MACON – Two Mercer University students who are graduating this spring have been accepted into the Peace Corps.
Janique Hosier, from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, is a psychology major who is set to receive her bachelor's degree from the College of Liberal Arts in May. She is the first person from the Virgin Islands to join the Peace Corps since 1961 and will serve as an English teacher at a secondary school in Burkina Faso.
Christie Hutchison, from Senoia, is an environmental engineering major who is set to receive her bachelor's and master's degrees from the School of Engineering in May. She will serve as a water and sanitation engineer in Mali.
"The Peace Corps is an exceptional opportunity for Mercer students to use their learning and their service to help improve the lives of people in developing nations," said Dr. David A. Davis, director of scholarships and fellowships and associate professor of English. "By joining the Peace Corps, Janique and Christie are living out Mercer's ethos."
Hosier, who also minors in French, will work to improve student success, teaching, and community engagement at a Burkinabé high school of 80 to 100 students. She will also assist in extracurricular activities to improve confidence in reading, writing and English speaking.
"I am truly grateful to not only represent my Virgin Islands community but also my Mercer University community," said Hosier. "After hearing stories from Grant Geist and memories shared by Dr. John Dunaway, Professor Randall Harshbarger and Dr. Scott Walker from their time abroad, they sparked my interest in wanting to serve as a volunteer. It's an honor and a privilege to go abroad and share with others the customs and traditions that both my communities have instilled in me.
"I hope to learn what it truly means to be an educator and make a difference in students' lives. I hope to meet many new people who can give me new insights on different things and challenge me in different ways."
Hutchison, who also minors in sociology, will participate in construction and repair of wells using inexpensive and easily transferred construction techniques; building capacity of local mason and pump repair teams; promotion of basic health practices to improve drinking water quality and hygiene; promotion of better environmental sanitation practices; introduction of alternative waterlifting devices for domestic and agricultural use; and promotion of positive community behavior change.
"I am very excited about this opportunity to use my education to serve developing communities. Water is one of the most fundamental human needs, and I feel extremely privileged to work as an agent in helping individuals gain and sustain reliable access," said Hutchison, who has participated in Mercer On Mission trips to improve water quality and delivery in Kenya and Liberia and worked as an intern at the Macon Water Authority.
The Peace Corps, established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, is a volunteer program administered by the U.S. government to send the best and brightest Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Nearly 220,000 Americans have served in 140 countries, and currently, more than 6,800 volunteers are serving in 64 countries. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov.