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Two Righetti 2014 Grads Headed into the Peace Corps

           Becky Aldrich                                                                      Mia Levy

There must have been something in the air when the Righetti High class of 2014 walked across the graduation stage. Not one, but two of those grads (and dance team members) have joined the Peace Corps this year.

Becky Aldrich just received her bachelor’s degree in Global Studies from UC Berkeley, while Mia Levy attended the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign where she double majored in Sociocultural Anthropology and Global Studies.

Before college, neither woman had the Peace Corps on her radar. Levy originally wanted to be a broadcast journalist and Aldrich, though she learned about it in high school, hadn’t planned to join. Yet, over time, each found themselves going down a path that led to international service.

“I started to think about applying for the Peace Corps towards the end of my last year at Berkeley,” says Aldrich. “I knew that I wanted to spend some time working and volunteering before going to graduate school and [it] seemed like a great experience. I wanted to work in an environment that not only allows me to gain new professional skills but that also allows me to give my time to global issues that I care deeply about.”

After spending a summer with her cousin in Guatemala at age seventeen, Levy knew she wanted to work internationally and took advantage of study abroad programs in college by spending semesters in India, Ecuador, and Argentina. “With that time immersed in other cultures and the teaching of many amazing professors I found my way to deciding to take a break before grad school to travel,” she shares.

Aldrich will be serving as a volunteer in Senegal in West Africa, while Levy will be teaching English in Costa Rica.

“I think it will be difficult,” Levy admits. “I’ve never taught English before. I’ve never been out of the country for such an extended period of time. But with that I think it will also be eye opening. How could one not do the Peace Corps and not come back a changed person? I’m excited to see where this adventure takes me.”

“Now that I’ve graduated I’m looking forward to getting some real world experience and making new connections,” says Aldrich. “I’m really looking forward to working in a completely new and different environment and meeting new people. This experience will be a big change for me and I’m excited to embrace the challenges that come with it.”

For others considering volunteering internationally, Levy suggests learning more about the types of projects the United States implements in other countries. “The Peace Corps was the perfect decision for me,” she says. “I believe that it was one form of development projects that has the potential to create change due to its rigorous training for volunteers combined with [a] concrete infrastructure that they’ve been developing for decades.”

Aldrich adds, “I think that the dedication the Peace Corps has to young people around the world is invaluable. I so deeply admire the ways in which the Peace Corps supports the next generation through its service and I strived to be a part of that.”

Rebecca Ross reporting