The Peace Corps at UNF

Tiffany Felts

National Peace Corps Week kicked off on Tuesday, February 25 with a special recruitment event.

Recruiter Chad Chernet said UNF has a long standing relationship with the Peace Corps. Eighty-two UNF alumni have served with the peace corps since it was founded in 1961, and 12 of them are active volunteers.

“UNF is definitely up there compared to other Florida schools, and it’s gaining momentum. And the students are getting more competitive and qualified.”

About 30 UNF students came out to the event hosted by Chernet at Career Services.

He said people interested in getting involved should apply online. After that, he said there is a nine to 12 month process to get set up with the Peace Corps.

Once chosen for the program and assigned a location, Chernet said volunteers stay there for 27 months.

UNF Alumni Matthew Godburn, one of three guest speakers, spoke via livestream at the event about his experiences volunteering in Panama.

Photo courtesy of Facebook.
Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Godburn graduated from UNF with a Bachelors Degree in International Business. He is now working in the environmental health sector in the Darien Province of Panama.

He said the Peace Corps has helped him gain a global perspective and take his career global as well.

“I’ve really taken the skills I learned in school and the skills I’ve learned here and they have made me better,”  Godburn said.

Annie and Peter Smith, also UNF alumni and Peace Corps volunteers, spoke via livestream from their current host country, Morocco.

They were practicing attorneys who owned their own firm here in Jacksonville before they joined the Peace Corps.

“Culturally, it’s very interesting to see a way of life so different from the U.S.”

Godburn too said the diversity in culture was one of the most interesting aspects of Peace Corps.

All three alumni and volunteers spoke highly of the Peace Corps and said the experience has been life changing.

Email Tiffany Felts at [email protected]