Pacific presents various opportuni- ties to its students. The Peace Corps is one opportunity where students can access information about this volunteer fortuity that might otherwise not be as simple to obtain. Networking is one of Pacific’s key characteristics. One of the ways Pacific is successful in networking is through the strong connection that is kept with its quite diverse alumni.
Among the many Pacific gradu- ates is a group whom served in the Peace Corps. The Director of the Career Devel- opment Center Brian O’Driscoll assisted
in bringing together some alumni to speak to students who were interested in serving in the Peace Corps on Jan 30.
A local Peace Corps representative was at the event to interview a panel of Peace Corps returnees. The panel includ- ed Pacific Alumni: Brett Meyer, Melissa Barber and Gina Bell, along with profes- sor Bevin McCarthy.
While McCarthy and Bell joined the Peace Corps immediately following their graduation, Meyer and Barber waited seven years after their graduation from Pacific before they served in Mali, Africa.
“The one thing we were hesitant about joining was that we had already es- tablished a life together,” said Meyer, who is married to Barber.
Bell’s biggest concern before joining the Peace Corps was her time away from
“I was close to my family,” Bell said,
“but it was when my grandpa said ‘you’re just a plane ride away’ that told me I had his blessing and right there I knew I was going to apply.”
The Peace Corps prepares you for every detail of your twenty-seven month experience, including the transition from life in the USA to living in a new country.
“I was more than prepared for the transition when I got to Bolivia,” said Mc- Carthy.
One of the most significant factors coming out of the Peace Corps, the return- ees agreed, was the relationships that are built not only during a volunteer’s stay but also when they return home.
Barber and Meyer said their closest friends they have today are people they
met during their time in Mali.
“There’s just this comradery be-
tween the Peace Corps family,” said Mc- Carthy. “You can go anywhere and once you meet a returnee there’s just this in- stant connection that you can’t get from anywhere else.”
When the Peace Corps representa- tive asked the panel what they took away from their journey, Barber said. “The whole experience. It was just really awe- some.”
Peace Corps taught McCarthy that it’s okay to be vulnerable, but she also learned “who I am and who I want to be.”
“When I got back I felt like I should be doing something for the world,” said Meyer. “I wouldn’t have had that thought had I not served.”