Stony Brook University recently celebrated the send off of Stony Brook alumna Brenda Aguilar to service with the Peace Corps. Aguilar graduated in May 2022 with a bachelor of arts in political science and a minor in global studies.
While at Stony Brook, she was also part of the prestigious JFEW SUNY Global Affairs Leaders program, sponsored by the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women. She completed two internships: one with the U.S. Department of State and a second with Network 20/20, a convening organization that bridges the gap between the private sector and foreign policy worlds. Aguilar’s interest in the Peace Corps stemmed from an interest in globalization studies and a passion for serving local communities. The Stony Brook community, including members of the Peace Corps Advisory Board and Stony Brook’s Peace Corps Recruiter, Dori Hagler, came together on May 2 to celebrate Aguilar’s accomplishments and her upcoming service.
“We’re so excited about Brenda’s upcoming Peace Corps service,” said Marianna Savoca, associate vice president for career readiness and experiential education. Savoca continued, “Brenda’s two years at Stony Brook were spent in the height of COVID, and she not only managed well in the Zoomiverse, but she thrived! She exemplifies the life of service that so many of our Seawolves aspire to and we look forward to bringing her back to campus to share her experiences when she returns.”
This summer, Aguilar will be traveling to Saint Lucia to begin her service as an English teacher. Saint Lucia is located in the Eastern Caribbean, where local governments have prioritized English language literacy, particularly for youth in rural communities. Peace Corps Volunteers like Aguilar collaborate with local teachers and school communities to co-teach and conduct lessons as well as co-lead after-school enrichment and extracurricular programs and engage in community outreach.
“I am excited for this new journey and I am grateful for the support I have received from those around me,” said Aguilar.
Stony Brook University’s long-term relationship with the Peace Corps resulted in the launch of the Peace Corps Prep program in Fall 2020. The Peace Corps Prep program is an undergraduate certificate program for students interested in serving with the Peace Corps to demonstrate their readiness for global service and commitment to culturally responsible volunteerism. Stony Brook is among a small group of institutions (about 100) across the United States with an active Peace Corps Prep program.
Through Peace Corps Prep, students build four key competencies essential for Peace Corps volunteers through an integration of related coursework, hands-on experience, leadership and professional development. The program is highly flexible and corresponds with the Peace Corps’ application process. Students of all majors and years of study are eligible to participate and are able to self-identify their interests in one of six sectors and choose where they would like to serve.
Through completion of the Peace Corps Prep program, students gain skills in intercultural competence that are not only necessary to effectively serve, but also to act as cultural ambassadors. The program also results in a competitive edge for students to apply to Peace Corps service.
To learn more, visit the Peace Corps Prep program website.