College News

Recent Macalester graduates depart for Peace Corps

September 19, 2013

CATEGORY: College News

Anna French
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Clare MacMillen - Photo credit: Jim Matthews/Press-Gazette
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Jesse Yourish
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St. Paul, Minn. - Three recent Macalester College graduates will be gaining valuable international experience and making a difference in the lives of others through Peace Corps service.

Anna French, 22, who earned her bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience Studies earlier this year, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will go to Senegal to begin training as an agricultural extension volunteer. The Omaha, Neb., native will help local farmers and communities understand and implement more sustainable practices in food production, focusing on soil management, beekeeping, income generation, and sustainable living.

Clare MacMillen, 22, earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology and is from Sturgeon Bay, Wis.  She is in Cameroon where she is an agroforestry volunteer. These volunteers help communities conserve natural resources by working on projects such as soil conservation, watershed management and flood control; other projects include production of sustainable fuels, improvement of agro-forestry practices such as fruit production, building live fences and alley cropping and preservation of biodiversity, sometimes near national parks or other reserves.

Jesse Yourish, 22, also graduated from Macalester this year. He majored in Geography and minored in Statistics and will be training as an education volunteer in Mozambique. The Port Townsend, Wash., native will teach math to secondary school students.

“I want to experience somewhere new and pass along the education and support I have received,” Yourish said.

With a service-minded campus culture and emphasis on global perspectives, Macalester provides excellent preparation for Peace Corps service; in fact, the college is currently one of Peace Corps’ top colleges nationwide in producing volunteers. With 15 alumni currently serving, Macalester ranks No. 18 among small colleges and universities.

In Senegal, Cameroon and Mozambique, French, MacMillen and Yourish will complete three months of technical, language, health, and safety training before being sworn in to service and assigned to a community. They’ll work on sustainable, community-driven development projects that make a difference for the people of their communities and provide leadership and cross-cultural skills they can use throughout their careers.

Other benefits available to the three Macalester alumni as Peace Corps volunteers include: full health and dental coverage in service; paid living expenses in service and a $7,425 readjustment allowance upon completion of service; deferment or partial cancellation for some student loans; lifelong eligibility for special graduate school programs with financial assistance; and job placement support and a federal employment advantage upon return to the U.S.

More than 350 Macalester alumni have served as Peace Corps volunteers since the agency was created in 1961.

Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 210,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 8,073 volunteers are working with local communities in 76 host countries in agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit peacecorps.gov for more information.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 2,011 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement. Learn more at macalester.edu.