Catawba College Alum Among First Peace Corps Volunteers to Return to Service Overseas

Renée (Menius) Alexander, Catawba College alum, is among the first Peace Corps volunteers to return to overseas service since the agency’s unprecedented global evacuation in March 2020. The Peace Corps suspended global operations and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers from more than 60 countries at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Volunteers who shared their stories of meaningful service, lifetime friendships and cultural connections motivated me to join the Peace Corps. I hope to achieve fluency in Spanish; provide a positive example of U.S. citizens; and learn different ways of living, looking at life, and solving problems. I am excited about integrating into another country and culture,” said Alexander .

Alexander is a 1991 graduate of Catawba College with a bachelor’s degree in communication arts and psychology. Currently, she resides in San Francisco, California.

“The world is at a critical juncture. The largest global vaccination effort in history is underway while other widespread health, social, political, and environmental issues continue to erode the foundation of our global society. Actions taken in the next few years have the potential to fundamentally impact development trajectories for decades to come,” said Peace Corps CEO Carol Spahn. “Peace Corps volunteers returning to Colombia will work alongside community members to support urgent development efforts and build critical connections.”  

The volunteer cohorts are made up of both first-time volunteers and volunteers who were evacuated in early 2020. Upon finishing a three-month training, volunteers will collaborate with their host communities on locally prioritized projects in one of Peace Corps’ six sectors – agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health or youth in development – and all will engage in COVID-19 response and recovery work.

Currently, the agency is recruiting volunteers to serve in 48 countries around the world at the request of host country governments, to connect through the Peace Corps’ grassroots approach across communities and cultures. Volunteers have already returned to a total of 23 countries around the world.