Name: Alyssa Cooper
U-M Affiliation: Alumni

Where do you work?

Jeffco Open School, Denver CO

When did you serve in the Peace Corps?

2000-2003

Where did you serve (which country/countries)?

Madagascar

What were your main responsibilities as a volunteer?

Health Volunteer

Is there a specific person (or persons) who made a strong impression on you during that time?

Faniry

What was one of the most memorable moments you had as a volunteer?

One of my favorite memories is of the mornings. I loved waking up to the sound of cattle walking past and the village coming to life. Every morning Faniry (4 yrs old) would greet me outside my door and we'd walk down to get water. She'd fill me in excitedly on everything while we'd say good morning to people. I loved that feeling of community. It was a simple thing, and only one of many favorite moments, but it was always the simple things that seemed like the most important.

In what ways did your Peace Corps experience affect your life and/or career decisions?

Service learning has become a huge part of my life as a teacher. Last year, I brought 7th-12th graders to Tanzania to volunteer in an orphanage for 3 weeks. It was an amazing experience! I am constantly looking for ways to include international service for our secondary students.

In what ways did your U-M education, both inside and outside the classroom, prepare you for your Peace Corps experience?

The University of Michigan taught me the importance of having an open mind and the confidence to pursue any dream.

What advice would you give to others who are contemplating going into the Peace Corps?

Do it! It's the most amazing, remarkable, life-changing experience!

What is the value gained from the Peace Corps experience?

It is the value of acceptance of others and a commitment to creating the world that ought to be.

What lessons did you learn in the Peace Corps that you carry with you today?

That in our world of ever-changing technology, the personal human connection will always be the most meaningful.

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