Peace Corps staffer returns to Elon
Erin Lawless ’03 visited campus in February and spoke with students about her experiences in the Peace Corps.
By Brittany Barker ’19
An Elon University graduate who has dedicated her career to serving global communities returned to campus in February to visit with students and share stories from her work in the Peace Corps.
Erin Lawless ’03 currently serves as deputy chief of programming and evaluation in the Peace Corps and was a 2012 “Top 10 Under 10” Award recipient through Elon University’s Office of Alumni Engagement.
The Top 10 Under 10 Award is given to graduates who have graduated in the past 10 years and continuously achieve new levels of success, work to elevate their communities and are loyal alumni role models.
Her most recent visit was spurred by an invitation from the Periclean Scholars program, she said. “My main focus has been meeting with the Class of 2018 and attending classes to talk about my experiences, helping them prepare to carry out a project in Zambia,” Lawless said.
She also delivered a presentation to students interested in joining the Peace Corps. There are currently six Elon alumni serving in the Peace Corps.
On campus, Elon's Peace Corps Prep Program now offers tracks in three of the six Peace Corps service areas. Although participation in Peace Corps Prep doesn’t guarantee that applicants will be accepted as volunteers, the specialized curriculum and experience makes them strong candidates for service.
To date, every Elon student who has completed the prep program and applied to the Peace Corps has been offered a position.
As a student Lawless found herself invested in service projects each summer and winter break. She said that Elon does well preparing students to become global citizens and focusing on projects that most benefit communities.
She said she wants to make sure that all students know there are opportunities to serve.
“I was a health volunteer in ’07, and I was able to start my own official nonprofit organization, Hope of the Generation Uganda,” Lawless said. “The number of opportunities Elon had to offer helped me get there, and gave me the opportunity to interact with people of different cultures than my own.”