Elon experience helped prepare Josh Kaufmann ’15 for Peace Corps

His passion for community-based work and leadership roles while at Elon helped prepare Kaufman for a meaningful Peace Corps experience.

By Kristin Moore '19

Josh Kaufmann points to his experiences at Elon as helping to ensure the two years he spent with the Peace Corps following graduation were meaningful. His leadership roles for a variety of organizations and his extensive community-based work were key to preparing him for what he would encounter in Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Josh Kaufmann '15 during his time in Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer.
A 2015 graduate, Kaufmann majored in psychology and minored in public health studies, women’s and gender studies and sociology. He was actively involved across campus, serving many different roles in his community.

His passion for service was evident as he served as Alternative Breaks director and Safe Rides transport coordinator for Elon University’s Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement, senior class vice president and College of Arts and Sciences senator in the Student Government Association, and a health promotion team leader for SPARKS Peer Education.

Kaufmann credits these organizations with challenging him to think differently about social issues and what he as an individual can do to help. With graduation on the horizon, Kaufmann wanted to continue to take his Experiences at Elon and apply them to a full-time position.

“When thinking about life after Elon, I knew I wanted to continue to help marginalized communities and help those in need,” said Kaufmann.

A passion for service and engaging in the community along with a love for learning led Kaufmann to spend two years in Thailand through the Peace Corps. 

“With so many different opportunities to sift through for post-graduation, I knew I wanted to be part of something bigger than I am, and I felt that through the Peace Corps program I could accomplish this,” says Kaufmann. “Through the Peace Corps, I was able to collaborate with local government agencies, teachers, and communities to identify the needs of marginalized youth to develop programs to enhance positive communication, problem-solving and critical thinking skills of primary school students.”

While the Peace Corps is not for everyone, Kaufmann urges anyone that even has the slightest interest in the program to apply. “I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to apply what I had learned at Elon to try and solve pressing social issues that still exist,” said Kaufmann. “The Peace Corps was definitely one of the toughest things I have ever done, but my time in Thailand has reshaped my worldview and the way I think about national and international development. I can’t thank Elon enough for preparing me for this experience.”