by Elise Goitia '18
Two Class of 2017 graduates will be heading abroad in the coming months to serve in the Peace Corps. Jose Guevara will travel to the Dominican Republic and Jessica Fritts is heading for Rwanda.
Through the Peace Corps, volunteers provide assistance to people in more than 60 countries in the areas of education, health, environment, agriculture, youth in development, and community economic development.
Guevara will work with youth in the Dominican Republic. He said his involvement in M.E.C.H.a. (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan), Lo Nuestro, and the Kleine Center for Community Service influenced his passion for service. His family background fueled his passion for change.
"The majority of my family is in Mexico, and a lot of them are politically involved," he said. "They worked hard within a system of oppression, and still did so much good. I want to use Peace Corps as an opportunity to emulate that."
He adds that, "I want to tackle challenges that a lot of the time people like me, as a minority, are discouraged to do."
Since the Peace Corps was founded in 1961, 201 Knox graduates have volunteered their service. Knox is also the first college or university to have a Peace Corps Preparatory Program, which prepares students for international service programs. Nearly 100% of those who have gone through the Knox Peace Corps Prep Program have been accepted by the Peace Corps.
"It's huge that Knox has the resources for anyone who wants to make a difference. It says a lot about the College concerning what we want to put into the world post-graduation," says Fritts, who will teach primary education in Rwanda, an East African country.
She said what made her commit to the Peace Corps was the organization's ideal of exchanging knowledge, culture, and experience to make the world a stronger place.
"Rwanda has always captivated me as a country," she said. "They have a huge initiative to create a sustainable education system that's going to last generations and strengthen their economy, political structure, and their social structure."
"I think there's a lot that we can learn from a country that's completely reforming their education system and doing it well," she added.