Hiram College

Reflections from Past Alumni

Over the years, Hiram College alumni have contributed their time and talents to the Peace Corps, and in doing so, enhanced their Hiram College education and made a difference in the world. Below, we’ve listed some wisdom and reflections from our past alumni in the program. Some have featured stories written about them, too. You can learn more about some of the alumni by selecting their underlined name. 

Chantelle Brady ‘18:, Sociology Major and French Minor

Service pending. Also employed by Peace Corps as an Associate Peace Corps Director for six years serving in Yemen, Morocco, and Hungary.

“I learned how to be inclusive, accepting, and respectful of other cultures and their traditions through the program.”

Jessica Bessner ‘16: Sociology and Religious Studies Double Major

Served 2017-2019 in Ukraine, education (TEFL) sector.

“Every day I am solving different problems, and I am learning impactful information from my counterparts and community partners. I will use my new skills and knowledge when I return to the U.S. and continue a career as a English as a Second Language Teacher.”

Javonne Woodland ’11: Nursing Major

Serving from 2013-2015 in Bluefields, R.A.A.S., Nicaragua, as a community health educator

Bethany Stoian ‘06, Spanish Major

Served 2006-2008 in Kazakhstan, teaching English as a second language

“My experience helps me get an edge on my competitors. In the Peace Corps, I had a wide range of responsibilities. I was a teacher trainer, a community leader and an ambassador for my culture.  I developed my own lessons and relied on my own resourcefulness to make my lessons both creative and challenging.  Most importantly, I developed problem-solving skills, which has helped me work with a curriculum centered on critical thinking skills.”

Kate Larose ’02

Served in Burkina Faso from 2002-2004 as community health educator

Ayeke Messam ’00: French and Political Science Double Major

Served in Togo, West Africa, from 2003-2005

“Working in international development requires experience living and working in developing countries, and were it not for my Peace Corps experience, it would have been difficult to get my foot in the door in this field.”

Chris Szell ‘92: Biology Major

Served 1992-1994 teaching science in Swaziland

“When any Peace Corps volunteer comes back, they go in different directions, but anything they do, they feel confident they can achieve it.”

Russ Morrison ‘78: History Major

Served 1979-1981 in Tunisia, agriculture sector. Also employed by Peace Corps as an Associate Peace Corps Director for six years serving in Yemen, Morocco and Hungary.

“PC has shaped the rest of my life.  It was the advice of my Hiram history professor that convinced me to make the commitment.  Mostly, these days I fulfill the third goal of PC, sharing my experiences around the world with my high school students. ”

Mike Swetye ’69: Economics Major

Served 1970-1972 in the Cote d’Ivoire

“You contribute a lot, but what you get back is infinitely more than what you contribute.”

Jeannine Tonetti ‘65: Philosophy Major

Served 1965-1967 in Kurdish area of Turkey teaching English as a second language

“I learned how to think, to not assume that what I thought was correct, to doubt, to inquire, to be curious. That certainly contributed to my desire to find out about other cultures.”

If you would like to be included on this list, please email HwangM@Hiram.edu with your name, graduation year and major and details and years of your Peace Corps service.

Merose Hwang Headshot

Merose Hwang, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of History
Program Coordinator for Asian Studies Minor and the Peace Corps Prep Program
Advisor for the Eclectic Scholars Honors Program