Elizabethtown College Alumna Completes Peace Corps Service in Ghana
Recently, Caitlin Wilson of Elizabethtown, Pa., has completed service to the Peace Corps after 27 months of living and working as an agriculture volunteer in Ghana. She is a 2016 graduate of Elizabethtown College and is pursuing a Master of Science at West Virginia University.
During her service, Wilson was assigned to the Northern Region of Ghana, where she served as an agriculture extension agent for the community. She and a local counterpart worked with a women’s group to grow sweet potatoes and establish a dry season garden to preserve the vines between rainy seasons. Prior to arriving in her community, she received intensive technical and cultural training and language instruction.
“My proudest moment has been to see my counterpart develop an enthusiasm for cultivating orange flesh sweet potatoes at a training my first year and then moving on to lead a training for other Peace Corps Volunteers and counterparts the following year,” Wilson said.
In addition to her work with the women’s group, Wilson interviewed farmers about bush burning practices in Northern Ghana in preparation for her Master’s thesis. After she returns from service, Wilson plans to complete her degree and work in natural resource management.
“I will miss my community and the friends that I have made over my service the most,” she said.
Wilson joins the 291 Pennsylvania residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 8,670 Pennsylvania residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961. The Peace Corps seeks additional applicants to fill hundreds of requests for volunteers in programs worldwide in 2020 and beyond. Open positions with a January 1 application deadline are available in the fields of education, health, agriculture, community economic development, youth in development, and the environment.
As a Peace Corps volunteer, Wilson received a living stipend, medical and dental coverage, and travel to and from her country of service. After completing service, she is eligible for further benefits including graduate school tuition assistance at more than 90 universities through the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, partial cancellation of Perkins loans and eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and non-competitive hiring status for federal jobs. Returned Peace Corps volunteers are highly in demand by corporate, nonprofit, and government employers seeking candidates with the skills required in today’s global economy.
About volunteers in Ghana: There are more than 135 volunteers in Ghana working with their communities on projects in agriculture, education and health. During their service in Ghana, volunteers learn to speak local languages, including Dagaare, Dagbani, Dangbe, Ewe, Ghanaian Sign Language, Kasem, Mampruli, Sisali and Twi. More than 4,730 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Ghana since the program was established in 1961.
About the Peace Corps: 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. Through their Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. 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.