Tayla Straub Becomes First Student to Complete Peace Corps Prep Program
By Amaya McDonald
The Peace Corps Prep Program was launched by the Stony Brook University Career Center in October 2020, giving students an opportunity to grow as leaders and professionals as they explore global citizenship.
Undergraduate students that participate in the program build four core competencies by completing hands-on experiences, interrelated coursework, and professional development support. When the program is completed, students earn a Peace Corps Prep microcredential and will have a better understanding of global service.
This year, senior English major Tayla Straub became the first student to complete the Peace Corps Prep Program through Stony Brook University, the only New York higher education institution to receive an invitation to apply this past year.
Straub’s passion for global service began when she was in high school where she was enrolled in an IB Diploma program. She had the opportunity to travel to Denmark where she and her classmates visited a Syrian refugee camp.
“I had never really experienced anything like that before,” Straub said. She said seeing the refugees “so happy with the little that they had made [her] reevaluate [her] values.”
Straub said this trip changed her perspective on service and opened her eyes to the different ways she could help others.
“I think that was the first time I looked into global service,” Straub said. “I became very interested in immersing myself in a culture, learning their ways [of life], and then also showing them my way.”
At Stony Brook University, Straub continued to seek out opportunities to learn and observe the world from a global perspective. Straub realized that the coursework in her English classes was often based in literature from Europe and other parts of the world.
“It kind of opens your eyes to what authorship and literature has to offer to the needs of the people outside of where you live,” Straub said.
Straub also credits her anthropology studies for encouraging her interest in humanitarian work. Now that she has completed the Peace Corps Prep program, Straub hopes to volunteer with the Peace Corp and work in education in African countries.
In reference to her Peace Corps Prep microcredential, Straub said, “I definitely am going to show that off to any Peace Corps Recruiter I speak to and it’s definitely something I’m going to include on my application. Although it can’t guarantee me entrance into the program, it definitely puts me at a bit of an advantage.”
The Peace Corps Prep program is open to all undergraduate students with an interest in global service and humanitarianism. For more information visit www.stonybrook.edu/peace-corps-prep.