A Richmond student, Elizabeth Ezzelle, who is due to graduate this December and is majoring in Art History and Visual Culture with a minor in Film Studies, has just accepted a highly prestigious position with the Peace Corps, a programme run by the United States Federal Government which provides developmental aid to various countries around the world.
Elizabeth will be serving in Mongolia as an English Education Teacher, starting in June 2019 and returning in mid-2021. She is planning on returning to the UK for post-graduate studies in Art History.
Jamie Macleod, Associate Dean of Student Leadership at Richmond, said, “Elizabeth has done a fantastic job as our Peer Mentor Coordinator, it’s wonderful to see her taking on such a prestigious service role with the Peace Corps. We’re very proud of her achievement.“
The Peace Corps was enacted in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. The programme consists of about 220,000 volunteers across 141 countries. There are six main sectors of aid in the Peace Corps: economic, agriculture, health, environment, youth in development, and education.
In order to be selected for the Peace Corps, an applicant must be at least 18 years old, a US citizen, and have a Bachelor’s Degree or significant work experience relating to their developmental sector. A volunteer will be on placement for two years, after an additional five/six month training period in-country. They are completely immersed in the community they are working with for those two years and expected to live in the same conditions as the community, eg in a yurt without running water or internet. Upon completion of service, volunteers receive a variety of benefits, thanks to the status of this prestigious programme within the US.
Elizabeth said, “My application process involved various meetings with recruiters, a written application, references, two long interviews, and medical and legal clearances. It was a rigorous and, at times gruelling, process.
“Eventually, I would like to pursue work as an academic/professor, which I think the Peace Corps education experiences will support. When applying, I expressed an interest in Asian culture and history because of my art history studies in university, thus placing me in Mongolia.”
“My experiences at Richmond definitely helped me with the application for the Peace Corps. My work in the Peer Mentor programme was a huge strength for my application, especially for the education sector. Also, the University’s emphasis on volunteering and service, and its benefits, definitely motivated me to look into further service opportunities past graduation. The international environment of Richmond, which fostered such a valuable experience, propelled my desire to continue my global experiences. I am particularly excited to be fully saturated in another culture during my service.”