We’ve just launched our new website! Some features may still be in the works – thank you for your patience as we fine-tune your experience.

Community Achievements – May 2019

Community News – Achievements of RPCVs

Author: Peter Deekle
May 2019



Natural resource professional Tammy Summers (2004-2006) has been hired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the new refuge manager for the Guam National Wildlife Refuge and superintendent for the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. She will provide leadership for the conservation management activities at the refuge and in the monument, including continuing to support important partnerships on Guam and in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.



Pavla Zakova Laney (1996-1999) started Educare-Africa, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, to continue assisting students and schools especially in rural areas with basic educational needs. Every year since 2000, she has been returning in May and June to assist students and local schools. She is collaborating on the construction of a community resource center in her assigned village Tatum that will contain a public library, internet, computer lab, conference room, guest rooms, Educare-Africa office, and more.



“The Refugee and the Thief,” a chapter in Peter Hessler’s (1996-98) new book is featured in the April 1, 2019 issue of The New Yorker. The book is entitled The Buried: An Archeology of the Egyptian Revolution. It will be published in May 2019.




Bill Owens (1962-1964) photographed the disastrous 1969 music festival at California’s Altamont Speedway. In 2019 a new publication (Bill Owens: Altamont 1969) includes new and previously published photographs of that infamous concert.




Lydia McCloskey (2010-2012) served in Peace Corps Jordan when the Syrian war was just beginning. It grew to impact her village and the lives of people in North Jordan where she lived. Peace Corps withdrew from Jordan because of imminent danger to volunteers. She discovered the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) and continues to work with AVP in California and through training and experience has acquired AVP skills that she applies in working within Jordan.



Lyn Dobrin (1965-1967) and J. Ibongia collaborated in 1993 on a children’s story set in Africa. The book has subsequently been distributed throughout the country and read by many young readers.




Bruce Maxwell (1977-1979), a professor in the Montana State University’s Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, received the Outstanding Research Award at the Weed Science Society of America’s 2019 annual meeting for his contributions to society’s understanding of weeds and weed control.




Craig Storti (1970-72) is Director of Communicating Across Cultures and the author of many books, including Culture Matters, a cross-cultural workbook used by the U.S. government in over 90 countries. He is also the author of a book read by many PCVs, The Art of Crossing Cultures. His most recent book is Why Travel Matters: A Guide to the Life-Changing Effects of Travel.



Kathryn (“Katy”) Wheelock was officially inducted into the French republic’s prestigious “Ordre des Palmes Académiques” (Order of the French Academic Palms) at the grade of “chevalier” (knight) at an investiture ceremony on April 5, 2019 presided by Karl Cogard, attaché for Educational Affairs from the Embassy of France in the United States. Wheelock began teaching French 25 years ago. She has been a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar to Senegal, a trainer with African Union Peacekeepers, a Cultural Orientation trainer with African refugees, and engaged in collaborative projects with the Peace Corps.


Elana Rabinowitz (1994-1996) is a freelance writer and ESL teacher. She recalled in her April 25, 2019 CNN Opinion essay her life in Sri Lanka during the height of the civil war between the government, run by Sinhalese Buddhists, and the Tamil separatists, largely Hindu, fighting for their independence. Her essay referenced the 2019 terrorist attack in Sri Lanka.



Concetta Anne Bencivenga (Thailand 1992-94) is Director of the New York Transit Museum, the largest museum in the United States devoted to urban public transportation history and one of the premier institutions of its kind in the world.




Jacob Johnson (2013-2015) a doctoral candidate in forest resources and in international agriculture and development at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has received a Fulbright Study/Research Award. The award will support Johnson’s doctoral research at the university, which explores the integration of multipurpose trees into farm-level aquaculture systems in Zambia.



Please share your news with us! Email Peter Deekle.

Skip to content