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Jake Hamilton, a graduate student in WIU's Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration and returned Peace Corps volunteer, is the new Peace Corps Prep Program recruiter at Western Illinois University.
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Peace Corps to Visit WIU Sept. 3-4; Peace Car to be at Sept. 3 Ag Day/Leatherneck Football Season Opener

September 2, 2015

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MACOMB, IL — Peace Corps recruiters will visit Western Illinois University Thursday and Friday, Sept. 3-4, to speak with students and faculty about the personal and professional benefits of living and working in an international community. In addition, the Peace Car, an eco-friendly Smart Car decked out with the Peace Corps logo, will make its first visit to Western's campus and will be photographed with WIU's mascot, Colonel Rock III.

More than 358 WIU alumni have served as Peace Corps volunteers since the agency's inception in 1961. To build on that legacy, returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs) Jessica Vig, Travis Bluemling and Jake Hamilton, with the Peace Car, will be recruiting for the Peace Corps, as they tailgate north of Hanson Field at WIU's Ag Day, set from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, before the Fighting Leathernecks season opener football game. Returned volunteers from the campus community and Macomb are urged to stop by, take a photo from the Peace Car and meet with those considering service.

Hamilton (Pekin, IL), a graduate student in the WIU Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration and an RPCV from Morocco, is the new on-campus recruiter for the Peace Corps Prep Program at Western and will work with students throughout the school year interested in Peace Corps.

"The Peace Corps is a challenge that one can only be fully prepared for by doing it. That is part of the fun and growing experience," Hamilton explained.

As WIU's dedicated Peace Corps Prep Program recruiter, he's also available to share his experiences and help students apply to the Peace Corps.

"Communities around the world need volunteers with skills in education, health and agriculture, and many WIU students would be competitive applicants for these assignments. Peace Corps is a one-of-a-kind leadership experience that allows you to launch a career and make a difference around the world," he added.

While on campus this week, Peace Corps staff members Vig, who was a Peace Corps volunteer in South Africa, and Bluemling, who served in Indonesia, will also share their experiences and answer questions about the Peace Corps application process. Those wishing to depart in the spring or summer of 2016 can browse available jobs at and should apply by Oct. 1.

The Peace Car, which has made appearances at community parades, farmers' markets, university campuses and events for returned volunteers throughout the Midwest this summer, will be making its first stop at WIU and will be photographed with Colonel Rock III Friday morning.

A Fruitful Partnership

Many Western students and alumni have pursued paths in international service, including current senior Alyssa Detrick (Macomb, IL). Detrick will graduate from Western in December with a bachelor's degree in biology and Spanish, and early next winter, she will begin as a Peace Corps health volunteer in Tanzania.

"I think my education and experience at WIU have helped prepare me for service. My background in biology and many of the classes I have taken have been based on learning about other cultures and how to be a better global citizen," said Detrick, who will tackle issues including HIV prevention, maternal and child nutrition, water sanitation and malaria prevention in Tanzania. "I am excited to be able to apply what I have learned through WIU and my personal experiences to make a difference in the world."

WIU hosts several programs that cultivate a campus culture that supports Peace Corps volunteers before and after they serve. WIU undergraduate students are encouraged to participate in the university's Peace Corps Prep Program, which will celebrate its first anniversary this fall. The program offers a specialized curriculum that prepares students for Peace Corps service or other international career opportunities through language, skills and service training.

WIU also offers educational benefits to returned Peace Corps volunteers through the University's Peace Corps Program in Community Development, a Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program. Students can earn master's degrees in the areas of business administration; economics; educational studies; geography; health sciences; political science; sociology; and recreation, park and tourism administration–all while they serve in internships in rural Illinois communities and build on the skills they gained abroad.

To learn more about upcoming Peace Corps events at WIU or the Peace Corps application process, contact Hamilton at (309) 298-3685 or via email

Browse Peace Corps positions at, choose the country and assignment that fits your skills and preferences, and apply by Oct. 1 to depart in the spring or summer of 2016.

Learn more about the Peace Corps at

The Peace Corps Program in Community Development is a program of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, which is housed at Western Illinois University.

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