“From a young age serving in the Peace Corps was something I had hoped was in my future. I was excited by the opportunity to exchange skills and knowledge, represent the United States, and make new friends and family around the world,” Haley Ehlers said.
The Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development will soon welcome Ehlers as a Peace Corps Fellow in political science. Ehlers is looking forward to getting started.
“I am hoping to enhance my nonprofit administrative and resource development experience with skills in advocacy, data analysis, and policy analysis. I look forward to expanding my perspective by discussing topics of community and economic development with other Fellows in the program,” she said.
Ehlers earned a bachelor’s in business administration with a concentration in marketing and a minor in nonprofit leadership at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.
After graduating, she used her academic and professional skills to serve as a community economic development volunteer with the Peace Corps in Timor-Leste from 2016 to 2018. Ehler’s primary assignment consisted of supporting a rural savings and loan cooperative. Additional projects included assisting health professionals in monitoring child nutrition, collaborating with other volunteers and counterparts to host Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World), and helping local teachers revise their curriculum and tracking methods.
After her service in Timor-Leste, Ehlers worked in resource development at a Boys and Girls Club in her home state of Oregon. Now she will build on those experiences as she pursues a master’s degree.
“I found great value in the interdisciplinary nature of my undergraduate studies, which is what initially piqued my interest in the Peace Corps Fellows program at the Stevenson Center at Illinois State University,” she said.
Ehlers has a surprising local connection.
“My mom has worked at Country Financial here in Oregon for 30 years, and when I was a kid she would go on business trips to Bloomington-Normal a few times a year. I’m excited to explore this place I always heard the name of, but never really knew,” she said.
Through its applied, interdisciplinary graduate programs, the Stevenson Center cultivates leaders in public service. The center welcomes those who have at least one year of full-time experience in community development or social services, whether through employment or programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps. The Stevenson Center also manages the Peace Corps Prep program for undergraduate students interested in Peace Corps service or careers in the public sector.
Shaylin Quaid is the Stevenson Center’s public relations intern.