Where do you work?
Country Director Peace Corps Samoa
When did you serve in the Peace Corps?
1976 to 1981; 1988 to 1995; and 2008 to Present
Where did you serve (which country/countries)?
In the Philippines as a Volunteer; in the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Samoa as a Country Director
What were your main responsibilities as a volunteer?
Initially, I was responsible for brackishwater aquaculture extension. Then I became involved in an integrated upland community development project working with a cultural minority tribe, the Hanunoo Mangyans, in the mountains on the island of Mindoro.
Is there a specific person (or persons) who made a strong impression on you during that time?
The people of the villages in the mountains. They were so poor, yet so generous, good natured and vibrant.
In what ways did your Peace Corps experience affect your life and/or career decisions?
The Peace Corps opened up the doors to a fascinating and rewarding career in international development and conservation. In turn, this led to a fascinating and rewarding marriange to an Indonesian and to raising two children.
In what ways did your U-M education, both inside and outside the classroom, prepare you for your Peace Corps experience?
The key things were the challenging academic programs, the international focus of many faculty and programs, and the diverse student body from around the world.
What advice would you give to others who are contemplating going into the Peace Corps?
If you are fully committed, then go.
What is the value gained from the Peace Corps experience?
One value is seeing the world from the perspective of another country and culture, which can teach you many things you might otherwise not learn or not fully value. Another value is the development of confidence that you can do many things that at first appear to be too difficult. Another value is the kick-start that you experience can develop into an international career, and even if you are not interested in working internationally after the Peace Corps, your experience sets you apart from others and can help you gain access to further academic studies and professional opportunities.
What lessons did you learn in the Peace Corps that you carry with you today?
1. I learned that I can adapt to and do well in just about any job anywhere in the world. I've also learned more about the importance of family and community.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I'd be interested to know how many UM Alums has more total years of Peace Corps experience (more than 12 years)than I do?