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Arkansas Tech Student Accepted to Peace Corps

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Lydia Lucien Grate, the 21 year old daughter of Glenda Brown-Grate, has been accepted into the Peace Corps. She will be departing for Togo (West Africa) on June 2 to become an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Advisor.

“I’ve only left the country one time, to Canada when I was two, but I don’t even remember it. So, I’m really looking forward to creating unforgettable memories in Togo,” said Grate.

Grate’s work will entail Small Enterprise Development (SED). Out of more than 100 Peace Corps volunteers in Togo, there are 24 with SED and ICT assignments.  These volunteers work with organizations, service providers, individual and associated entrepreneurs, youth, women and people affected with HIV/AIDS.

SED and ICT volunteers generally provide training in basic business skills and organizational development, targeting areas such as: marketing, strategic business planning, inventory management, bookkeeping and accounting. This is done through informal consultation sessions with individuals or more formal classes.

“I may not have running water or electricity at my site in Togo. Initially, I was concerned by this, but I’m excited to learn how to truly live without all the amenities. We take so much for granted in America, and this will really put it in perspective,” said Grate.

Grate graduated from Atkins High School in 2007 and will graduate from Arkansas Tech University with three Bachelor of Arts degrees in May. Her majors are broadcast journalism, public relations and speech communication with minors in business and history. Grate currently works as an intern with the Russellville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Grate was selected last year as one of 28 representatives from Arkansas Tech into the 2010 edition of Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. She has served as president and public relations and recruitment officer for Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE). She also belongs to the Society of Professional Journalists, the Public Relations Student Society of America and the forensics program at Tech. Her other affiliations at Arkansas Tech have included radio station KXRJ, TV6, the Student Government Association, Volunteer Action Council, and the university standing committee for guidance and counseling. Grate has earned the Dr. Robert Edwards Book Scholarship, a Dean’s Scholarship, a departmental performance scholarship and multiple Dean’s List awards at Tech.

She would either like to work for an organization that specializes in humanitarian issues after her Peace Corps service, or attend graduate school.

“I originally planned to attend graduate school immediately following my service, but I’m going to wait and see where the Peace Corps takes me. The experience could change my life plans, and I’m open to that,” Grate said.

Peace Corps was created in 1961 under John F. Kennedy’s administration with the mission “to promote world peace and friendship.” The organization celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, and since the creation of the organization over 200,000 American’s have volunteered with the Peace Corps.

The ten core expectations for Peace Corps a volunteer include:

1.       Prepare your personal and professional life to make a commitment to serve abroad for a full term of 27 months.

2.      Commit to improving the quality of life of the people with whom you live and work; and in doing so, share your skills, adapt them, and learn new skills as needed.

3.      Serve where the Peace Corps asks you to go, under conditions of hardship, if necessary, and with the flexibility needed for effective service.

4.      Recognize that your successful and sustainable development work is based on the local trust and confidence you build by living in, and respectfully integrating yourself into, your host community and culture.

5.      Recognize that you are responsible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your personal conduct and professional performance.

6.      Engage with host country partners in a spirit of cooperation, mutual learning, and respect.

7.      Work within the rules and regulations of the Peace Corps and the local and national laws of the country where you serve.

8.      Exercise judgment and personal responsibility to protect your health, safety, and well-being and that of others.

9.      Recognize that you will be perceived in your host country and community, as a representative of the people, cultures, values and traditions of the United States of America.

10.   Represent responsibility of the people, cultures, values, and traditions of your host country and community to people in the United States both during and following your service.

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