Alum Among First Peace Corps Volunteers to Return to Service Overseas

Apr 13, 2022

“I am excited for service, and am ready to work hard," says alumnus Samuel King (‘21, Geography), who will serve as a volunteer in Zambia.

Sam King, Peace Corps volunteer
Samuel King, Peace Corps volunteer

Cal Poly Humboldt alumnus Samuel King (‘21, Geography) is among the first Peace Corps volunteers to return to overseas service since the agency’s unprecedented global evacuation in March 2020. The Peace Corps suspended global operations and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers from more than 60 countries at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am excited for service, and am ready to work hard. I want to make meaningful connections with the people I live and work with,” said King, who will serve as a volunteer in Zambia in the environment sector. “I hope to gain language, cultural and technical skills; gain personal resiliency through the hardships I will experience; communicate with people from different cultural backgrounds; and witness the beauty of nature and wildlife. I also hope that the Peace Corps will give me the time to reflect on my future career direction.

In 2020, Cal Poly Humboldt ranked No. 16 among medium schools on the agency’s list of top Peace Corps volunteer-producing colleges and universities. HSU has been a top school for over 10 years. Since the agency’s founding in 1961, around 880 alumni from the University have served abroad as Peace Corps volunteers.

The volunteer cohorts serving in the Dominican Republic and Zambia are made up of both first-time volunteers and volunteers who were evacuated in early 2020. Upon finishing a three-month training, volunteers will collaborate with their host communities on locally prioritized projects in one of Peace Corps’ six sectors – agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health or youth in development – and all will engage in COVID-19 response and recovery work. 

This is a historic moment at a pivotal time in the world. We are witnessing the largest vaccination effort in history, ongoing concerns about COVID-19, and a war that is expected to broadly impact food security,” said Peace Corps CEO Carol Spahn. “The return of Peace Corps volunteers to the Dominican Republic and Zambia is just one step in returning volunteers to countries around the world to partner with host communities and support urgent response and recovery efforts.”

Among their assignments, volunteers in Zambia will partner with communities to provide COVID-19 education and promote access to vaccinations in coordination with local leaders and partner ministries, including the Ministry of Health. In the Dominican Republic, volunteers will support communities in overcoming challenges attributed to the educational and economic impacts of the pandemic. Their activities will include recovering student’s literacy skills, addressing increased school drop-out rates, and preparing young adults for the workforce.

On March 15, the Peace Corps welcomed the first volunteers to service in Zambia. Currently the Peace Corps has 35 volunteers in Zambia and the Dominican Republic. The agency is recruiting volunteers to serve at 24 of the agency’s 60 posts, though all posts have enthusiastically requested the return of volunteers. The Peace Corps will continue to monitor COVID-19 trends in all of its host countries and send volunteers to serve as conditions permit.

King will work in cooperation with his local community and partner organizations on sustainable development projects.

About the Peace Corps
The Peace Corps is an international service network of volunteers, community members, host country partners and staff who are driven by the agency’s mission of world peace and friendship. At the invitation of governments around the world, Peace Corps volunteers work alongside community members on locally prioritized projects in the areas of education, health, environment, agriculture, community economic development and youth development. 

Through service, members of the Peace Corps network develop transferable skills and hone intercultural competencies that position them to be the next generation of global leaders. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 240,000 Americans have served in 142 countries worldwide. For more information, visit peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.