Peace Corps

The Study Abroad Office, Peace Corps, the School of International Training (SIT), and the Blank Honors Center will hold two upcoming informational sessions - "Not Your Ordinary International Experience: SIT Study Abroad and the Peace Corps!" These events are free and open to the public, and will take place from 7-8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in room 2390 of the University Capitol Centre, and 12:30-1:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, 2016, in room 350 of the Blank Honors Center.

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Iowa City ranked seventh in the Peace Corps’ 2015 listing of the country’s top volunteer-producing metro areas per capita. This is the first time the Iowa City metro area (defined as Washington and Johnson counties) reached the top 10 on the list of currently-serving Peace Corps volunteers.

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From Bangladesh to Tanzania, Rebecca Arnold has witnessed firsthand the power of education in improving public health around the world. She remembers the young Bangladeshi girl who delayed marriage to finish high school and pursue a degree in nursing. Then, there was the Tanzanian woman raising her children in poverty, who summoned the courage to leave an abusive relationship and become a public advocate for HIV patients in her community. Inspired by their transformations, Arnold has devoted her career to teaching life-saving health messages—from the importance of hydration to the dangers of smoking—to people in developing countries.

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Former Peace Corps volunteer builds relationships across campus and engages international alumni

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University of Iowa alumna Laura Semprini, 27, of Iowa City, IA and her husband Jason Semprini, 28, of Cedar Rapids, IA have been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Fiji Aug. 31 to begin training as a youth development volunteers. The Semprinis will live and work at the community level to promote and develop healthy lifestyles and environmental awareness in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Youth and Sport.

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Alec Bramel, 22, of Holy Cross, Iowa, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Jamaica March 9 to begin training as an agriculture extension volunteer. Bramel will make a difference working with his community to identify resources and agriculture projects that can be developed and implemented to generate income. He will also facilitate training in farm management and work with schools to enhance and expand environmental education.

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Nicky Fish, 23, of Oak Park, Ill., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Indonesia March 14 to begin training as a secondary English education volunteer. Fish will make a difference teaching basic to intermediate English and providing enrichment learning opportunities through extracurricular and non-formal community activities.

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Zadok Nampala, international student adviser at North Iowa Area Community College, can relate to those he's helping because he was once in their shoes. Nampala, or "Z," as he is known around campus, grew up in Kenya and attended Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids and the University of Iowa. Nampala, who has been at NIACC since August, speaks seven languages and frequently uses three of them — Spanish, Arabic and Swahili — when speaking to the international students at NIACC so "they feel at home," he said.

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Brad Merryman will tell you he has the best job in the world. After 25 years in the IT industry, he hung up his hat and volunteered in Costa Rica through the Peace Corps. Just a few short months after returning to the U.S., Merryman was honored to accept the Midwest Regional Manager position with the Peace Corps, where he now oversees the recruitment of volunteers throughout a region spanning 11 states.

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During their youth in Liberia, Theophilus and Rebecca Kollie developed fond memories from their interactions with U.S. Peace Corps volunteers. Little did they know that, decades later, their American-born daughter would complete the circle by returning to Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer after graduating from the University of Iowa.

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