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International opportunities for TSU students to be explored during Oct. 8 roundtable with Peace Corps alumni, director

HOUSTON (October 1, 2019) – When Jacquita Johnson graduated from Texas Southern University with a degree in health administration in 2017, she knew that being a change agent – and improving people’s lives – was in her future. She found the perfect avenue to make that happen – joining the Peace Corps and traveling to a village in South Africa to help with the HIV epidemic in that region.

“I realized that there were many avenues to be a catalyst for change and for me, the best way would be to work directly with those impacted at the ground level, fitting perfectly with the role of a Peace Corps Volunteer,” said Johnson. “TSU reinforced in me the need to always be of service to others. After a visit from Peace Corps recruiters, I decided to take the leap and submit my application; and I’m so glad I did! TSU and Peace Corps have been two of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.”

Johnson, along with Dr. Claudette Ligons, a former TSU faculty member and former Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone, West Africa, and Dr. Jody Olsen, director of the Peace Corps, will conduct a roundtable discussion about the international opportunities that the Peace Corps offers to TSU graduates. The event, which is scheduled for Wednesday, October 8, from 9:30-10:45 a.m. in the Public Affairs Building auditorium, will highlight the first-hand experiences of Johnson and Ligons, as well as cover the application process for becoming a Peace Corps volunteer. Currently, three TSU alumni serve as Peace Corps volunteers, with more than 85 Tiger alumni serving since the Peace Corps was founded in 1961.

Dr. Olsen, PhD, MSW, who was sworn into office as the 20th director of the Peace Corps in March 2018, will serve as moderator of the discussion, bringing her extensive background as both a Peace Corps volunteer and administrator to the table. She began her career as a Peace Corps volunteer, serving in Tunisia from 1966-1968. She has since served the agency in multiple leadership positions—as acting director in 2009; deputy director from 2002-2009; chief of staff from 1989-1992; regional director, North Africa, Near East, Asia, Pacific from 1981-1984; and country director in Togo from 1979-1981. Prior to returning to the Peace Corps in 2018, Dr. Olsen served as visiting professor at the University of Maryland-Baltimore School of Social Work and director of the University’s Center for Global Education Initiatives.

TSU students, faculty, and staff, as well as the public, are invited to this free, interactive discussion.

ABOUT TEXAS SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY

Texas Southern University (TSU) honors our designation as a special-purpose institution for urban programming and research. TSU is a comprehensive university providing higher education access to the nation’s underserved communities. TSU’s academic and research programs address critical urban issues, and prepares its diverse student population to become a force for positive change in a global society. TSU offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and concentrations – bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees – organized into 10 colleges and schools on a 150-acre campus nestled in the heart of Houston’s historic Third Ward. The University’s enrollment has a population of more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate-school academic candidates. Texas Southern has been a distinguished educational pioneer since 1927, and the University has become one of the most diverse and respected institutions in Texas. TSU has positioned itself as a proactive leader in educating underserved students and many who are the first in their family to attend college.

ABOUT THE PEACE CORPS

The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers create sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, the environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 235,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide.

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