Senuty is available to help students with application process
By Alison Ward
Western Washington University hired a new recruiter Jan. 19 to help students explore the different opportunities to join the Peace Corps.
Abby Senuty, the new Peace Corps recruiter, was a youth in development volunteer in Morocco from 2018 to 2020. Senuty’s mother was also a Peace Corps volunteer. Senuty will be available as a Peace Corps resource for Western students.
“As a Peace Corps recruiter, I connect students to Peace Corps opportunities, help them determine if the Peace Corps is right for them and support interested students through the application process,” Senuty said. “I host weekly office hours on Zoom and virtual events about the Peace Corps.”
Senuty’s office hours are Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment.
Senuty said she has fond memories of students she worked with in the Peace Corps, like Mohamed Amine, who began attending Senuty’s English classes.
“Quiet at first, he quickly became one of my most engaged students,” Senuty said. “He started watching TED Talks in his free time and bringing his notes to class to discuss with me. A year into my service, he stepped up as the student leader of a new English communication club at the center.”
Mohamed Amine, the student Abby worked with in Morocco, said their experience working with the Peace Corps volunteers was very interesting because they learned a lot of things in different fields. They added that it played a big role in their personality development to interact with others and help others with problem-solving and with learning a new language or skill.
Senuty said she loved watching young people discover their skills and talents and was drawn to the combination of community-centered work, language learning and cultural immersion.
According to Westerns Peace Corps basic facts page, volunteers who work in the Peace Corps can gain career skills such as language skills, management skills, hands-on field experience and cultural skills that are marketable to employers.
Jenny Spurgin, the assistant director of Employer Relations and Outreach, said they hired Abby because she is a returned Peace Corps volunteer — which is a requirement for this position — and she will be bringing lots of experience from her service and professional background.
Volunteers can serve in cities, while others may serve in small rural communities, Senuty said. They can also complete passion projects regarding agriculture, education, environment, health, youth in development and community economic development, according to the Peace Corps.
“Some volunteers complete very tangible projects during service, like the establishment of a community garden or improved access to clean water,” Senuty said. “Others have a less tangible, but still very meaningful impact, like fostering a stronger culture of volunteerism in a community or sparking a student’s love of learning.”
Craig Storti, a past Peace Corps volunteer and owner of a cross-cultural training business for government, business and academic clients, also mentioned his experience as a volunteer in Morocco and with other projects.
“I was a PCV in Morocco from 1970 to 1972 [and] a teacher of English as a foreign language in a Moroccan highschool,” Storti said. “Later, I worked for the PC in its headquarters in various jobs. After that I directed several PC pre-service training programs in Nepal, Morocco, Sri Lanka and Tunisia.”
The Peace Corps offers benefits for volunteers, which include: financial, student loan, travel, career, graduate school, medical and dental benefits, according to the Peace Corps website.
Storti said the circumstances volunteers face in the Peace Corps force them to rethink their attitudes and values, which help volunteers better understand themselves.
The Peace Corps is evaluating options for safe return to in-country operations and is accepting applications. The Peace Corps will begin sending volunteers overseas again as soon as it is safe to do so, according to Western’s Peace Corps website.
“Volunteer safety is a top priority for the Peace Corps,” Senuty said. “The Peace Corps is working to establish the plans and protocols necessary to ensure that the return to service is safe for both Peace Corps volunteers and host communities.”
Students can find the latest updates on the Peace Corps COVID-19 response to preparing their posts, host country communities and staff, at the Peace Corps agency updates page.
“I am here as a resource for all WWU students,” Senuty said. “Whether you’re certain you want to apply to the Peace Corps or just curious to learn more, I’d love to talk with you.”