Peace Corps Prep students Max Plonczynski and Brad Christin were accepted into the Peace Corps and will begin their service later this year.
Peace Corps Prep is an undergraduate program offered by the Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development that helps students develop and document core competencies valued by Peace Corps and other employers.
Plonczynski is a technology and engineering education senior who will serve in South Africa. As a primary school English teacher, he will use cross-cultural skills to engage with students, and he plans to form clubs and sports teams to make learning enjoyable.
“Being able to experience someone else’s culture can only make me a better person, and being able to teach in a different environment can only help me as a teacher,” Plonczynski said.
As a Peace Corps Prep student, Plonczynski was able to learn valuable skills related to community engagement. He had 200 hours of combined teaching, service, and leadership experiences.
“I was lucky enough that the requirements for my major were similar and sometimes identical to the Prep program, so I was able to fit right in,” said Plonczynski. “All of my volunteer efforts have come in the form of teaching, whether it be teaching preschoolers about buoyancy or volunteering at the local high school to teach about shop safety and welding.”
Brad Christin is a senior majoring in geography and Spanish, with a minor in environmental studies. Passionate about travel, Christin also values international community involvement. Having participated in three mission trips and two semesters studying abroad in Spain, he is ready for the challenges and rewards of Peace Corps service.
“I decided to apply to the Peace Corps due to a combined love for international travel and volunteer work,” Christin said.
Christin will serve in Paraguay as an environmental educator, where he will teach rural communities about the importance of environmental sustainability. He hopes to cultivate an interest in conservation and motivate people to strive for environmental improvement.
“I’m hoping to pursue a career in international development, and the Peace Corps is the perfect start,” said Christin.
As a Peace Corps Prep student, Christin volunteered at the horticulture center, where he grew vegetables as part of an independent study project.
“I would never have obtained all these skills without starting with the Peace Corps Prep program,” Christin said.
Roommates, Plonczynski and Christin have gone through the Peace Corps application process together. The pair prepped for interviews and helped each other keep up with deadlines.
“Being able to go through this process with Brad was amazing,” said Plonczynski. “It was so great to be able to talk to someone else going through the exact same thing as you and being able to help one another with anything.”
Plonczynski departs for South Africa in July, and Christin will leave for Paraguay in September.
“I know that he will do great thing in Paraguay and cannot wait to hear them when we get back,” said Plonczynski.
Peace Corps has posted new positions all over the world in every sector, and those graduating in 2018 are encouraged to apply now. Campus Recruiter Hunter Ryan is available to help with applications through June 30.
Those interested in starting Peace Corps Prep in the fall can sign up now to be notified when the application opens.
Sarah Aten is the Stevenson Center’s public relations intern.