Mercer Alumna Emma Peel Selected for Peace Corps Service in Ecuador

Emma Peel

MACON – Recent Mercer University graduate Emma Peel has been selected to serve in the Peace Corps as a health extension volunteer in Ecuador beginning next May.

Peel, from Portland, Oregon, graduated in May with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Liberal Arts with majors in global health studies and Spanish and a minor in anthropology.

She plans to pursue a Master of Public Health or master’s degree in anthropology following her Peace Corps service.

As a health extension volunteer, Peel will work alongside the Ecuadorian government on a number of issues, including HIV/AIDS outreach, nutrition, maternal and child health, reproductive health and rights, and the prevention of tropical diseases. A certified yoga instructor, she also hopes to incorporate yoga instruction into her service.

“Serving as a Peace Corps volunteer has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember,” Peel said. “My parents were both volunteers in the 1980s, and the enduring friendships they share with fellow members of their respective communities are a testament to the impact volunteers can having during their service. As a graduate of Mercer’s Department of International and Global Studies, I have been gifted with the tools and knowledge I will need to be a dedicated and productive volunteer.”

As a student, Peel served as captain of the beach volleyball team, an executive board member of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) and editor-in-chief of the University’s biannual global health newsletter. She was a member of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, a reading tutor at Hartley Elementary and an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher for Family Advancement Ministries.

“I am delighted that Emma has been accepted to the Peace Corps,” said Dr. Natalie Bourdon, associate professor of anthropology and women’s and gender studies. “Emma is an intensely curious and empathetic person who is also extremely hard-working and dedicated. I have no doubt that she will serve as a Mercer alumna and an ambassador of the U.S. with integrity and verve. The communities she works with will really benefit from working with Ms. Peel.”

The Peace Corps, established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, is a volunteer program administered by the U.S. government to send the best and brightest Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. To date, more than 225,000 Americans have served in 141 countries. For more information, visit