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27 UC alumni who served in the Peace Corps

(updated in January 2014)

by Deborah Rieselman


Nick Hoesl, Phar '54 — Served in Afghanistan ('65-67). Taught pharmacology to medical students, supervized hospital pharmacy, worked as short-wave English newscaster at the country's only radio station, Radio Kabul. He is active in Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.

(Read a column on his service.)


Michelle Bova, M (DAAP) ’12 — Served in Armenia ('07-09) as a Coverdell Fellow. Environmental educator, taught, traveled to the country's capital twice a week to work with an environmental nonprofit focused on children, filmed an award-winning documentary. In Armenia, she organized a girls basketball team that competed weekly. U.S. internship involved organizing classes with an Over-the-Rhine nonprofit.

Emily Barth


Emily Barth, JD ‘11 — Served in Bangladesh (after getting her undergrad in '03). Taught at an all-girls school, introduced girls in a conservative Muslim culture to sports and to riding a bike.

(Read more in a press release.)

Rebekah Kranch

Kranch on internship


Rebekah Kranch, M (DAAP) '06, Coverdell Fellow — Served in Bulgaria ('01-03). Taught English. Interned with a nonprofit that provides financial services and economic education to underserved people.

(Read more in a press release.)

Cynthia Lehr

Cynthia Lehr, M (Ed) '08 — Served in Bulgaria ('04). Taught English. Experience led her to obtain a master's in education at UC to pursue a career as a teacher.

(Read more in a press release.)

Pat Valensky Lied,

Pat Valensky Lied, Bus ’63 — Served as a business consultant in Bulgaria (’01-02), joining the Peace Corps at age 60, after earning two more degrees and having a 20-year career in human resources. Working for a municipality and a Small Business Center, she developed an economic development summary that the Bulgarian Foreign Investment Agency used to attract business interests and which served as an organizational model for other Bulgarian business centers. She was also involved in developing a Small Business Association and getting water piped into a large farming and manufacturing area. She now lives in Bradenton, Fla.

Jamey Pratt, M (DAAP) ’12, cert. (A&S) ’12 — Served in Bulgaria ('06-08) as a Coverdell Fellow. Taught English, assisted a youth camp, worked with a group of Roma (gypsies). He's proud that several of his former English students from Bulgaria now attend universities in English-speaking countries. U.S. Internship involved neighborhood projects in Covington, including funding options and enhancing a historic preservation database of houses for a potential National Register Historic District.

Jessie Warning and Brian Hillery in Cameroon


Jessie Warning, M (DAAP) '08 — Served in Cameroon ('08-10) with her husband, Brian Hillery. Worked toward improving community health conditions.


Dominican Republic

Erin Wagner, M (AHS) '06 — Served in the Dominican Republic ('06-10), extending her stay by a third year. Community health specialist, worked to improve the nutrition portion of the country's health program and to prioritize food security. Also taught sex education to teenagers. She was a former research assistant ('03-06) in Nutritional Sciences Nutritional Sciences at the College of Allied Heath Sciences.

(Read a letter she wrote in 2009.)


Kate Pongonis, JD '97 — Served in Ecuador in the early '90s (before enrolling in law school). Agricultural extension volunteer. College of Law granted her a deferral, enabling her to serve between getting her undergrad and JD.

(Read more in a press release. Also read about her work in the U.S. Department of State.)

El Salvador

Sara Ernst, M (DAAP) ’12 — Served in El Salvador ('05-07) as a Coverdell Fellow. Taught agro-forestry and environmental education, including deforestation, endangered species, pollution, recycling. Also translated for visiting medical teams, worked with health camps. U.S. internship at Environmental Community Services.

Robert Ambach


Robert Ambach, Bus '89, M (A&S) '97 — Served in Ghana, West Africa ('90). Small enterprise developer, worked in rural areas, writing grant proposals, mentoring business owners and developing marketing, accounting and record keeping systems for small-scale enterprises. Now UC senior VP for administration and finance.

Mona Almobayyed sits at a table with three local women in Guatemala.

Mona Almobayyed (left) working with women in Guatemala.


Mona Almobayyed, M (DAAP) ’12 — Served in Guatemala and added a year of service (’08-11). Community development planner, worked with a government organization dedicated to women's issues, educated youth on HIV/AIDS, assisted with reforestation issues, taught English, helped local residents establish vegetable gardens. (Note: In Guatemala, she met the man she later married.)

Williams learns to milk a cow.


Rod Williams, M (DAAP) '06, Coverdell Fellow — Served in Honduras ('04-06) with his wife, Devona. Worked in the area of community/municipal development, which also led to him learning to milk a cow.

(Read more in a press release.)


Kingdom of Lesotho,  Africa

Adam Rosenberg, DAAP '05 — Served in Lesotho, a landlocked country and enclave, completely surrounded by its only neighboring country, the Republic of South Africa ('06-08).

(Read some of Rosenberg's Peace Corps memories.)


Jeff Kelley, M (DAAP) ’13 — Served in Liberia working with fisheries ('82-84) and Bulgaria working in community development ('05-07). U.S. internship with associate professor Johanna Looye and the two DAAP Peace Corps programs. He admits that he had never heard of Liberia before he went there.


Adam Sickmiller, M (DAAP) '07, Master's International — Served in Macedonia ('04-06) with his wife, Danielle. Worked to assist individuals with disabilities and to raise awareness of disability issues. Also developed innovative method of teaching English and computer skills simultaneously, helped equip a school library and served as staff at a Macedonian and Albanian youth camp.


Pat Lambert, A&S ’64 — Served in Nigeria (’64-66), where he taught at a secondary school in a remote village deep in the Niger River delta. Later, after graduate school, he went back to Nigeria to teach for two years at a university in the north of the country. Now professor emeritus of mathematics at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, he made plans in spring 2012 to return to Nigeria to help with the mathematics program at a new American-style university.


Thor Erickson, M (DAAP) '10 — Served in the Phillippines ('03-05). Authored and won a volunteer environmental grant for a project to make fiberglass boats. Also authored a proposal to maintain coastal cleanliness, which became part of the science curriculum in schools, and created environmental art show featuring local artists with recycled goods.

Trnt oveerseas wearing a tropical print button-up shirt.


Trent Lobdell, M (DAAP) ’13 — Served in Samoa ('08-10) as a Coverdell Fellow. Economic development volunteer, helped women develop a community garden and bakers make new kinds of bread. Internship in Over the Rhine helps people deal with financial problems and home foreclosures. Has also taught a class on home ownership.

Senegal, West Africa

Kat Haessler, M (DAAP) ’13 — Served in Senegal, West Africa. Agriculture volunteer, helped villagers use genetically modified seeds to create community gardens, which improved diets and generated income. Also taught classes. DAAP's first doctoral Coverdell Fellow.

Jessica Young in front of a map

Jessica Young, Bus '07 — Served in Senegal (beginning '08). Had multiple education-abroad experiences whille a student.

(Read more in a press release.)


Julia Schulkers, A&S '10 — Serving in Thailand (beginnin January 2012). Working to improve the English abilities of students and to effectively co-teach with Thai teachers, demonstrating the success that student-centered learning can achieve.

(Read a column she wrote.)


Togo, West Africa

Ann Moore, Nur '56 — Served in Togo, West Africa, with her husband, Mike (early '60s). Nurse who watched the local mothers carry their babies all the time, which led her to invent Snugli, the original hands-free soft baby carrier.

(Read the UC Magazine feature story on Moore.)




Chandani Jones and a friend

Chandani Jones (right)

Ukraine, Uzbekistan

Chandani Jones, JD '10 — Served in Uzbekistan and the Ukraine ('05-07). Taught English. College of Law granted her a deferral, enabling her to serve between getting her undergrad and JD.

(Read more in a press relealse.)


Tony Frasier standing next to an elderly resident of the village at which he serves.

Troy Frasier in Vanuatu


Troy Frasier, M (DAAP) ’12  — Served in Vanuatu as a Coverdell Fellow. Joined by wife, Jasmine, and added a year of service ('06-09). Agro-business volunteer, helped farmers to share work to increase income, start a community tree nursery, start a manioc project to mill locally grown roots into flour. Third year: reopened a school and taught on a remote island. U.S. internship with a nonprofit organization that assists with community housing. Interned for a low-income housing development organization.

Katie Sylvester


Katie Sylvester, M (DAAP) ’10, Coverdell Fellow — Served in Zambia ('04-06). Organized and trained 120 neighborhood health committee members and taught community members how to sustain income-generating projects as a community health volunteer. Interned at Working in Neighborhoods to create an annual foreclosure report, praised for its accuracy and usefulness. Master's thesis examined public participation and urban planning in Turkey. Currently a Peace Corps' field-based recruiter in Cincinnati. (See video of her talking about her service.)

Editor's note

To be included in this list, send your name, year of graduation, college from which you graduated, years of Peace Corps service and country of service to Include a photo and any stories that you would like to have posted. Only submissions that include all of the components listed above will be used.


Related stories

UC's unusually strong Peace Corps focus

Details of the Peace Corps programs for grad students

A look at all 10 students in DAAP Peace Corps programs 

Video: Katie Sylvester talks about her service in Zambia.