Deputy Director of the U.S. Peace Corps, Carrie Hessler-Radelet, encouraged Josef Korbel School students on Friday, January 7th to be open to opportunities and look actively for them because they aren't going to fall in your lap.
"If you want to be extraordinary you have to break out of the mold," she said.
Hessler-Radelet, part of the first fourth-generation Peace Corps family, said she attributes part of her family's success to the Peace Corps. Her husband, Steve Radelet, is the chief economist at USAID. Had he not done the Peace Corps, Hessler said it is absolutely certain he would not be where he is today.
"The Peace Corps literally transformed his life, and it transformed mine as well," she said.
Hessler-Radelet and Radelet were volunteers in Western Samoa from 1980-1983, where they taught at an all-girls Catholic high school.
"We were open to opportunities as they came," Hessler-Radelet said. "We took chances. We took risks."
Hessler-Radelet advised students to do the same. She also suggested that students obtain hard quantitative skills such as monetary evaluation, budgeting and proposal writing.
"You have to really prove you have value added," she said. "These aren't the fun classes but they're absolutely foundational."
Hessler-Radelet also encouraged students to network and use their connections, and to get international experience.
"If two years in a village is not your thing, there are plenty of other programs out there," Hessler-Radelet said.
-M. Schwinn, MA candidate in International Security
Josef Korbel School of International Studies
Learn more about our Peace Corps Master's International program and the Fellows program for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.