UWM debuts Peace Corps Prep

Students interested in joining the Peace Corps after graduation will be more ready than ever before, thanks to a new undergraduate certificate program.

UW-Milwaukee has partnered with the Peace Corps to offer Peace Corps Prep, a series of classes and requirements for students interested in preparing themselves for a stint with the organization. The program, under the umbrella of the Global and International Studies program, debuts in January 2022.

“Several students in both the Global Studies degree program and the International Studies major express interest in Peace Corps service every year and we have had several graduates in both programs go on to serve in the Peace Corps,” said Christine Wolf, the assistant director both Global Studies and International Studies and the newPeace Corps Prep program coordinator. “This program will help students by giving them a guided pathway through coursework and experiences to make themselves stronger candidates for Peace Corps Service after graduation.”

The Peace Corps, founded in 1961, is a federally-run volunteer program providing international social and economic development assistance around the world.

The Prep program will help students get ready for their applications by helping them develop their language proficiency, hone their skill sets in the different Peace Corps sectors, develop their professional and leadership skills, and increase their cultural competence.

UWM had to apply to partner with the Peace Corps and now joins about 150 other institutions around the nation with preparation programs. Given the requirements of Peace Corps Prep, Wolf said that she knew UWM’s Global and International Studies programs would be a perfect fit.

“These programs are innovative and reflect the kinds of skills and culturally sensitive systems thinking the global workforce needs today and that the Peace Corps is looking for,” she said. “That said, the Peace Corps prep program is open to all majors as there are many other terrific programs at UWM that are also a good fit.”

“Peace Corps Prep is an opportunity for undergraduate students to develop competencies that will fortify their aspirations to serve abroad,” said La’Teashia Sykes, Peace Corps Director of University Programs, in a press release. “Congratulations to UWM on joining the Peace Corps family. We are thrilled to work together to spark students’ interest in Peace Corps service.”

Wolf, a UWM alum who majored in history and earned a certificate in women’s studies, is a veteran of the Peace Corps herself and served in Poland in the 1990s not long after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“It was absolutely one of the hardest and most life changing experiences I can imagine,” she said. “To be a tiny part of the evolution of a country emerging from decades of political oppression was humbling to say the least. Those experiences have continued to shape my career and my dedication to helping others have access to similar experiences.”

Students interested in their own Peace Corps experiences can learn more about the Prep program at https://uwm.edu/community/students/peace-corps/.

By Kathy Quirk, University Relations