MACON – Mercer University seniors Taylor Jolly and Heaven Woods have been selected to serve the Peace Corps following graduation this spring.
“Every year, some Mercer students carry their experience of service and learning in Macon forward to address issues of global need through service in the Peace Corps,” said Dr. David A. Davis, director of fellowships and scholarships and associate professor of English. “Taylor and Heaven are part of an important legacy of Mercer students who are working to change the world, and I encourage more students to follow their example.”
Jolly, from LaGrange, is a global health studies major with minors in anthropology, political science and statistics.
She will serve as a community health education volunteer in the Southeast Asian nation of Cambodia, where she will work alongside local partners to build the capacity of Cambodians to fulfill their health-related needs.
After completion of her 27-month Peace Corps term, Jolly plans to pursue a Master of Public Health degree. She has already been accepted to programs at Boston University, Tulane University, the University of Pittsburgh and Emory University.
“As I start my career in global health, I need to continue to face global health challenges in practice,” said Jolly. “My acceptance to the Peace Corps will allow me to experience the everyday inequalities communities face, to understand individual communities, to understand how culture influences health care and to experience growth in the field that I am unbelievably passionate about while serving alongside a global community.”
As an undergraduate, Jolly has served as vice president of the Student Government Association and received the Bear Award for Outstanding Student Involvement.
Woods, from Canton, is a women’s and gender studies major with a minor in chemistry.
She will serve as a high school science teacher in the Central African nation of Cameroon, where she will focus on building leadership skills in students and improving community involvement in education through efforts to improve literacy skills, gender awareness initiatives and enhancement of learning materials in resources-scare contexts.
“Being a Peace Corps volunteer provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only help people, which is the most important thing, but to create that connection and compassion within other cultures with hopes of making a tangible difference in their lives,” said Woods. “It gives me the opportunity to fully immerse myself in a culture, where I can attempt to understand the perspectives of the community I am helping. Without being placed into the community where your help is needed, I do not believe you can fully understand what help you can give.”
As an undergraduate, Woods has been an active member of Alpha Gamma Delta, Common Ground, Iota Iota Iota and Phi Eta Sigma.
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. More than 220,000 Americans have served in 140 countries, and currently, more than 6,900 volunteers are serving in 63 countries. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov.