The students of Presbyterian College are tasked with upholding PC’s grand motto, dum vivimus servimus. Lacy Feigh, a 2012 graduate of Presbyterian College, is an alumnus who continues to serve while she lives. A current Peace Corps Volunteer in Yirgalem, Ethiopia, Feigh has received a Fulbright Scholarship in Aman, Jordan where she will continue to perpetuate the PC standard of service as well as represent her alma mater and herself in academic excellence.
“One of the many important impacts PC had on my post-graduation life was to instill in me a love of travel and other cultures,” said Feigh.
At PC, Feigh majored in History and Political Science and minored in English and Chinese Studies, graduating as the Outstanding Senior in both of her major areas. After her freshman year, she participated in a China maymester through the Chinese Studies program.
“This taste of international travel combined with a Middle Eastern History course really propelled me to study abroad at the American University in Cairo during the fall of my junior year, a formative experience which really challenged some of my preconceived notions,” she said.
During a PC-sponsored trip to Gizhou, China, Feigh met a Peace Corp Volunteer teaching at the university. According to Feigh, this is when Peace Corps first “entered her radar.”
“His stories really stuck with me, and after studying abroad in Egypt I knew I was ready for a longer, more meaningful experience. Dr. Campbell and other professors really pushed me to consider Peace Corps, combining my service experience with PC with my love for other cultures. I applied for Peace Corps the summer before my senior year, received an invitation to serve in Ethiopia, and left with fellow Blue Hose, Amanada Sutker, three weeks after our graduation to begin our pre-service training,” said Feigh.
Besides a passion for international travel and culture, Feigh credits her experience at PC with giving her service experience valuable to her future as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
“As a junior and senior I was a fellow with SVS [Student Volunteer Services]—working mostly with PCV, Project Life, Big Brother/Big Sister, and some other projects—a position I feel helped propel me into this current to years of service with my other PC, the Peace Corps,” she said.
Feigh is now preparing to finish her service as an English Education Volunteer in Ethiopia in June.
“My Peace Corps experience has challenged my beliefs and conceptions of the developing world. The ideals and theories I learned about in my classes at PC have been tested, challenged, strengthened, and weakened. Working at the grassroots level, I am really able to see the joy and challenges that countries face when it comes to development. While I’ve still retained my optimism and hope, the realities on the ground have forced me to become more pragmatic, especially in regards to development work.
“I’m very excited to share my other PC experience with a group of fellow Blue Hose from the Political Science department this coming May. A group of eager Political Science students will be coming to Ethiopia to see the capital city of Africa, Addis Ababa, and my town of Yirgalem where they will participate in a Grassroot Soccer intervention. I am very excited to share my current home for the past two years,” she said.
As her Peace Corps years come to a close, Feigh prepares to begin her Fulbright fellowship in September.
“Fulbright was a fellowship I had contemplated applying for while I was in my final year at PC, but I decided to pursue Peace Corps instead. As I entered my last year of service with Peace Corps, I made contact with Dr. Wiecki of the history department and floated the idea. He and other professors encouraged and supported my decision through the entire process helping me with personal statements and accommodating my odd interview schedule via Skype. After applying for the English Teaching Assistantship to Jordan in October and nearly six months of endless waiting, I was notified that I was accepted to receive the award,” Feigh said.
The Fulbright Scholars Program is a highly competitive academic grant given to scholars with a purpose of international scholarship and community. Highly competitive, the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program only awarded 10 assistantships in Jordan out of 67 applicants.
“Being awarded this Fulbright is a great honor which means I will continue to develop English language skills as well as participating in secondary research and projects,” Feigh said. “From September until the following June I will be working in Amman, Jordan to support English teachers and students, as well as improving my Arabic skills. I’m hoping that my time in Jordan with Fulbright will propel me into a graduate program where I can continue my undergraduate work in Political Science and History in the realm of Middle Eastern and African Studies.”
For information about Peace Corps (and Presbyterian students serving), visit http://eekingoutinethiopia.wordpress.com/, where Amanda Sutker, also a 2012 PC graduate and a Peace Corps Volunteer, keeps a blog about her experiences as a PCV in Ethiopia.