PrintIllinois State and Illinois Wesleyan universities can help students prepare to apply for the Peace Corps through a new program.

Students interested in learning about the new Peace Corps Prep certificate program can attend the program launch event from 1-3 p.m., Tuesday, September 20, in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center at Illinois State University.

The program prepares students for international development work abroad or in the United States. Returned Peace Corps volunteers will be on hand at the event to answer questions. Sheila Crowley of the Washington, D.C. Peace Corps office will speak, as will both President Larry Dietz of Illinois State, and President Eric Jensen of Illinois Wesleyan.

Learn about Illinois State’s first Peace Corps recruiter (and returning volunteer), graduate student Vanessa Soto.

“This program is for any student who is ready for the ‘next step’ in leadership and engaging in the world,” said Beverly Beyer, associate director of the Stevenson Center, where the Peace Corps Prep program will be housed at Illinois State. “The courses and experiences all prepare students for global endeavors.”

“There is a lot of community work students do that is good training locally for global endeavors,” said Deborah Halperin, director of the Action Research Center, where the Peace Corps Prep program will live at Illinois Wesleyan.

The program, which the Peace Corps recently approved for both Illinois State and Illinois Wesleyan universities, draws on classes already available in the university curriculum. “The Peace Corps Prep program is fairly young—it started here in Illinois at Knox College in 2007,” noted Beyer. The Peace Corps is also funding a graduate assistant at Illinois State to serve as a campus recruiter. Illinois State has a strong partnership with Peace Corps, dating back to 1994 with the first Coverdell Fellows master’s program in community and economic development for returned volunteers, launched jointly with Western Illinois University.

The Peace Corps Prep program is open to all majors. “Students do not have to apply for the Peace Corps in order to earn a certificate,” said Halperin.

For additional information on the Peace Corps Prep program, call Beyer at (309) 438-8685 or Halperin at (309) 556-6006.

About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment, and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a lifelong commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.