MACON – Mercer University was recently selected to participate in the Peace Corps Prep program, which enhances students’ undergraduate experience by preparing them for international development fieldwork and potential Peace Corps service.
Mercer is the seventh university – and first private institution – in Georgia to be selected as a Peace Corps Prep site. There are currently more than 130 institutions nationwide participating in the program.
“Mercer’s commitment to community, to research and development, and to purposefully scaffolding high-impact, engaged learning practices aligns perfectly with the Peace Corps ethos, making the Peace Corps Prep program a natural fit into our curriculum,” said Mercer Provost Dr. D. Scott Davis. “The Mercer experience is defined by the opportunity for students to integrate leadership, academic research and service to others into higher education. Signature programs, such as Mercer On Mission and the Mercer Service Scholars, allow our students opportunities to engage in service-learning courses and service-oriented research projects locally and globally.”
The Peace Corps has identified six sectors – agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health, and youth in development – in which preparation for service is needed.
Peace Corps Prep sites recruit students to engage in identified coursework, co-curricular and leadership activities that satisfy preparation guidelines for those six sectors. Students do not take any additional courses; rather, they make strategic elective course choices.
Program graduates receive a certificate from the Peace Corps and are inherently more competitive when applying for Peace Corps service.
“As program coordinator and student adviser, I am particularly excited about the Peace Corps Prep program because it focuses on tailoring already established major coursework toward a focus on intercultural communication, global development and leadership skills, instead of adding additional coursework to our highly-engaged students’ schedules,” said Ashley Buchanan, study abroad program coordinator in the Office of International Programs and coordinator of the Peace Corps Prep program at Mercer. “The program empowers students to apply their specific academic interests and areas of research to preparation for service in international development fieldwork.”
“The cross-campus synergy that went into the preparation for becoming a Peace Corps Prep site is simply one more example, among so many, of the strong commitment within the Mercer community to work together to educate our Mercer Bears to be good global citizens,” added Julie Strecker, director of international programs.
A formal launch event will take place this fall. For more information on the Peace Corps Prep program at Mercer, visit international.mercer.edu/peace-corps-prep-program.cfm.
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 www.peacecorps.gov.