RIC grad begins Peace Corps service in Panama

RIC grad Andrew Egan '09 of Woonsocket met with Sen. Jack Reed
in Reed's Cranston office on Aug. 10. Egan,who was an intern for Reed
in 2008, will leave for Panama later this month to begin pre-service training
as a Peace Corps volunteer.
Andrew Egan’s mother and grandmother taught him that it is the duty of the strong to protect the weak. It’s a lesson that helped lead the 2009 RIC grad to join the Peace Corps.

Egan, who earned a BA in political science and public administration at RIC, will depart for Panama on August 18 to begin pre-service training as a community economic consultant Peace Corps volunteer. Upon graduation from training in November, Egan will be helping Panamanian development to raise the country's standards of living and identify areas of economic opportunities.

“Peace Corps seemed like the best option for me so I could serve my fellow man, while fulfilling my dream of living abroad and learning about other cultures and becoming fluent in another language,” Egan said.

He added that this service would also enable him to help the underserved populations in Rhode Island when the Woonsocket resident returns from Panama.

During the first three months of his service, Egan will live with a host family in Panama to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the language and cultural skills necessary to assist his community, Egan will serve for two years in Panama, living in a manner similar to people in his host country.

Egan previously worked for the AmeriCorps VISTA program at The Blessing Way in Providence as a business outreach coordinator. While in college, he was an intern in the offices of Sen. Jack Reed and Rep. Patrick Kennedy, and on Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s campaign. He currently volunteers at the Adult Correctional Institutes.

While at RIC, Egan was a resident assistant for two years, served as the Class of 2009 president from 2005-08, and participated in the America Reads Program, working with kindergarten students at the Henry Barnard School on the RIC campus. He is now active in the Young Alumni Group at the college.

“I will always be grateful to RIC for giving me by far the best foundation which anyone could ask for as I begin in my path in life,” Egan said.

Egan praised his professors who, he said, were willing to help prepare him for the real world. “Their one-on-one approach and ability to always be accessible always came in handy,” he said. Egan also believes the variety of courses available to him at RIC – from women’s studies, to social work, to cross cultural perspectives – will be helpful in his Panama service.

Egan joins the 33 Rhode Island residents currently serving in the Peace Corps. More than 931 Rhode Island residents have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

Over 1,734 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Panama since the program was established in 1963. Volunteers in this Central American nation work in the areas of community economic development, environmental and agricultural conservation, health and HIV/AIDS awareness, water sanitation, and hygiene promotion. Currently, 189 volunteers are serving in Panama.

Peace Corps offers new and expanded opportunities in areas such as TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). The agency is also actively recruiting liberal arts majors who have a commitment to public service.