Westfield Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Tonga

Jessica Cronin
Westfield resident Jessica Cronin will depart for Tonga on August 29 to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Jessica Cronin, 22, of Westfield, New Jersey, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Tonga on August 29 to begin training as an Education Volunteer. Jessica will live and work in a community to implement student-centered English literacy practices in local schools.

“I wanted to join the Peace Corps as a way of fulfilling my desire to continue helping others,” Jessica said.

Jessica is the daughter of Martin and Ellen Cronin and a graduate of Westfield High School in Westfield, New Jersey. She then attended Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in Elementary Education in May 2016. Prior to joining the Peace Corps, she worked as a certified swim instructor and lifeguard and as a volunteer for various school programs in New London, Connecticut.

During the first three months of her service, Jessica will live with a host family in Tonga to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the necessary skills to assist her community, Jessica will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Tonga, where she will live and work for two years with the local people.

Jessica will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Tonga and help Jessica develop leadership, technical and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge when she returns home. Peace Corps Volunteers return from service as global citizens well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.

Jessica joins the 187 New Jersey residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 5,063 New Jersey residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

Click here to read more about the Peace Corps in Tonga.

Mamaroneck Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Tonga

Michael DeVito
Mamaroneck resident Michael DeVito, right, will depart for Tonga on August 29 to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Michael DeVito, 24, of Mamaroneck, New York, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Tonga on August 29 to begin training as an Education Volunteer. DeVito will live and work in a community to strengthen the English skills of Tongan primary and middle school children in the classroom.

“What attracted me to join the Peace Corps was the chance to live amongst people that I thought I would never meet,” said Michael of his desire to join the Peace Corps. “It is thrilling to think about the people I will meet and the experiences and lessons I will learn along the way.

“Lastly, the chance to live differently than I am accustomed to living and starting a life somewhere where I thought I would never even visit really motivated me to apply,” he added.

Michael is the son of Rosemary and Michael DeVito and a graduate of Rye Neck High School in Mamaroneck, New York. He then attended Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology with a concentration in archaeology and minors in drama and European studies. Prior to joining the Peace Corps, he served as an AmeriCorps volunteer in California by tutoring local students to improve their STEM and English language skills. He also worked as a customer service specialist and public relations intern for Broadway Inbound, a bookseller at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, a Theater Archives Intern at the Museum of the City of New York and as an employee at Hofstra University’s campus bookstore.

During the first three months of his service, Michael will live with a host family in Tonga to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the necessary skills to assist his community, Michael will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Tonga, where he will live and work for two years with the local people.

“One personal goal I hope to achieve during my service is learning how to utilize my anticipated feeling of isolation and use it as a tool to make the most out of each passing day,” Michael said. “I hope to try new things and encounter different people as often as I can so that I can better immerse myself in my new surroundings.”

Michael will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Tonga and help Michael develop leadership, technical and cross-cultural skills that will give him a competitive edge when he returns home. Peace Corps Volunteers return from service as global citizens well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.

Michael joins the 416 New York State residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 13,527 New York State residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

Click here to read more about the Peace Corps in Tonga.

Philadelphia Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Tonga

Leah Turner - Graduation
Philadelphia resident Leah Turner, who graduated from Boston University in May, will depart for Tonga on August 29 to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Leah Turner, 23, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Tonga on August 29 to begin training as an Education Volunteer. Leah will live and work in a community to teach English to elementary and middle school students in Tonga.

“I have always wanted to work for a grassroots organization, and I felt that the Peace Corps was the best way to get started,” said Leah of her desire to join the Peace Corps. “I also love the fact that I am helping not only to serve my community, but by doing this I am also serving the U.S.”

Leah is a graduate of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She then attended Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history in May 2016. Prior to joining the Peace Corps, she volunteered for the Ronald McDonald House and the Alpha Delta Pi Foundation.

During the first three months of her service, Leah will live with a host family in Tonga to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the necessary skills to assist her community, Leah will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Tonga, where she will live and work for two years with the local people.

“I lived in New Zealand for six months and fell in love with life there in the South Pacific,” Leah said. “I am so excited to get to know both those who I’ll be serving with and those I’ll be teaching and living with.”

Leah will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Tonga and help Leah develop leadership, technical and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge when she returns home. Peace Corps Volunteers return from service as global citizens well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.

Turner joins the 286 Pennsylvania residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 8,049 Pennsylvania residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

Click here to read more about the Peace Corps in Tonga.

Worcester Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Tonga

Jocelyn Hill - Selfie
Worcester resident Jocelyn Hill will depart for Tonga on August 29 to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Jocelyn Hill, 28, of Worcester, Vermont, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Tonga on August 29 to begin training as an Education Volunteer. Hill will live and work in a community to support and teach local students alongside teachers in the English language.

“I applied to the Pacific Islands because I have always been attracted to the Polynesian culture,” said Jocelyn of her desire to join the Peace Corps. “I am looking forward to immersing myself in the Tongan culture and learning as much as I can about the people and children to be at humble service.”

Jocelyn is the daughter of Michele and Roger Hill and a graduate of U32 in East Montpelier, Vermont. After graduating from U32 in 2005, she moved to California and volunteered with AmeriCorps City Year to improve under-resourced communities and primary schools in East San Jose, California. She attended San Jose State University in San Jose, California, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in child and adolescent development in 2010. Jocelyn later earned a master’s degree in education with a teaching credential in early childhood special education in June 2012 from Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. Prior to joining the Peace Corps, she taught three to five-year olds with autism in Santa Clara’s public school district for five years as well as supervised behavior therapy in the home and community in the San Jose area. She also served as a volunteer for the Special Olympics, respite care and in hospice care.

During the first three months of her service, Jocelyn will live with a host family in Tonga to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the necessary skills to assist her community, Jocelyn will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Tonga, where she will live and work for two years with the local people.

Jocelyn will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Tonga and help Jocelyn develop leadership, technical and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge when she returns home. Peace Corps Volunteers return from service as global citizens well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.

Jocelyn joins the 52 Vermont residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 1,530 Vermont residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

Vermont is the top Peace Corps Volunteer-producing state in the nation on a per capita basis. Fifty-two residents of the Green Mountain State are currently serving in the Peace Corps. In 2015, the Burlington-South Burlington metro area also ranked No. 3 nationally for per-capita production of Peace Corps volunteers, with 18 area residents serving overseas.

Click here to read more about the Peace Corps in Tonga.

Woodstock Resident Begins Peace Corps Service in Mozambique

Nancy Holt
Woodstock resident Nancy E. Holt will depart for Mozambique on August 30 to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Nancy E. Holt, 21, of Woodstock, Maryland, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Mozambique on August 30 to begin training as an Education Volunteer. Nancy will live and work in a community to teach biology and chemistry to secondary school students in her community. As she prepares for Peace Corps service, she looks forward to participating in the Let Girls Learn initiative and empowering young women in her community.

“When I graduated from college, I was looking for the next great adventure of my life,” said Nancy of her desire to join the Peace Corps. “One thing I am certain of, is that before I make my mark on the world, I want to give something back first.”

Nancy is the daughter of Harry William Holt, Jr. and Dr. Nancy Vanessa Brown-Holt, the sister to Harry William Holt III, and a graduate of McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Maryland. She then attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in May 2016. Prior to joining the Peace Corps, she worked at Brown University as a women’s peer counselor, public relations chairperson for The League of United Black Women, and a dining services cashier. She also served as a camp counselor at the McDonogh School’s Senior Camp and Camp Red Eagle, a teaching assistant for the Vacation Bible School and Day Camp at St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Parish and at Cradle Roll Sunday Bible School at Union Bethel A.M.E. Church.

During the first three months of her service, Nancy will live with a host family in Mozambique to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the necessary skills to assist her community, Holt will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Mozambique, where she will live and work for two years with the local people.

“I believe that Peace Corps service will have a profound impact on my personal and professional aspirations,” she said. “By the end of my service I am hoping to be fluent in Portuguese, have a comprehensive knowledge of teaching strategies and methods, create international connections and life-long friendships.”

Nancy will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Mozambique and help Nancy develop leadership, technical and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge when she returns home. Peace Corps Volunteers return from service as global citizens well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.

Holt joins the 207 Maryland residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 5,954 residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

Click here to read more about the Peace Corps in Mozambique.