Stony Brook University alum Brenda Aguilar is among the first Peace Corps volunteers to return to overseas service since the agency’s unprecedented global evacuation in March 2020. The Peace Corps suspended global operations and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers from more than 60 countries at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’ve always wanted to join the Peace Corps because of everything they do. I honestly just want to work with people, and I am looking forward to the experience of being immersed in a new culture,” said Aguilar, a first-generation American whose parents immigrated from El Salvador.
Aguilar graduated in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She will serve as an education volunteer in the Eastern Caribbean.
The volunteer cohorts are made up of both first-time volunteers and volunteers who were evacuated in early 2020. Upon finishing a three-month training, volunteers will collaborate with their host communities on locally prioritized projects in one of Peace Corps’ six sectors — agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health or youth in development — and all will engage in COVID-19 response and recovery work.
Currently, the agency is recruiting volunteers to serve in 59 countries around the world at the request of host country governments, to connect through the Peace Corps’ grassroots approach across communities and cultures. Volunteers have already returned to a total of 53 countries around the world. The Peace Corps continues to monitor COVID-19 trends in all of its host countries and will send volunteers to serve as conditions permit. Americans interested in transformative service and lifelong connections should apply to Peace Corps service at www.peacecorps.gov/apply.