November 14, 2003 - University of Washington Daily: Peace Corps Volunteer Sharon Bogan works in Ecuador

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ecuador: Peace Corps Ecuador : The Peace Corps in Ecuador: November 14, 2003 - University of Washington Daily: Peace Corps Volunteer Sharon Bogan works in Ecuador

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Sunday, November 30, 2003 - 2:17 pm: Edit Post

Peace Corps Volunteer Sharon Bogan works in Ecuador

Peace Corps Volunteer Sharon Bogan works in Ecuador

Keeping the peace

Courtesy photo / Sharon Bogan

Working in Ecuador, Sharon Bogan, left, Peace Corps volunteer, milks a cow as her friend, Juan Carlos, a resident of the nearby agricultural town Chone, stands by observing the process. In addition to agricultural duties Bogan worked to inform locals and youth about HIV prevention.

by Lauren Brisbo / Contributing writer


From the sea of graduating UW students that plans on entering the workforce this spring emerges a small group of men and women whose pre-graduation tasks include small-pox vaccinations and culture-shock seminars rather than job interviews and resumes.

As the motto goes, Peace Corps is “the toughest job you’ll ever love.” While this claim may seem slightly ominous, it is precisely this sense of adventure and challenge that draws many recent college graduates to the Peace Corps each year.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in comparative religion, UW graduate student Cara Johnson decided the Peace Corps would be a rewarding way to gain valuable work and life experience while working toward her master’s degree.

Johnson fondly reminisces about her past traveling experiences in 14 countries, and confidently expresses her reasoning for participating in the Peace Corps program.

“Traveling is education,” Johnson said. “I am growing, learning to communicate in a new language and gaining the experience that I need for my future job.”

Johnson is one of seven graduate students participating in the Peace Corps Masters International program (PCMI) at the UW — a collaboration between the Peace Corps and the Evans School of Public Affairs.

Students accepted to the PCMI program spend three quarters studying at the UW, two years serving in the Peace Corps and one final quarter back at the UW to debrief and write a master’s thesis.

As the sole male participant in the PCMI program this year, Bion Bliss offers a unique perspective to the group.

After graduating from Davidson College in the spring of 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Bliss decided that the PCMI program would help him enter the job market, while simultaneously studying to receive his master’s.

“I don’t view the Peace Corps as ‘taking time off,’ rather, I view this experience as something that will enhance my career and personal goals and help me get my foot in the door,” said Bliss.

When asked what he would miss most about the United States during his two-year tenure in the Peace Corps, Bliss pensively paused momentarily, grinned and replied, “Definitely NFL football and the release of Star Wars (episode) three.”

Johnson and Bliss are both set to depart for the Peace Corps at the end of this academic year.

Bliss hopes to be assigned to an African or Latin American country, noting that a previous trip to the Dominican Republic was the catalyst his interest in Latin American culture.

Both Johnson and Bliss mentioned they have received much positive reinforcement from family and peers about their participation in the Peace Corps.

As the son of two Peace Corps volunteers, it is no wonder Bliss’ family would be so supportive of his decision to participate in the program.

While Johnson and Bliss are undoubtedly confident in the Peace Corps program, both have unavoidable apprehensions about their upcoming trips.

On top of learning a new language, acclimating to a new culture and working on appointed community projects, volunteers are also faced with the hardship of being distanced from friends and family for two years.

“It’s going to be harder to create a support network because of language and cultural barriers,” Bliss said.

Johnson said she is fearful she may be the recipient of anti-American sentiment in the country in which she will be stationed.

“I am afraid that community members will resent some of the actions of America, and therefore resent me as an American,” said Johnson.

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Story Source: University of Washington Daily

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Ecuador



By rdollinger ( - on Thursday, April 29, 2004 - 5:32 pm: Edit Post

If this is the Sharon Bogan that worked at Keycom in Schaumburg, Il. a friend by the name of Randy Dollinger would like to say 'hi'. I'm leaving my email address if you would like to contact me.

By Bill Mellor ( - on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 1:52 am: Edit Post

If this is the Sharon Bogan who lived at 4024 Castor Ave. in Philadelphia and went to Hopkinson Elementary School, Bill Mellor would like you to contact him at

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