First Volunteers Invited to Serve through New Peace Corps Application Process Depart Beginning this Month

Volunteers preparing to leave for service share their experience with new application process

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 12, 2015 – The first Peace Corps volunteers to be invited to serve through the agency’s new application process will depart for service beginning this month. Since the historic recruitment reforms took effect last July, applicants are finding a more streamlined process that gives them more control and more clarity.

Alena DeGrado of Plymouth, Vermont, leaves for Ethiopia later this month to serve as an agriculture and environment volunteer. She submitted her Peace Corps application at the end of July 2014 and received an invitation to serve in September 2014.

“I loved the new application portal,” DeGrado said. “I had previously started my application using the old system, but I was feeling pretty overwhelmed and exhausted by the process. So I decided to see what the new application was like, and I was happy to find that it was much more concise and the process was similar to applying to any other job.”

DeGrado’s background in farming drew her to Ethiopia’s agriculture and environment position because of its focus on food security and environmental education.

“I am excited to experience farming in an entirely different culture, and I look forward to learning from Ethiopian farmers and sharing my own skills and resources,” she said.

Daniel Bevington of Woodinville, Washington, will serve as an agriculture volunteer in Zambia early next month. He applied in July 2014 and chose to go wherever his skills were needed most.

“A recruiter called me within a few weeks of applying and had already given good thought to my aptitudes and experience listed on my application with a mind for where I might best serve,” Bevington said. “The position I was offered in Zambia aligns with my background and interests very well, and I’m excited to use my experience and skills in a meaningful way.”

Jenna Nelson of Addison, Texas, submitted her application in September 2014 and will depart for Senegal as a community economic development volunteer this March.

“I started my application using the old system in May 2014 but was too busy to finish it at the time,” Nelson said. “I ended up applying through the new application portal in fall 2014 and the process was very user-friendly.”

Nelson knew she wanted to work in an economic development position but chose to go wherever her skills were needed most.

“I was willing to serve in any country as long as I could work in economic development,” she said. “I’m excited to collaborate with the people of Senegal to foster progress and growth that will benefit the community.”

The Peace Corps saw a 22-year high in application numbers and an increase in applications of more than 70 percent in 2014 over 2013 following the launch of the new application and selection process. After losing a number of qualified candidates because of a burdensome process, Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet spearheaded the changes to cut red tape, increase transparency and reduce uncertainty for applicants. Using a new, shorter application, applicants can now choose their country of service and apply to specific programs that meet their personal and professional goals.

Prospective applicants can browse service opportunities by country, work area and departure date at Learn more about Peace Corps’ new application process here.

About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, 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, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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