Mercer Seniors Selected to Serve the Peace Corps in Panama, Botswana, the Philippines

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Peace Corps volunteers 2019

MACON – Mercer University seniors Alex Grandinetti, Hoor Qureshi and Michael Tan were recently selected to serve the Peace Corps in Panama, Botswana and the Philippines, respectively.

Grandinetti, from Kalamazoo, Michigan, is triple-majoring in international business, international affairs and global development with a minor in economics.

He was selected to serve as a business and agricultural adviser working with indigenous and marginalized communities in rural Panama. In this role, he will promote the knowledge and adoption of best practices in business and agriculture to improve local household food security and resilience.

At Mercer, Grandinetti has participated in Model Arab League and American Mock World Health Organization, studied abroad at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom, traveled to Dubai for a faculty-led spring break trip, worked as a business development intern in Cape Town, South Africa, and volunteered with several nonprofit organizations in Macon.

“The opportunity to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer is a tremendous honor and a testament to Mercer University’s commitment to preparing students for impactful careers across the world,” Grandinetti said.

Qureshi, from Marietta, is double-majoring in global health studies and global development studies with a minor in environmental studies.

She was selected to serve as a life skills educator in the youth and HIV/AIDS capacity-building sector in Botswana. In this role, she will assist youth to be healthy, productive and active community members contributing to the achievement of an AIDS-free generation.

“Through various experiences, classes and leadership roles, I have developed a passion towards working with others, and exploring new places and cultures,” Qureshi said. “These past four years at Mercer have shown me that I desire to serve others in all that I do. The Peace Corps provides me with an opportunity to put my passion into practice by serving in a community in Botswana.”

At Mercer, Qureshi has served as a peer adviser, orientation leader, Student Government Association senator and Bear Force staff member and leader. She has been active in the Muslim Student Association and Mercer Masala, a South Asian and Middle Eastern collaborative organization on campus.

She participated in a faculty-led spring break trip to Dubai in March, a Mercer On Mission trip to South Africa last summer, and she traveled to Japan last spring through the University’s participation in the Kakehashi Exchange Program.

“Hoor and Alex share a lot in common that has prepared them for this experience: they have traveled extensively, studied abroad, experienced development work in the field and derive a deep sense of fulfillment from serving others,” said Dr. Eimad Houry, professor and chair of international and global studies. “As their adviser, and as the father of a Peace Corps volunteer myself, I talk about the Peace Corps option repeatedly. Students who are interested in this opportunity must work at it over time and build up the credentials needed to compete in an application pool that reaches tens of thousands.” 

Tan, from Charlotte, North Carolina, is majoring in environmental engineering with a minor in engineering for development.

He was selected to serve as a coastal resource management volunteer in the Philippines working within local governmental units in an office that administers fisheries and environment affairs. In this role, he will implement restoration and protection of marine habitats and enhance food security through participative community action on fisheries management.

“For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by the ocean, specifically coastal environments,” Tan said. “I have always dreamed of living in and working to improve these habitats. I am very excited to work in the Philippines with not only these environments but the people and cultures that call them home.”

At Mercer, Tan has participated in intramurals and several school-sponsored events, including the first Mercer On Mission water, sanitation and hygiene program in the Dominican Republic. His interests include running and hiking.

“Since his freshman year at Mercer, Michael has expressed a keen interest in international development and humanitarian work,” said Dr. Michael MacCarthy, assistant professor and director of Mercer’s Engineering for Development program, who previously served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon. “Having had a chance to teach and mentor Michael in numerous classes on-campus as well as in the field in the Dominican Republic, it’s clear to me that he has the qualifications and personal attributes that will help him to make a positive impact in his work with communities in the Philippines.”

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 develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, the environment and youth development.

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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Jayla Moody