Peace Corps Names New Chief of Staff/Chief of Operations

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 14, 2005 – Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez has announced the appointment of Marie Wheat as the new Peace Corps Chief of Staff/Chief of Operations.

For the past two years, Wheat has served as Deputy Chief of Staff/Deputy Chief of Operations for the Peace Corps. In this capacity, she assisted the Director and Chief of Staff/Chief of Operations in managing the day-to-day responsibilities of the agency\'s overseas activities and domestic operations. During this time, the Peace Corps reached a 29-year high in the number of volunteers serving in the field. In addition, the agency expanded to new areas of the world such as Mexico and Azerbaijan and returned to Morocco, Chad, Jordan, Albania and China.

"Marie has brought energy, passion and dedication to every role here at the Peace Corps," said Director Vasquez. "She possesses a wealth of experience that has helped the Peace Corps to expand and meet the agency’s needs in the 21st century."

Wheat first came to Peace Corps in 2002 as Director of Congressional Relations after serving almost 10 years on Capitol Hill. While on Capitol Hill, Wheat served as the Chief of Staff in the office of Congressman Jim DeMint of South Carolina, managing the Washington, D.C. office and two district offices, and as Staff Director for the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight. In addition, Wheat worked as a senior staff member for the House Budget Committee and the office of Congressman Steve Largent of Oklahoma. She was also a policy analyst at Citizens for a Sound Economy and a seminar coordinator for the Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs. She began her Washington experience as a White House press intern.

Wheat graduated magna cum laude from Clemson University with a bachelor\'s degree in economics and political science. She is originally from Mauldin, S.C.

Since 1961, more than 178,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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