Profile: Mike Dockry (Citizen Potawatomi Nation)
When I entered the Peace Corps, my main goal was to serve my country and to learn another language. I felt like I could make a peaceful, lasting, and sustainable contribution to the United States by joining the Peace Corps.
During my Peace Corps service, I learned more than just another language and how to plant trees. I learned how another culture sees the world, which has helped me to look at the world differently and to better understand how my own culture looks at the world.
My Peace Corps experience also put me on my current career path. I took advantage of the one-year noncompetitive hiring status, and applied to several federal agencies. My first job was with the USDA Forest Service as the assistant planner for the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests. The skills I learned in the Peace Corps helped me a great deal in this job. I learned to listen to people with different points of view. I learned to be patient and understand that working with communities and the federal government took time. Most of all, I learned that everyone comes from different backgrounds. By understanding that we are all different, it becomes easier to work together for a common goal.
I was promoted in the Forest Service to work as a liaison to the College of Menominee Nation to help develop a sustainable forestry research and education center called the Center for First Americans Forestlands. We are working with indigenous groups in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. My Peace Corps experience gave me the confidence to work with multiple indigenous groups.
I would recommend the Peace Corps to anyone of any age who is thinking about becoming a Volunteer. I would specifically recommend becoming a Volunteer if you are a Native American Indian because many of the skills learned in the Peace Corps readily apply to working with our communities, skills that are desperately needed in many American Indian communities. In the Peace Corps you learn to work on projects that are very important to local communities, but with little resources to accomplish them. The most valuable thing I learned in the Peace Corps was the ability to bring people together to accomplish common goals.
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