Peace Corps Prep

Peace Corps Prep Program

Peace Corps Prep is a program for Saint Michael’s students who are interested in serving as Peace Corps volunteers after graduating.  Since its founding in 1961, the Peace Corps has attracted students with liberal education backgrounds and strong leadership skills who wish to make a difference in the lives of other people overseas, while increasing their appreciation of the world beyond the United States.  In 2016 the Peace Corps recognized Saint Michael's as one of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities in the country, and it is one of a growing number of colleges to offer a Peace Corps Prep program.

The Peace Corps Prep curriculum allows students flexibility in pursuing academic and co-curricular experiences common to a Saint Michael’s undergraduate education.  Students majoring in most disciplines are able to participate in the program, and many of the co-curricular opportunities available to students at Saint Michael’s provide excellent preparation for the Peace Corps.  The Peace Corps Prep courses and activities are designed to span a student's entire college career, so the earlier a student can apply, the easier it will be to design a workable program.

 For specifics on course choices, students should consult with the College Peace Corps Prep coordinator Dan Evans and their major advisor.

The Peace Corps Prep program will prepare you for international development fieldwork and potential Peace Corps service. To accomplish this, you’ll build four core competencies through interrelated coursework, hands-on experience, and professional development support. 

Training and Experience in a Peace Corps Work Sector

Leveraging concrete knowledge and skills is central to on-the-ground international development work. Through this PC Prep program, you will begin to build a professional specialty, which should serve your career well whether or not you become a Peace Corps volunteer. The four work sectors are

  • Education
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Environmental Studies and Sciences
  • Business Entrepreneurship  

Foreign Language Skills

Working across cultures often entails verbal and nonverbal languages distinct from your own. Building foreign language skills is thus a second key component of the PC Prep curriculum.

Intercultural Competence

Engaging thoughtfully and fluidly across cultures begins with one’s own self-awareness. With this learning objective, you will deepen your cultural agility through a mix of three introspective courses in which you learn about others while reflecting upon your own self in relation to others. The goal is for you to build your capacity to shift perspective and behavior around relevant cultural differences. 

Professional and Leadership Development

International development is a highly professional sector. It is difficult to break into and demands great initiative and leadership to advance professionally within the field. PC Prep requires work in three specific areas that will strengthen your candidacy for the Peace Corps (or any other professional endeavor):

  • Résumé development
  • Interview skills development 
  • Leadership experience


Foreign Language Study

Peace Corps Prep participants must be prepared to interact professionally and in service capacities in a foreign language.  Students at Saint Michael’s therefore are encouraged to achieve the equivalent of at least the 206 course level or higher in a foreign language.

Global Awareness/International Understanding

At Saint Michael’s College, students interested in the Peace Corps Prep program should seek to better understand the world—especially the developing world—and deepen their cultural agility and ability to reflect upon their own selves in relation to others.  As a baseline to build intercultural competence, students should enroll in AL250 Intercultural Communication, a course which explores the challenges of becoming interculturally competent in a global world.  In addition, ideally towards the end of their having completed the Peace Corps Prep curriculum at Saint Michael’s, students will enroll in Peace Corps Orientation Seminar, a 1-credit course that is offered at Saint Michael’s to provide a more systematic way to help prospective Peace Corps volunteers prepare for the challenges of their upcoming experience.

In addition, in consultation with the Peace Corps Prep coordinator, students should select two more courses that support global awareness and intercultural understanding.   

Examples of such courses currently offered in the Saint Michael’s curriculum include

  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Anthropology of Refugees
  • Cross-Cultural Management
  • International Economics
  • Foundations of Global Studies
  • International Relations
  • Religious studies courses
  • History courses

Saint Michael’s College Peace Corps Primary Service Sector Courses

The Peace Corps seeks participants who have begun to acquire more concrete sector-specific skills central to development work.  Students at Saint Michael’s should take at least three courses to enhance their ability to work ideally in one of the following sectors:

  • Education
  • Health and  Nutrition
  • Environmental Studies and Sciences
  • Business Entrepreneurship

In addition to course work in a primary service sector, the Peace Corps Prep student is required to participate in at least 50 hours of hands-on experience in the service sector of their choice.

Leadership, and Community Engagement at Saint Michael’s

International development is a highly professional sector.  It is difficult to break into and demands great initiative and leadership to advance professionally within the field.  PC Prep requires three specific activities that will strengthen your candidacy for the Peace Corps (or any other professional endeavor):

  • Have your résumé critiqued by the Career Education and Alumni Engagement Center.
  • Attend a workshop or class on interview skills at the Career Education and Alumni Engagement Center.
  • Develop at least one significant leadership experience and be prepared to discuss it thoughtfully.  Examples include organizing a campus event, leading a work or volunteer project, serving on the executive board of a student organization, or studying abroad for a semester.



Jeffrey Ayres, PhD

Professor of Political Science
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B.A. University of Virginia
M.A. and Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Areas of Expertise:

Globalization, Global and Regional Governance, International Relations, Social Movements and Contentious Politics, Canadian and North American Politics

Courses I Teach:

  • Globalization and Resistance
  • Global Governance
  • Global Problems
  • International Relations
  • Politics of the World Economy
  • Social Movements and Contentious Politics
  • U.S. Foreign Policy

Allison Cleary, MA

Instructor, Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts
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M.A. Syracuse University, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
B.A. Kenyon College

With a background in magazine journalism, nonprofit writing and international service, I believe that effective communication and storytelling help to connect us as human beings and as stewards of the globe. In both the classroom and the international landscape effective communication breaks barriers, educates and links us as integral members of a community.

Much of my own writing and editing has revolved around health, social justice and identifying the exceptional within the ordinary. Prior to coming to Saint Michael's College in 2006, I was senior editor for Eating Well, a national magazine. I have edited and written for Reader's Digest Health Publications, Da Capo Press and a variety of consumer, non-profit and corporate publications that include books, magazines, newsletters and websites. 

For six years I coordinated the international service program of MOVE (Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts) at St. Michael’s College, leading groups of students to Kolkata, India, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala where we worked with families and individuals of marginalized communities beside organizations that focus on sustainable change and grass roots empowerment. 

Courses I Teach:

  • Reporting for Media
  • Multimedia Reporting
  • Storytelling & Design for Publication
  • The Magazine & Feature Writing
  • Persuasive Writing
  • Internship in Media Studies
  • Strategic Writing 

In my writing, reporting and publishing courses, students explore the art of interviewing, experiment with the vast nuances and power of language, and learn to identify and practice elements of strong storytelling and communication through a variety of mediums. They study how to best reach specific audiences and how to adapt their skills to the task at hand.  

I often weave community-engaged projects into the classroom so that students gain an understanding of complex social issues and real world challenges while community organizations benefit from student learning. The projects involve research, an understanding of audience and mission and compelling delivery of the materials produced. 

In the internship course students explore professional work settings as they partner with an organization or company in roles that exercise their knowledge and skills, from videography to data analytics to social media outreach. The class supports them through challenges and helps students weave their experiences into future job interviews, networking, and skills needed to create professional success in life after college. 

The Defender

I serve as the faculty advisor for The Defender, Saint Michael's award-winning student newspaper. Recent accoldades for The Defender include:
  • A student from Reporting for Media course in spring 2018 published their final project, a feature article titled “Running Scared? School Shooting Drills in Vermont Spark Debate on Safety Approaches,” in the Burlington Free Press in July 2018.  

  • Executive editor of the campus publication The Defender, Kelsey Bode, won the Reporter of the Year award from the New England Press Association in 2017. 

  • Senior editor for the campus publication The Defender, Madeline Clark, was a finalist for Reporter of the Year Pacemaker Award from the Associate Collegiate Press, 2018. 


Laurence Clerfeuille, PhD

Associate Professor of Classical and Modern Languages and Literature: French

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Klein Hall 108
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Ph.D. University of Southern California
M.A. University of Southern California
M.A. Tulane University
Maitrise in English, Université Michel de Montaigne, Bordeaux, France

Areas of Expertise:

French language, Haitian Literature, Caribbean Literature from Martinique and Guadeloupe, Francophone Literatures and Cultures, Immigration, Beur, North and West African Literatures, 19th and 20th Century French Literature, French History, Civilization and Politics, Women Writers

Courses I Teach:

  • French language
  • Voices of Resistance
  • French grammar and composition

George Dameron, PhD

Professor of History, Coordinator of Humanities, Chair Phi Beta Kappa
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Durick Library 306
Box 141
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Ph.D. Harvard University
M.A. Harvard University
B.A. Duke University

Areas of Expertise:

Medieval and Early Modern Europe; Medieval Italy, with particular focus on thirteenth and fourteenth century Tuscany (social, economic, cultural, political)

Courses I Teach:

  • Ancient and Medieval Civilization
  • The Black Death
  • Culture and Society in Medieval Italy
  • Early Modern Europe
  • The Franciscans
  • The Historian's Craft
  • Honors Colloquium
  • Joan of Arc (First Year Seminar)
  • Medieval Europe
  • Renaissance and Reformation
  • Senior Seminar
  • Topics in Medieval History: (topics vary and include "Women and Gender in the Middle Ages")

Patricia Delaney, PhD

Associate Professor of Anthropology

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Saint Edmund's Hall 246
Box 386
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M.A., Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles
B.S. Georgetown University

Areas of Expertise:

Gender and international development; war, conflict, and the contestation of cultural identity; relief to development continuum; poverty and stratification in the global south; grassroots development and participatory approaches; East Timor; Lusophone Africa 

Courses I Teach:

  • Anthropological Perspectives on Gender
  • Gender and International Development
  • Introductory Anthropology
  • Participatory Action Research
  • People and Cultures of the Lusuphone World
  • Life Histories

Dan Evans, PhD

Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics/TESOL

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Saint Edmund's Hall 137
Box 253
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Bachelor of Journalism, University of Missouri
M.A. and PhD, University of Texas at Austin

Dan started his long career in English language teaching as a Peace Corps volunteer in South Korea in 1971-73 and has been involved in the field ever since.  He is delighted to be able to continue his relationship with Peace Corps by administering two Saint Michael’s programs – Peace Corps Master’s International and Peace Corps Prep.  Before joining the faculty of Saint Michael’s College, he spent 10 years teaching in South Korea and Japan.

Areas of Expertise:

Second-language acquisition theory and methods, attitudes and motivation in second-language learning, acquisition of suprasegmental features of pronunciation, English phonology, and pronunciation teaching.

Courses I Teach:

Theory and Method in Language Teaching
Teaching Oral Skills in ESL/EFL
Practicum II
Peace Corps Orientation Seminar
Various language courses within the English Language Programs

Richard Gamache, M.Ed

Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics/TESOL

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Saint Edmund's Hall 115
Box 253
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B.A., M.Ed. Saint Michael’s College

My Saint Michael's:

I hope my St. Edmund's Hall office, which I've been in for 15 years, is a welcoming space for students, faculty and staff, many of whom stop in for a cup of coffee (I brew a 50-cup coffee urn every day) regularly. In addition to the coffee pot, there's a blackboard (yes blackboard, not whiteboard) on one of my walls which students have signed in on, almost ceremoniously, for years at some point during their stay. Of late, I have lots of gardening tools in my office that we are all using to help plant and maintain the International Garden. One corner of the office is beginning to look like a garden shed!

Jon Hyde, PhD

Associate Professor of Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts; Director, Global Studies Program

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Jeanmarie Hall 164
Box 284
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M.A., Ph.D. New York University
B.A. Carleton College

Fulbright Senior Research/Teaching Fellow: University of Malaysia, Borneo
Co-Director of the Center for Media, Health, and Wellness
Co-Founder/Director Global Studies Program 
Technology & Instructional Design Coordination – SMC and NYU
Bhutan Media Education Initiative SMC and the Centre for Media and Democracy

Areas of Expertise

  • Photography, Film and Television:  Creative Production, Storytelling and Critical Analysis
  • Screen Lives: Smartphones, Netflix, YouTube and the Global Impact of Screen-based and Streaming Media. 
  • The New (R)Evolutions in Documentary Filmmaking: International Economics, Analytics, Collaborations
  • Global Media and International Communication Systems: Culture, Identity, Economics and Development
  • Media and Health: The Social and Psychological Impact of Modern Media (Children-Teens-Adults-Elderly)  
  • Environmental and Adventure Photography and Filmmaking: Nature, Science, Conservation
  • New Technologies: Art, Design, Interface, Impact

Courses I Teach:

  • Introduction to Digital Film:  Analysis, Storytelling, and Production
  • Advanced Documentary Filmmaking: From Script to Screen
  • Global Communications and Culture: International Media Systems and Globalization
  • Senior Seminar Research and Project Development
  • Senior Capstone Seminar:  Documentary Film, TV, and Web Production
  • Adventure and Environmental Filmmaking: Nature, Science, Conservation and Health
  • World Film, Video, and Television: International Industries, Economics, and Representations
  • ScreenLife: Modern Visual, Streaming, and Mobile Media
  • International Media Field Research Projects: Bhutan, Brazil, Greece, Czech Republic, Malaysia, Israel, Egypt, Ireland

Additionally, I’ve also served as a graduate thesis advisor for research in the areas of film and television, global media, media education, media literacy, emergent media, and the social and political impact of communication systems.  

Professional Experiences:

Prior to teaching at Saint Michael's, I worked in New York City as a journalist, digital animator, and a media developer at the Media Workshop New York, a non-profit organization devoted to issues of media education and media literacy.

Scott Lewins, MS

Instructor of Biology
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Contact Professor Lewins

Cheray Hall 313F
Box 283
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B.S. State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
M.S. University of Maryland

Areas of Expertise:

Sustainable Agriculture, Entomology, Biological Control, Insect Agroecology

Courses I Teach:

  • Insects and Society
  • Introduction to Cell Biology and Genetics
  • Introduction to Ecology and Evolution
  • Biological Communication
  • Animal Behavior
  • Field Tropical Ecology

My Saint Michael's:

I have been conducting applied agricultural research on farms throughout Vermont since I moved here in 2006. Shortly thereafter, I brought my love for field-based research and passion for teaching into the classroom to benefit the students of Saint Michael's College. My current research focuses on sustainable pest management, in particular the development of appropriate Integrated Pest Management tactics for northeastern organic vegetable growers.

Outside Saint Michael's:

I enjoy snowshoeing and hiking with my family, as well as cooking and eating great food.

Peace Corps Prep students will be able to collaborate with students in the Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows program offered in the Applied Linguistics Department at Saint Michael's College.  This master's degree program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages is offered to Peace Corps volunteers who have completed service in the English language teaching field.  Prep students will benefit from direct interaction with these returned PCVs to gain real insight into the Peace Corps experience. 



Fluency in foreign languages, international experience, and cross-cultural understanding are highly sought-after assets in today’s global economy. The Peace Corps provides you with up to three months of intensive training before service begins and offers continued training throughout your service.  Volunteers returning from abroad have used their Peace Corps experience as the foundation for successful careers in a variety of fields, from government to business to education.

When volunteers return to the United States, the Peace Corps provides transition assistance related to jobs and education.

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