Peace Corps Prep

Peace Corps Prep Program

Peace Corps Prep is a program for Saint Michael’s students who are interested in serving as Peace Corps volunteers after graduating.  Since its founding in 1961, the Peace Corps has attracted students with liberal education backgrounds and strong leadership skills who wish to make a difference in the lives of other people overseas, while increasing their appreciation of the world beyond the United States.  In 2015 the Peace Corps recognized Saint Michael's as one of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities in the country, and it is one of a select few colleges to offer a Peace Corps Prep program

The Peace Corps Prep curriculum allows students flexibility in pursuing academic and co-curricular experiences common to a Saint Michael’s undergraduate education.  Students majoring in most disciplines are able to participate in the program, and many of the co-curricular opportunities available to students at Saint Michael’s provide excellent preparation for the Peace Corps.  Peace Corps Prep is a two-year program, with students applying to the program as early as the second semester of their freshman year, and at the latest by the start of their junior year.  For specifics on course choices, students should consult with the College Peace Corps Prep coordinator Dan Evans and their major advisor.

The Peace Corps Prep program will prepare you for international development fieldwork and potential Peace Corps service. To accomplish this, you’ll build four core competencies through interrelated coursework, hands-on experience, and professional development support. 

Training and experience in a Peace Corps work sector

Leveraging concrete knowledge and skills is central to on-the-ground international development work. Through this PC Prep program, you will begin to build a professional specialty, which should serve your career well whether or not you become a Peace Corps volunteer. The four work sectors are:

  • Education
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Environmental Studies and Sciences
  • Business Entrepreneurship  

Foreign Language Skills

Working across cultures often entails verbal and nonverbal languages distinct from your own. Building foreign language skills is thus a second key component of the PC Prep curriculum.

Intercultural competence

Engaging thoughtfully and fluidly across cultures begins with one’s own self-awareness. With this learning objective, you will deepen your cultural agility through a mix of three introspective courses in which you learn about others while reflecting upon your own self in relation to others. The goal is for you to build your capacity to shift perspective and behavior around relevant cultural differences. 

Professional and leadership development

International development is a highly professional sector. It is difficult to break into and demands great initiative and leadership to advance professionally within the field. PC Prep requires three specific activities that will strengthen your candidacy for the Peace Corps (or any other professional endeavor):

  • Have your resume critiqued by the Office of Career Development
  • Attend a workshop or class on interview skills at the Office of Career Development
  • Develop at least one significant leadership experience and be prepared to discuss it thoughtfully. For example, organizing a campus event, leading a work or volunteer project, or serving on the executive board of a student organization.

 

Foreign Language Study

Peace Corps Prep participants must be prepared to interact professionally and in service capacities in a foreign language.  Students at Saint Michael’s therefore must have achieved the equivalent of at least the 206 course level or higher in a foreign language.

Global Awareness/International Understanding

At Saint Michael’s College, students interested in the Peace Corps Prep program should seek to better understand the world—especially the developing world—and deepen their cultural agility and ability to reflect upon their own selves in relation to others.  As a baseline to build intercultural competence, students should enroll in AL250 Intercultural Communication, a course which explores the challenges of becoming interculturally competent in a global world.  In addition, ideally towards the end of their having completed the Peace Corps Prep curriculum at Saint Michael’s, students will enroll in GSL689 Peace Corps Orientation Seminar. 

GSL689 is an existing 1-credit orientation course that is offered at Saint Michael’s to provide a more systematic way to help prospective Peace Corps volunteers prepare for the challenges of their upcoming experience. In addition, in consultation with the Peace Corps Prep coordinator, students should construct a three-course thematic concentration that supports global awareness and intercultural understanding reflecting interests and goals. 

Examples of such themes that could be developed through the Saint Michael’s curriculum include:

  • Global Environmental Sustainability
  • Human Rights and Non-Governmental Organizations
  • Intercultural Understanding and Communication
  • International Economics and Development
  • Globalization, Migration, and Communication
  • Conflict, Peace, and Justice
  • Health and Disease
  • Religious Identity and Culture

Saint Michael’s College Peace Corps Primary Service Sector Courses

The Peace Corps seeks participants who have begun to acquire more concrete sector-specific skills central to development work.  Students at Saint Michael’s should take at least three courses to enhance their ability to work ideally in one of the following sectors: education, health, environment, agriculture, youth development or community economic development.  Examples of such courses at Saint Michael’s include:

  • Education
  • Health and  Nutrition
  • Environmental Studies and Sciences
  • Business Entrepreneurship

Co-Curricular Experience and Community Engagement at Saint Michael’s

Peace Corps Prep participants at Saint Michael’s College should complete at least one of the following practical experience or enhancement activities:

  • An internship related to a Peace Corps service sector
  • Study abroad
  • Student teaching
  • A community-engaged learning placement related to a Peace Corps service sector

Jeffrey Ayres, PhD

Professor of Political Science
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B.A. University of Virginia
M.A. and Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Areas of Expertise:

Globalization, Global and Regional Governance, International Relations, Social Movements and Contentious Politics, Canadian and North American Politics

Courses I Teach:

  • Globalization and Resistance
  • Global Governance
  • Global Problems
  • International Relations
  • Politics of the World Economy
  • Social Movements and Contentious Politics
  • U.S. Foreign Policy

Allison Cleary, MA

Instructor, Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts
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M.A. Syracuse University, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
B.A. Kenyon College

Prior to coming to Saint Michael's College in 2006, I was senior editor for Eating Well, a national magazine. With a focus on health, social justice and human interest, I also have edited and written for Reader's Digest Health Publications, Da Capo Press and a variety of consumer, non-profit and corporate publications that include books, magazines, newsletters and websites. 

Courses I Teach:

  • Advanced Writing
  • College Writing
  • Feature Writing & the Magazine
  • Investigative Reporting for Print, Web, Radio & Television
  • Media Studies Internship

I often include an element of community engagement in my courses so that students benefit from real-world challenges and community organizations benefit from student learning.

Laurence Clerfeuille, PhD

Assistant Professor of French

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Klein Hall 108
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Ph.D. University of Southern California
M.A. University of Southern California
M.A. Tulane University
Maitrise in English, Université Michel de Montaigne, Bordeaux, France

Areas of Expertise:

French language, Haitian Literature, Caribbean Literature from Martinique and Guadeloupe, Francophone Literatures and Cultures, Immigration, Beur, North and West African Literatures, 19th and 20th Century French Literature, French History, Civilization and Politics, Women Writers

Courses I Teach:

  • French language
  • Voices of Resistance
  • French grammar and composition

George Dameron, PhD

Professor of History
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Contact Professor Dameron

Durick Library 306
Box 141
802.654.2318
gdameron@smcvt.edu
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Ph.D. Harvard University
M.A. Harvard University
B.A. Duke University

Areas of Expertise:

Medieval and Early Modern Europe; Medieval Italy, with particular focus on thirteenth and fourteenth century Tuscany (social, economic, cultural, political)

Courses I Teach:

  • Ancient and Medieval Civilization
  • The Black Death
  • Culture and Society in Medieval Italy
  • Early Modern Europe
  • The Franciscans
  • The Historian's Craft
  • Honors Colloquium
  • Joan of Arc (First Year Seminar)
  • Medieval Europe
  • Renaissance and Reformation
  • Senior Seminar
  • Topics in Medieval History: (topics vary and include "Women and Gender in the Middle Ages")

Patricia Delaney, PhD

Sociology and Anthropology Department Chair, Associate Professor of Anthropology

Contact Professor Delaney

Saint Edmund's Hall 246
Box 386
802.654.2961
pdelaney@smcvt.edu
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M.A., Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles
B.S. Georgetown University

Areas of Expertise:

Gender and international development; war, conflict, and the contestation of cultural identity; relief to development continuum; poverty and stratification in the global south; grassroots development and participatory approaches; East Timor; Lusophone Africa 

Courses I Teach:

  • Anthropological Perspectives on Gender
  • Gender and International Development
  • Introductory Anthropology
  • Participatory Action Research
  • People and Cultures of the Lusuphone World
  • Life Histories

Dan Evans, PhD

Director, English Language Programs; Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics/TESOL

Contact Professor Evans

Saint Edmund's Hall 137
Box 253
802.654.2264
devans@smcvt.edu
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Bachelor of Journalism, University of Missouri
M.A. and PhD, University of Texas at Austin

Dan started his long career in English language teaching as a Peace Corps volunteer in South Korea in 1971-73 and has been involved in the field ever since.  He is delighted to be able to continue his relationship with Peace Corps by administering two Saint Michael’s programs – Peace Corps Master’s International and Peace Corps Prep.  Before joining the faculty of Saint Michael’s College, he spent 10 years teaching in South Korea and Japan.

Areas of Expertise:

Second-language acquisition theory and methods, attitudes and motivation in second-language learning, acquisition of suprasegmental features of pronunciation, English phonology, and pronunciation teaching.

Courses I Teach:

Theory and Method in Language Teaching
Teaching Oral Skills in ESL/EFL
Practicum II
Peace Corps Orientation Seminar
Various language courses within the English Language Programs

Richard Gamache, M.Ed

Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics/TESOL

Contact Professor Gamache

Saint Edmund's Hall 115
Box 253
802.654.2356
rgamache@smcvt.edu
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B.A., M.Ed. Saint Michael’s College

My Saint Michael's:

I hope my St. Edmund's Hall office, which I've been in for 15 years, is a welcoming space for students, faculty and staff, many of whom stop in for a cup of coffee (I brew a 50-cup coffee urn every day) regularly. In addition to the coffee pot, there's a blackboard (yes blackboard, not whiteboard) on one of my walls which students have signed in on, almost ceremoniously, for years at some point during their stay. Of late, I have lots of gardening tools in my office that we are all using to help plant and maintain the International Garden. One corner of the office is beginning to look like a garden shed!

Jon Hyde, PhD

Associate Professor of Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts; Director, Global Studies Program

Contact Professor Hyde

Jeanmarie Hall 164
Box 284
802.654.2258
jhyde2@smcvt.edu
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M.A., Ph.D. New York University
B.A. Carleton College

Courses I Teach:

  • Digital Film
  • Global Communication
  • Multi-media Design
  • Photography

Additionally, I direct graduate research projects in media education and media literacy.

Professional Experiences:

Prior to teaching at Saint Michael's, I worked in New York City as a journalist, digital animator, and a media developer at the Media Workshop New York, a non-profit organization devoted to issues of media education and media literacy.

Scott Lewins, MS

Instructor of Biology
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Contact Professor Lewins

Cheray Hall 121
Box 283
802.654.2862
slewins@smcvt.edu
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B.S. State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
M.S. University of Maryland

Areas of Expertise:

Entomology, Biological Control, Insect Agroecology, Sustainable Agriculture

Courses I Teach:

  • Applied Insect Ecology
  • Insects and Society
  • Introduction to Cell Biology and Genetics
  • Introduction to Ecology and Evolution

My Saint Michael's:

I have been conduction applied agricultural research on farms throughout Vermont since I moved here in 2006.  My research has focused on biological control of agricultural pests through enhancing native natural enemy communities.  More recently, I have brought my love for field-based research and passion for teaching into the classroom to benefit the students of Saint Michael's College and the University of Vermont.

Outside Saint Michael's:

I enjoy snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, and hiking with my two Bernese Mountain dogs, and cooking and eating great food.

Peace Corps Prep students will be able to collaborate with students in the Peace Corps Master’s International program, including participation in the Special Seminar for prospective Peace Corps volunteers that is currently offered to Master’s International students. In this seminar, you can review important aspects of cross-cultural communication, look at life as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and engage in Skype conversations with real volunteers in the field.

Fluency in foreign languages, international experience, and cross-cultural understanding are highly sought-after assets in today’s global economy. The Peace Corps provides you with up to three months of intensive training before service begins and offers continued training throughout your service.  Volunteers returning from abroad have used their Peace Corps experience as the foundation for successful careers in a variety of fields, from government to business to education.

When volunteers return to the United States, the Peace Corps provides transition assistance related to jobs and education.

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