The University of Iowa

From El Salvador to Iowa: Commemorating 50 Years of Peace Corps

August 11th, 2011

What: Panelists to Share Global and Local Volunteer Experiences
When: Monday, August 15, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Iowa City Public Library, Room A

As Peace Corps commemorates 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the world, Iowa City residents will have the unique opportunity to hear first-hand how one person can help make a difference, both at home and abroad, at this community event on Monday, August 15, 2011, at the Iowa City Public Library.

This Peace Corps 50th anniversary event will feature a volunteer panel consisting of a currently-serving Peace Corps volunteer, as well as contributions from two AmeriCorps volunteers working in Vinton, Iowa.

Recognizing that Peace Corps volunteers should strive to bring their knowledge and understanding of new cultures back home to their communities, Krystal Atha will talk about her experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador during her upcoming visit home to Iowa. She is working as an Economic Development volunteer, using tourism as a vehicle for advancement in one of the poorest regions of El Salvador.

Atha graduated from the University of Iowa in 2006 with a B.A. in sociology and political science. She is now pursuing a graduate degree in international administration at the University of Denver through the Peace Corps Master’s International graduate program. Master’s International programs allow students to combine their Peace Corps service with a master’s degree program, receiving credit for their volunteer service abroad. Atha previously worked on Capitol Hill for Congressman Jim Leach after graduation from the University of Iowa.

This will be Atha’s first trip back to the U.S. since she departed for Peace Corps 18 months ago, in February 2010. Beyond visiting with family and friends, Atha is looking forward to taking advantage of some modern conveniences not available to her in El Salvador, which includes drinking water straight from the tap, using a washer and dryer, and being able to sleep in a bed without a mosquito net.

AmeriCorps volunteers Calin Sterling and Susannah Hall are currently located at the NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) campus in Vinton, Iowa. They will participate in the Peace Corps discussion panel, offering a local perspective on the impact of public service on communities in need.

Sterling is from Pittsburgh, Pa., and holds a B.A. in educational studies from Denison University in Ohio. She has also worked with Teach for America as a first grade teacher in Jacksonville, Fla.

Hall received a B.S. in international affairs from Florida State University and has worked as a legal aid. She plans to do Teach for America before returning to school to pursue a dual master’s in public health and urban planning.

Approximately 90 Iowa residents are currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers abroad. Historically, 2,144 Iowans, and more than 200,000 Americans, have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understand between Americans and the people of 139 host countries.

For more information, contact: Meredith Gall at