chris was CEO of Intrepid Learning,
a Seattle-based corporate learning services firm that he started. He also served as a science and technology advisor to the Governor of Washington state, and worked for the Gates Foundation and Microsoft. He was a Rhodes Scholar but then realized he could learn more by becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer and went to Senegal.
What he has done in Senegal as the CD is set a high-standard for PCVs and Staff on what can be accomplished via the Internet. Recently he sent me some of the new developments he has started in-country that show what Senegal PCVs are doing today.
To start, when someone is interested in joining the Peace Corps, they need only to go on-line and see what Senegal PCVs are doing. (Or they can go to Ethiopia: http://www.pcethiopia.org/splash) and see what those PCVs are involved with in that nation.)
Here is what Chris has to say about the website and the PCVs in Senegal:
“We have a new look on our website, which you can find here:
It also has pretty strong knowledge retention and sharing aspects, through our integration with Google Drive.
For example, this page links to all of our curricula, so that anyone can benefit from the lesson plans, etc:
Combined with our Facebook page( here: https://www.facebook.com/PeaceCorpsSenegal ), we think it works well to communicate to partners, prospective PCVs, families and the public.
Chris also sent me his 47 seconds of parting wisdom for my colleagues, totally filmed and edited by his 8 year old son. It runs in the family.
Good luck Jen and Chris in Rwanda.