10 Elon students earn Peace Corps Prep certificates

After being recognized in 2021 as a top ten Peace Corps Partner University, ten more Elon students received certificates for successfully completing the Peace Corps Prep program.

Catherine Stallsmith, Lauren Whyte, Grace Contino, and Taylor Rudtner stand with their Peace Corps Prep certificates near Alamance Fountain.

Ten Elon students completed the requirements for Elon’s Peace Corps Prep Program during the 2021-2022 academic year, earning them a Peace Corps Prep certificate. Elon has been consistently recognized as a top producer of Peace Corps volunteers, ranking No. 7 among 150 partner universities for the number of Peace Corps Prep certificates awarded in 2021.

Elon students recognized for completing the Peace Corps Prep Program in 2022:

  • Grace Contino
  • Skylar Flechsig
  • Katie Grinnell
  • Josie Malone
  • Taylor Rudtner
  • Juliana Schiano
  • Catherine Stallsmith
  • Ashley Tatum
  • Lauren Whyte
  • Sophie Winston

The university’s Peace Corps Prep Program prepares students for international service through mentoring, coursework and field experiences. Through the program, students develop four competencies: training and experience in a specific work sector, foreign language proficiency, intercultural competency, and professional leadership and development skills. The program includes all six Peace Corps service areas—Agriculture, Community Economic Development, Education, Environment, Health and Youth in Development.

The program is directed by Assistant Professor of English Jennifer Eidum, who previously served as a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine.

Catherine Stallsmith ‘22 reflects on her Peace Corps Prep journey as she prepares to move to Washington D.C. to begin her career as Coordinator for Civics Partnerships for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

“My favorite Peace Corps Prep class I took was Global Health,” Stallsmith says. “I learned so much about the politics of health and how organizations handle health crises and risk management.”

Sophie Winston ‘22 reflects on her experience taking a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) course to fulfill the Peace Corps Prep program requirements. This gave her the opportunity to partner with Alamance Community College, helping people learn more about the English language and American culture in adult ESL classes.

Winston encourages students to experiment with service-learning for all different age groups. “You might find that you like TESOL in groups of people you never expected to,” Winston says. “ Even though it was during COVID, I loved working with adults and getting to play such a huge role in the classroom.”

Grace Contino ‘22 describes working with a local community partner, Down Home NC, as part of the Peace Corps service requirements. This allowed her to better understand the challenges the community was facing prior to the 2020 election. After graduation, Contino plans to move to Spain and teach English in partnership with the country’s government.

When asked what advice she has for future Peace Corps Prep students, Contino reflects on the language component of the Peace Corps Prep curriculum.

“Take more than the required number of language classes,” Contino encourages students. “I always enjoyed having Spanish class to break up my major course-related work.”