With only 38 percent of applicants in 2014 accepted to serve in the Peace Corps, competition for volunteer positions is steep. But for Stanford Resident Assistants (RAs) Kiernan King, Katie Bradley, Christopher Galarza, it was a challenge they met head on. King, Bradley, and Galarza were all selected to serve the next two years as Peace Corps volunteers in Sub-Saharan Africa starting this fall.
Year: Graduate Student
Peace Corps Volunteer Area: Health and HIV/AIDS
Kiernan King graduated in from the UM last May 2015 having worked two years as an RA in Stanford Residential College with Galarza and Bradley. This year, he is going to be a “double-Cane” graduating this semester with a Master’s degree in Public Administration. He will be serving the Peace Corps in Botswana leading grassroots campaigns as a Health and HIV/AIDS Capacity Building Volunteer.
King’s first three months will be spent training in the country’s capital, Gaborone, before he is officially allowed to start working. This includes learning the native language, Setswana.
“Luckily they also speak English,” King said laughing. “But, they say if you don’t learn the national language you’re not going to be able to integrate fully.”
King said there are many factors that contributed to him joining the Peace Corps. His high school’s motto was “Seek to serve,” which he said has resonated with him throughout his time at UM. He has also never left the country and is looking forward to life abroad. Upon graduation, King does not want to go straight into a nine to 5 office job. After interning at two different organizations where he was in an office by himself, he found that he needs to work somewhere where he can interact with a lot of people.
“I think that’s why I liked being an RA so much, because I was surrounded by thousands of people all the time, so I definitely need that kind of like community aspect,” King said.
King already has a lot of plans for his time in Botswana.
“In Botswana [HIV/AIDS] is a very big problem, so the work I’m going to be doing is going to be really impactful,” King said.
Apart from being a volunteer, King is also excited to travel during his two years of service. Peace Corps volunteers are given two vacation days per month and they can save them up to take a longer period of time off.
“I want to go on a safari because Botswana as the highest concentration of elephant population in the entire world,” King said.
Christopher “Topher” Galarza
Major: Latin American Studies
Peace Corps Volunteer Area: High School Education
For Christopher Galarza, Galarza, a senior and RA on Rosborough 7 in Stanford, is going to Mozambique. Applicants have the option of selecting three countries they want to go to or they can opt to go wherever they are needed. Galarza chose Mozambique because he speaks Portuguese, which is the national language.
After the 27 months are over, members can add a year either in the same country or be transferred to a different country.
“I’m definitely thinking about it just because it’s another year of abroad experience and another year living in the country learning about people,” Galarza said.
Galarza has two important roles to do during the two years.
“I’m going to be teaching English in the high school and then I’m also going to be serving in a role in an organization as a woman’s empowerment person,” Galarza said.
Galarza hopes to meet people that become like a family to him so that he can go back to Mozambique once he finishes his service.
Kathleen “Katie” Bradley
Major: Human and Social Development
Peace Corps Volunteer Area: High School Education
Joining Galarza in Mozambique is Katie Bradley, UM graduate as of May 2015 and current AmeriCorp Volunteer with City Year Miami. In addition to working as an RA with King and Galarza, Bradley was also a sister of Delta Delta Delta and heavily involve with UM’s Homecoming Executive Committee.
Since high school, Bradley has dreamed of serving her community as a Peace Corp Volunteer. As a Civic Scholar, Bradley has been preparing for this opportunity through classes and extracurricular activities at UM. When deciding on a place to serve in the Peace Corp, Bradley was willing to go anywhere as long as she could be involved in Education
“As a Peace Corps volunteer, I will be able to build on that foundation of service learning in a once in a lifetime experience,” Bradley said.
Bradley is looking forward to being immersed in a completely different country and way of life. While in Mozambique, she hopes to explore the country, meet new people from many different walks of life and instill the value of education in the lives of young people.
Lizzie is a sophomore double majoring in media management and french. She is currently the Co-Associate Travel Editor for distractionmagazine.com, and writes for the print magazine as well. Born and raised on Long Island, New York, Lizzie loves working out, going to concerts, traveling and of course, writing.
words_ lizzie wilcox.