Peace Corps Prep at Western Michigan University

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Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan has become one of three dozen colleges and universities around the nation–and one of only two in Michigan–to offer a Peace Corps Prep program that will build hands-on experience in the health work sector, develop leadership skills and focus on intercultural competence and service learning in healthcare settings as announced in Western News, for and about WMU faculty and staff.

This Peace Corps Prep program, launched by the Peace Corps in 2007, will be offered as a minor open to students in any major at the University. WMU will be the first school in the nation to house such a program in its interdisciplinary health care program. Applications are being accepted now for the first semester in which the program will be offered. One goal of the  program is to attract students from all seven degree-granting colleges at the University. The only other Michigan school to host a Peace Corps Program is Michigan Technological University, which launched its program earlier this year.

In Michigan, WMU is second only to Michigan State University in having the largest number of PCVs. Between 2012 and 2014, 158 WMU students applied for the Peace Corps.

Western Michigan also had one of the very first PCVs, in the summer of 1961, Robin Limpus, the daughter of the Dean of the College of General Studies, and a graduate of the school of Arts & Sciences went to Nigeria with the first group of PCVs. The following summer graduates of the college went to Ethiopia, Liberia and the Philippines.

Graduate students Bill Donohoe and John Coyne went to Ethiopia, undergraduates Dick Joyce and Pete Reno went to the Philippines and Liberia. Many more graduates would follow in the footsteps of Robin, Bill, John, Dick and Leo.

I should note that our Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet is from Michigan though she did not attend WMU….sorry, Carrie. Ms. Hessler-Radelet is not a Bronco, but, nevertheless, she is a Lady of the Lake.

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