On the Peace Corps Forum this member goes by the username of "jlmanzak". She is a Peace Corps applicant and has been invited to serve in Tanzania. Here is a little bit about her...Tell us a little about yourself:
My name is Jessica. I currently live in a small rural community outside of Greensboro NC on a five acre farm-in-progress. I'm not sure I'm allowed to officially call it a farm until some fences and a barn get built, which of course is now on hold until I return. I've been invited and will be going to Tanzania in February as an Environmental extension volunteer. So right now I'm in the crazy running around to get all my medical tasks finished stage.Tell us about your hobbies or interests:
I ride horses, rock climb, ski, and scuba dive. I spend most of the winter months trying to hibernate, so I'm definitely happy to be going somewhere warm to volunteer!How did you become interested in the Peace Corps?
The Peace Corps is kind of one of those things I wanted to do as a kid, but then school/career/life got in the way for a bit. My friends and family now tell me I'm living my life backwards. I rushed through my undergraduate work in 3 years, went straight into vet school and became an equine veterinarian who was in private practice for 7 years.
When the economy crashed, my practice suffered a bit as horses are for sure a luxury item, and many of my clients sold their horses or reduced the amount of vet work they had done. I had to make some changes to make ends meet, and so I started evaluating what I loved and didn't love about my career. I realized that one of the most fulfilling aspects of my career was educating my clients about their horses, and especially the teen aged horse crazy girls. At about the same time, one of my clients (who was a guidance counselor at a local high school) told me that her school was looking for an animal science teacher. I had never even heard of agriculture classes in a high school, although I vaguely knew the FFA existed. I taught animal science and was the FFA adviser in that high school for 2 and one-half years, and loved almost all of it. Watching the development and enthusiasm of my students was incredibly rewarding.
As part of being a lateral entry teacher, I was taking classes to get my full teaching license as well. Trying to take classes of my own and still be a fully engaged, effective teacher and adviser to an incredibly active FFA chapter became a little more than I could handle; and so I chose to go back to school full time myself to get my Masters of Agriculture Education. While I was researching schools to attend full time, I stumbled across the Masters International program. That was a sign too big to ignore! I could go earn my Masters and fulfill my childhood wish to join the Peace Corps all at the same time! I am finishing up my classes this semester and will do my capstone project while I am volunteering as part of my service. What are your post PC plans?
When I return, I'm hoping to get a position either teaching at a university or with the extension service in NC.What do your family and friends think of all this?
My family has been hugely supportive of my decision to join the Peace Corps. In fact, my mother started researching what she would need to do as far as vaccines, passport, etc to come and visit me as soon as I received my invitation. Some of my friends have been very supportive, and are also hoping to visit. But a few of my friends are very worried for my safety while I'm gone.What do you think of this Forum?
I have really been enjoying the Peace Corps forum, and I'm very glad I found it! I think this forum is a wonderful tool for everyone interested in the Peace Corps. It is great to have a place to ask more specific questions and to share experiences. I have already gotten some great information from here, and I hope I have contributed some things that have helped others!Jessica's Blog address: http://awanderingpath.wordpress.com/