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Graduates Choose Global Service
June 29, 2011
Ninety percent of the members Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's class of 2011 have already found jobs or chosen to pursue an advanced degree. Along with these more traditional post-commencement plans, two graduates are taking a road less traveled. Mechanical engineer Andrew Hubble of San Mateo, Calif. and computer engineer Alice Forehand, of Rockville, Md. have sidestepped graduate school and conventional employment, opting instead for stints in the Peace Corps.
Hubble credits a high school science teacher for planting the seed which spawned his decision. "I had a physics teacher who had joined right after college and he loved it," Hubble says, "He used to get distracted and tell us stories. I would be transfixed."
Forehand reports a similar experience. "I had a really influential math teacher in high school who had been in the Peace Corps; he taught math in Kenya," she says. "He told us lots of interesting stories about his experience and he encouraged us to join if we had the opportunity."
The Peace Corps' roots stretch back to 1960, when Sen. John F. Kennedy delivered a challenge to students at the University of Michigan. He encouraged them to promote peace by living and working in developing countries. That challenge became the inspiration for a federal government agency devoted to world peace and friendship.
In the ensuing years, the Peace Corps has adapted to meet the needs of an ever-changing world. Peace Corps volunteers are known for their ability to meet new challenges with innovation, creativity, determination, and compassion. Since 1961, over 200,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps, serving in 139 countries across the globe and helping people to build better lives.
"I think education is one of the most important factors for growth in developing nations, and contributing to that growth will be really rewarding," Forehand states. "Most of the kids I will teach probably won't value their education very highly, and won't see math as relevant to their lives. My goal is to motivate at least one of them to pursue tertiary education. If I can help send someone to college, that person can spend their whole life bettering their country," she adds.
Hubble will be serving in South Africa, in either the Mpumalanga or Kwa-Zulu provinces, where he will be a Resource Specialist in the Schools and Community Resource Program. "I will be working with teachers in improving their subject content knowledge and classroom practices," he says. "Since my background is in engineering, I will most likely be working with the math and science aspects." He adds, "However, I've heard that nearly every Peace Corps Volunteer ends up teaching English in their spare time."
"My mother has lived in Indonesia for about 5 years now, so I've spent a good time abroad traveling across Southeast Asia," Hubble notes. "Knowing what it's like to submerse yourself into another culture just makes you want more."
Forehand expects that her Peace Corps experience will help her become a more well-rounded person. "Rose has been plenty challenging intellectually, but at the expense of other parts of myself," she says. Forehand, who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in cognitive science upon completion of her Peace Corps service, believes that being exposed to other cultures in a new environment will help her to more fully develop her interpersonal skills. "I'm confident that living in a village in rural Africa will help out on the social front," she says.
"I haven't entirely decided what I'd like to do after the Peace Corps," Hubble says. "I would like to go to graduate school at some point, but my mind isn't made up about anything," he adds. "I may just make a career out of the Peace Corps-who knows?"