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International Studies Program

Physical Address:
338 Administration Building

Mailing Address:
Program in International Studies
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3177
Moscow, ID 83844-3177

Phone: 208-885-6527

Fax: 208-885-9464

Email: is@uidaho.edu

Web: Map

Faculty and Staff International Studies

Peace Corps

Many International Studies Alumni have chosen to serve in the Peace Corp after graduating from the University of Idaho. We love seeing our students apply what they have learned in a way that is making a difference in the world.

“The Peace Corps is a service opportunity for motivated changemakers to immerse themselves in a community abroad, working side by side with local leaders to tackle the most pressing challenges of our generation.” – Peace Corps

Africa

Ali Jo Nuckles – Senegal (2015-2017)

As part of the Community Economic Development Program in Peace Corps Senegal, I worked primarily with women’s groups and youth to promote income generation and self-employment.

Partnering with the mayor’s office, I started a Young Entrepreneur’s Club for middle school age students to increase general business knowledge, set goals, plan for the future, and, of course, have fun!

I was also a founding member of the Saloum Business Development Camp that taught people everything related to business, from creating a business idea to writing a business plan.

Senegal is known as “Le Pays de Terranga,” the country of hospitality, which is exactly what I found during my time there. My Peace Corps memories will stay with me forever.

Ali Nuckles in Senegal
Ali Nuckles in Senegal, Africa

Kim Castelin – Madagascar (2013-2015)

As a Rural Food Security and Agriculture volunteer, I was supposed to contribute to food security by providing technical assistance in agricultural production. Upon arriving in Ampondralava, Madagascar, however, I realized that there was nothing I could tell a Magalasy person about growing rice that they didn’t already know.

Upon my community’s request, I taught English lessons, created workshops on using mosquito netting to reduce malaria, built latrines and hand-washing stations, and tutored math, among many other things.

I spent the majority of my time in the Peace Corps learning and giving back when and where I could. There will always be a piece of me left in Ampondralava and I am grateful that I was given the chance to live such a remarkable experience with such dynamic humans.

Kim Castelin in Madagascar
Kim Castelin in Ampondralava, Madagascar

Asia

Brady Fuller – Cambodia (2016-2018)

I am an English teacher and Teacher Trainer working in rural high schools in northern Cambodia.

While two years may sound like a long time, the Peace Corps has given me the unique opportunity to really become a member of my community. By building lasting relationships with my host family, my students, the village leaders, even the fruit sellers I pass, I was able to make a more sustainable impact on the community I came to serve.

Like all things in life, it has been an experience filled with moments of triumph and moments of frustration. Nevertheless, it was through highs and lows that I was shaped into a better, more active global citizen.

Brady Fuller in Cambodia
Brady Fuller with some of his students in Cambodia

Steffan Perez – Indonesia (2013-2015)

My assignment, to teach English to high school students, was never something I planned on doing in my life. I was placed in a vocational high school and had little support from staff or students.

After weeks of feeling relatively useless, I came up with an idea to start a conversational English club. Only a handful of students joined at first, but word spread, and the club quickly grew. The discussion topics ranged from music and movies to current events. Allowing the students to pick the topics empowered their desire to learn.

I started off feeling not so confident, but I left feeling like I was the lucky one in this whole adventure. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Steffan Perez in Indonesia
Steffan Perez serving in Indonesia

Latin America and Caribbean

Mariela Vázquez – Dominican Republic

During my service in the Dominican Republic, I focused on a sustainable library project, implementing the Ministry of Education’s reformed programs by providing primary literacy tutoring to first, second and third grade students as well as tutoring for fourth, fifth and sixth graders.

I also coordinated a capacity building teacher conference for the 23 educational centers in my municipality.

In my spare time, I partnered with the Foundation for International Medical Relief for Children to bring mobile clinics to rural communities.

After this experience, I can say that I have never cried harder, loved more purely, been more enraged, laughed longer… I have never lived a better life filled solely with the simplest of joys.

Mariela Vazquez in the Dominican Republic
Mariela Vazquez in the Dominican Republic

Michelle Polansky – Peru

As a Community Health Educator, my service had two main focuses: healthy homes and families; and sexual education for teenagers, including pregnancy and disease prevention.

I worked closely with the district’s health center and high school to reach the community and execute my projects. I also got to do a few passion projects, including a library project.

Illiteracy in rural Peru is quite high, but with some help, I was able to put a variety of books in each classroom and get teachers to design a reading program to promote not only pleasure reading, but comprehension.

I had countless incredible moments, but by no means was my service a do-gooder’s fairy tale full of satisfaction and successes. There were many times of frustration, sadness and even defeat – but I would never change any of it.

Michelle Polansky in Peru
Michelle Polansky in Peru

Zach Nostdal – Guatemala (2008-2010) 

As a volunteer in the Rural Home Preventative Health Program in Santa Barbara, Guatemala, I worked with the Guatemalan Ministry of Health to train community health workers.

A normal day for me consisted of hiking with staff from the local clinic to nearby rural communities to give a presentation and stopping by houses on the way to talk to people.

I really treasure the time I spent in the Peace Corps and know that I made a difference.

Zach Nostdal in Guatemala
Zach Nostdal in Guatemala

Europe

Erin McGown – Georgia (2017-2019)

As an Individual and Organizational Development volunteer, my primary project is to help build the capacity of the Local Democracy Agency Georgia.

With the Local Democracy Agency, I implement projects like One Billion Rising, a campaign to raise awareness about gender-based violence in Georgia.

I am also involved in several Peace Corps committees, including the Small Project Assistance (SPA) grant committee and the Model United Nations, among others.

I currently live with a host family, am learning Georgian and hope to know at least one Georgian dance by the time I leave!

Erin McGown in the country of Georgia
Erin McGown (left) and her conference partner at the Model United Nations in Georgia

Oceania

Kevin Gunter – Vanuatu (2006-2008)

I began my service as a Community Health Facilitator on the island of Epi where I worked alongside village health workers to strengthen and improve community support, facility and supply chain management, and infrastructure development.

I worked with communities to rebuild health centers, water supply systems and a primary school destroyed by a hurricane.

Additionally, I learned an immense amount of personal and social skills that I carry with me in both my personal and work life. Peace Corps was a life-changing event and propelled me to continue my education and career in International Relations and Global Health.

Kevin Gunter in Vanuatu
Kevin Gunter in Vanuatu after the completion of a rural aid post

International Studies Program

Physical Address:
338 Administration Building

Mailing Address:
Program in International Studies
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3177
Moscow, ID 83844-3177

Phone: 208-885-6527

Fax: 208-885-9464

Email: is@uidaho.edu

Web: Map

Faculty and Staff International Studies