When did you serve in the Peace Corps?
Where did you serve (which country/countries)?
What were your main responsibilities as a volunteer?
Development and construction of the first wheelchair factory in Central Asia, creating a volunteer club/volunteerism development
Is there a specific person (or persons) who made a strong impression on you during that time?
The director of my host organization. Around 15 years ago she lost the use of her lower body due to a car accident. After a few years, she decided to start a TV show profiling people with disabilities in the region, and then started an NGO that focused on creating an environment where people with disabilities could live independent lives. The organization celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2009 and has received national attention for its work.
What was one of the most memorable moments you had as a volunteer?
Stopping by the 18th birthday party of one of the disabled young adults we were working with through the Volunteer Club to see all of our volunteers and many of the other young adults we worked with simply having a good time at the party as friends.
In what ways did your Peace Corps experience affect your life and/or career decisions?
My experience gave me direct experience and an understanding of social entrepreneurship and how I would like to pursue social change.
In what ways did your U-M education, both inside and outside the classroom, prepare you for your Peace Corps experience?
As a result of my experience at UM, I was ready for a challenging environment and working with people from backgrounds completely different from mine.
What advice would you give to others who are contemplating going into the Peace Corps?
Be prepared for the unexpected and lots of frustrations, but also for the opportunity to make clear differences in someone's life.
What is the value gained from the Peace Corps experience?
Learning about yourself, how you can positively contribute to what you want to accomplish, and gaining a much better understanding of at least part of the world.
What lessons did you learn in the Peace Corps that you carry with you today?
Don't give up when you feel things are stacked against you, keep trying, have an open mind, and think of others.