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Peace Corps Achievements — December 2020

Achievements of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Across the country — and around the world

By Peter Deekle (Iran 1968–70)





Ackeem Evans (2018–20) is the co-founder of EVERYONE EATS FOUNDATION, Inc. He is the project manager for World Central Kitchen, helping feed Louisiana refugees and first responders in the 2020 aftermath of Hurricane Laura.






Megan McComb (2018–20) received a Fulbright fellowship for the 2020–21 grant year. She will serve as English Teaching Assistants (ETA) abroad. While the COVID-19 pandemic postponed travel plans, she will be able to begin her placement as soon as January 2021, conditions permitting.





Cody Grasser has been promoted to the position of Ohio State Coordinator of Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever. Grasser will lead the organization’s partnerships in the state, including relationships with the United States Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Division of Wildlife, and other partnership efforts.




Mauricia Baca was recently named by The Nature Conservancy in Nevada as the chapter’s new state director. She began her new role on November 16 and is based in Las Vegas. ­­She brings 25 years of experience in nonprofit and conservation organizations.






Danielle Nierenberg received the Smithsonian Institution’s Julia Child Award in October 2020. She is an activist, an advocate who works behind the scenes to find ways of making the world’s food system more equitable through her seven-year-old nonprofit Food Tank.





David Schweidenback founded and runs New Jersey-based Pedals for Progress and Sewing Peace. The organization partnered with the Newtown Rotary Club in October 2020 for its 18th annual bike and sewing machine collection drive. Bicycles collected by Pedals for Progress are reconditioned and shipped overseas to needy countries where they are used as vital transportation modes and to move goods from one village to another.





Andrew Tadross (2011–2013) served as a lecturer at the University of Mekele in the Tigray region and has recently published an all-ages coloring book, What is Ethiopia? It depicts various subjects in the country during the current turbulent time.






Terrell J. Starr is a senior reporter for The Root whose writing covers Russia, Ukraine, the 2020 election, race, and security issues. He recently joined the Hamilton Lugar School (Indiana University) as part of its speaker series on Race, Gender, and Power in Global Affairs. He is working on a book project that examines U.S.-Russia relations from a Black perspective.





Jacob Foss wrote “Let’s Talk About Food Loss” for the October edition of Whole Foods Magazine. He is the Chief Operating Officer of Agricycle Global Inc., an organization of ethical brands using a systems-based zero waste approach to international development.






Joi Latson (2019) joined the World Food Prize Foundation as a Program Coordinator. She will be responsible for assisting the Director of Youth Leadership Development in the implementation and creation of the annual World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, which brings together over 200 students and teachers from around the globe each year.




Nora Wynne is a middle school Spanish teacher in California. She was selected as one of only five teachers statewide to be named “Teacher of the Year” for 2021 by the California Department of Education. During her Peace Corps service, her original assignment was to help farmers learn about organic agricultural methods, but she ended up teaching in elementary schools, changing her future career path toward education.





Paul Hicks (1993–95) is a project manager for Catholic Relief Services. Living and working in El Salvador for the past 11 years, he and his colleagues have spearheaded an initiative called Blue Harvest around sustainable agriculture related to coffee.






Paige Stewart (2018) was nominated for the Kansas Horizon Award, a program that identifies and recognizes first-year teachers who perform with distinction.







Gerry Krzic accepted the national Peace Corps Association’s Loret Miller Ruppe Award for Outstanding Community Service on behalf of the Friends of Korea. He is the president of Friends of Korea and the Ohio Program of Intensive English.






Jia Tolentino (2010–11) is a staff writer at The New Yorker. Jai hosted a virtual reading and Q&A for Manhattan College’s Major Authors Reading Series in October 2020.






Paul Johnson (1995–97) has been named Chief Information Officer at Poly, a global communications company supporting connections and collaboration.






James Melonas has been named the next Forest Supervisor of the National Forests in North Carolina. He began his new role in late November 2020.






Zach Barricklow (2005–10) is the Vice President of Strategy at Wilkes Community College. Zach has been named as a 2020 Trailblazer by Business North Carolina magazine.






Ben Doyle (2001–03; regional recruiter, 2004–06) started his job as president of the Preservation Trust of Vermont in early October 2020. He served as Assistant State Director for Rural Development from 2018–20.





Nick Gengler, a wildlife ecologist and conservationist at the University of Florida, has received a National Science Foundation research grant. The COVID-19 travel restrictions have put his research in Paraguay’s Atlantic Forest on hold for the time being. Right now he is analyzing data from other studies that are similar to his planned project while he waits.





Diane Glover (2018–20) served through October 2020 as a Community Compact coordinator at Emory’s Oxford College, helping inform Emory students about her service and supporting them in upholding the Community Compact, introduced in Fall 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was evacuated from Peace Corps service in the Philippines in March 2020. She recently began a position as program analyst with the General Services Administration.




Amy Maglio (1996–99) received the Gender Equality Award from the UN Women USA Chicago Chapter in October 2020. She is the founder of Women’s Global Education Project, which creates opportunities and equality for girls in marginalized and rural communities.





Please share your news with us! Email Peter Deekle.