October 22, 2001 - Washington Post: In Pursuit of Idealism

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2001: 10 October 2001 Peace Corps Headlines: October 22, 2001 - Washington Post: In Pursuit of Idealism

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 6:36 pm: Edit Post

Read this story from the Washington Post on how in the aftermath of September 11 many young people are deciding to dedicate their lives to public service:

In Pursuit of Idealism

In Pursuit of Idealism

By Neil Irwin and Amy Joyce
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, October 22, 2001; Page E01


Kristine Kippins had everything planned: business degree from the University of Pennsylvania's prestigious Wharton School, internships at Goldman Sachs and other top Wall Street firms, then a high-paying job as a financier.

"Nothing could be more exciting than being on a trading floor," she said last week on campus, where her plans were working out to a T. "Any trading floor."

Then came the Tuesday in September when she screamed and cried as she watched on television the collapse of the World Trade Center, where her mother used to work and where a high school friend was trapped that day and is presumed to have died.

Now, Kippins wants to join the Peace Corps after she graduates in May. After that, she plans to go into politics and, eventually, run for Congress.

"Wall Street just doesn't seem very important anymore," she said.

National crises have always drawn people to the national capital, many of them the "best and brightest." The Sept. 11 attacks and the war on terrorism, combined with a slumping economy that has made private-sector jobs more scarce, have brought with them a heightened sense of public service. That might spur a generation of elites who once shunned government work in favor high-octane business careers to reconsider.

It could be enough to make Washington -- the older, limestone-building kind -- cool again.


Kippins, the would-be financier who now aspires to join the Peace Corps, cried as she recalled Sept. 11. She grew up in Queens and went to school in the shadow of the Trade Center.

"It's not quite like going home now. The last time I went home, I drove over the 59th Street Bridge and looked down and the Trade Center wasn't there. It kind of hit me," she said. "I hate feeling helpless."

Her way of helping is to toss out plans for a life of million-dollar bonuses and fast-paced securities trading for a volunteer gig in a developing country with the Peace Corps.

"I don't care where they put me. I just want to help out," she said. "Anybody in the Peace Corps is kind of an ambassador for the U.S. Hopefully if just a couple of people could see that we're not all that bad it could make a difference."

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