April 25, 2005: Headlines: COS - Zambia: Winston-Salem Journal: After two years at Hickory Chair, Heather Wall applied to the Peace Corps and was sent to Zambia

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Zambia: Peace Corps Zambia : The Peace Corps in Zambia: April 25, 2005: Headlines: COS - Zambia: Winston-Salem Journal: After two years at Hickory Chair, Heather Wall applied to the Peace Corps and was sent to Zambia

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-245-37.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.245.37) on Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 4:02 pm: Edit Post

After two years at Hickory Chair, Heather Wall applied to the Peace Corps and was sent to Zambia

After two years at Hickory Chair, Heather Wall applied to the Peace Corps and was sent to Zambia

After two years at Hickory Chair, Heather Wall applied to the Peace Corps and was sent to Zambia

Working for the World: Recent graduates struggle with choosing to enter work force or join the Peace Corps

By Mary Giunca
JOURNAL REPORTER

[Excerpt]

As graduation approached, Heather Wall said she was torn by two impulses: to go into the Peace Corps or to put her interior-design degree from Salem College to work.

"We just spent all this money on an education," she said, remembering how she weighed the decision, "so I've got an offer for something I've spent four years getting a degree in."

For Wall, 26, the decision to go into the working world won out - at least for two years. In 2000, she became one of the youngest sales reps in the Hickory Chair Co.'s history.

But the Peace Corps wouldn't go away.

"There was this nagging thought at the back of my mind that I wasn't dong this thing I'd always wanted to do," she said.

Wall's story illustrates the problem many college students face in a country whose work ethic is famous throughout the world, but one in which the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have renewed a sense of service and a desire to understand how the rest of the world lives.

The humanitarian impulse is thriving on college campuses, said Bill Currin, Wake Forest University's director of career services.

"These are students who have a global view, and they want to make a difference," Currin said.

For fiscal year 2001 (which ended Sept. 30), 5,579 people in their 20s applied to the Peace Corps. By 2002, the number of applications from people in their 20s had risen to 6,936. In 2004, that number reached 9,951. More Americans are serving in the Peace Corps now than in the past 29 years, said Jennifer Borgen with the Peace Corps.

This year Wake Forest University made the Top 25 list of small schools who send graduates into the Peace Corps. The school is ranked No. 22, with 17 alumni currently serving as volunteers.

Since the Peace Corps began in 1961, 153 Wake Forest alumni have served.

That record is the result of what Betsy Taylor, the director of the Pro Humanitate Center, calls "a culture of service."

The center was established with a $1.9 million Lilly Endowment grant in the summer of 2002. The center coordinates service trips to the Third World, sponsors retreats and acts as a clearinghouse for information on service internships, grants and fellowships.

After two years at Hickory Chair, Wall applied to the Peace Corps and was sent to Zambia.

As the daughter of a Methodist minister, Wall said that she was raised with the idea of serving others. The decision to serve isn't easy for everyone, she said.

"I feel like a lot of my friends are under pressure to achieve these items," she said. "I have friends my age who are moving into 3,500-square-foot homes, buying these cars and moving into second homes. When they see someone else achieving more, it makes them angry."

Wall said that now that she is back home, she sometimes worries that her Peace Corps experience causes employers to look at her differently from other recent graduates.

"I feel that my Peace Corps experience hurts me professionally," she said. "When companies look at my resume, it throws them off. They don't know what my direction is. They fear that I might go off somewhere else."

Yet, she doesn't regret the experience.

"I have these things that I feel passionate about," she said, "but when I look at my time in the Peace Corps, even when I struggled there was always a purpose there."

Mary Giunca can be reached at 727-4089 or at mgiunca@wsjournal.com





When this story was posted in May 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:


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May 7, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: May 7 2005 No: 583 May 7, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
"Peace Corps Online" on recess until May 21 7 May
Carol Bellamy taking the reins at World Learning 7 May
Gopal Khanna appointed White House CFO 7 May
Clare Bastable named Conservationist of the Year 7 May
Director Gaddi Vasquez visits PCVs in Bulgaria 5 May
Abe Pena sets up scholarship fund 5 May
Peace Corps closes recruiting sites 4 May
Hill pessimistic over Korean nuclear program 4 May
Leslie Hawke says PC should split into two organizations 4 May
Peace Corps helps students find themselves 3 May
Kevin Griffith's Tsunami Assistance Project collects 50k 3 May
Tim Wright studied Quechua at UCLA 2 May
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Dodd discusses President's Social Security plan 1 May
Randy Mager works in Blue Moon Safaris 1 May
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May 7, 2005:  Special Events Date: May 7 2005 No: 582 May 7, 2005: Special Events
"Iowa in Ghana" on exhibit in Waterloo through June 30
"American Taboo" author Phil Weiss in Maryland on June 18
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RPCV Writers scholarship in Baltimore - deadline June 1
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RPCVs: Post your stories or press releases here for inclusion next week.

Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000  strong Date: April 2 2005 No: 543 Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000 strong
170,000 is a very special number for the RPCV community - it's the number of Volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961. It's also a number that is very special to us because March is the first month since our founding in January, 2001 that our readership has exceeded 170,000. And while we know that not everyone who comes to this site is an RPCV, they are all "Friends of the Peace Corps." Thanks everybody for making PCOL your source of news for the Returned Volunteer community.


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Story Source: Winston-Salem Journal

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

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