Peace Corps Master’s International, 2005 Applied Economics
Brian is currently working with iDE Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) dedicated to ending poverty in the developing world. Brian is a Country Director responsible for every aspect of program activities in Ghana, including: overall resource generation for Ghana programs; financial management and accountability; project accountability to individual donors; public identity in Ghana; and country program planning, implementation, and performance review. Brian is focused on providing profitable solutions for sanitation and agriculture markets.
For his Peace Corps service, Brian was an Agribusiness Advisor where he shared drip irrigation with the people of Jalal-Abad in the Kyrgyz Republic as a successful business model. He also established a youth sports soccer league with the goal of reducing interethnic violence. In addition to these projects, Brian was also working in conjunction with a trade organization for agribusinesses.
“Microeconomics helped me understand the concept optimization of resources,” Brian noted. “Other courses like NGO management enabled me to associate the concepts to managing organizations. My practicum in the Peace Corps was an entry point into creating diverse markets in developing countries.”
Peace Corps Master’s International, 2013 Political Science
For her first two years of Peace Corps service (2011-2013), Hillary was a youth development volunteer in the Dominican Republic. Hillary’s role quickly segued into a leadership position where her focus was on helping empowerment groups for the young women in her region grow, giving them the chance to learn about HIV prevention and basic anatomy.
Hillary extended her service for a third year and became a regional Peace Corps Volunteer leader. Hillary’s capstone project involved an examination of children’s rights in the Dominican Republic in relation to the country’s community development endeavors.
Hillary now works at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest as a community engagement specialist. In this position, Hillary is able to schedule and facilitate sexual education presentations, participate in community task forces, develop and make relevant Planned Parenthood resources, support awareness campaigns, and help coordinate various outreach events.
“My graduate experience at the Stevenson Center oriented toward community work with youth and the nonprofit sector,” noted Hillary, recipient of the Department of Politics and Government’s Graduate Student Civic Engagement Award in 2012. “I had an off-campus assistantship with the McLean County Community Compact where I gained experience in nonprofit leadership, community-based development work, and working with youth in several programs and capacities.”
Peace Corps Master’s International, 2011 Sociology
Nicole served at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia for her Peace Corps experience. In her position, Nicole designed and implemented a 15-week community outreach course for students at the university. Additionally, Nicole coordinated 14 in-field HIV and health trainings between university students and local organizations. She also collaborated with a local NGO on issues including micro-finance, project management, and proposal writing.
For her thesis, Nicole researched the types of social networks the citizens of Gondar were associated with and how those networks influenced HIV-related behaviors. This research led Nicole to discover why certain people in particular situations deviated from the norms established by their community in relation to HIV risk behaviors.
Currently, Nicole is an adjunct professor at a local college as well as a Ph.D. student at Antioch University pursuing a degree in environmental studies. Her research is focused on local stakeholder participation in protected area planning and management in Tanzania.“From exposure to an interdisciplinary education to making connections abroad, my experiences at the Stevenson Center played a big role in where am I today,” Nicole says. “My research is probably the most direct example, but also in my career choice. Inspired not only by my own professors and mentors at ISU, I also became an ambassador for applied education, something the Stevenson Center fought tirelessly to keep as a center focus throughout my time there.”