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K-Staters reflect on their experiences in Peace Corps

The Collegian, Manhattan, Kansas

For Steven Graham, joining the Peace Corps was a lot like going away to college.

“It is very similar to coming to this university, especially if you are coming from a small town,” Graham,assistant to the dean of the College of Agriculture and assistant to the director of K-State Research and Extension, said. “You’re going to a new place. It’s a foreign culture. You don’t know what to do. You don’t know people. You don’t know where things are.”

The Peace Corps in an international service organization that currently has 7,209 volunteers and trainees serving in 65 countries. To join the Peace Corps, volunteers must be U.S. citizens over the age of 18. Ninety percent of volunteer positions also require a bachelor’s degree.

‘New and exciting’
Graham was in the Peace Corps from 1973-76. During that time, he built cement silos and grain dryers in Benin, a country in West Africa.

“I grew up in the time of John F. Kennedy, and he’s the president who created the Peace Corps,” Graham said. “So, the Peace Corps was very new and exciting,”

The Peace Corps often looks for graduates with experience in agriculture, natural resource management and health, like 2010 alumni Emily Kraus. Kraus graduated with her MS in entomology, and then spent two years in the West Africa country of Senegal as an agricultural extension agent.

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