Omaha resident gets ready to embark on Peace Corps journey in Namibia


OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — After months of waiting, recent Creighton graduate Jennifer Ecklund got the word.

“I think it was like two days before graduation that I got an invitation to serve as an economic empowerment volunteer in Namibia,” Ecklund said.

Volunteering in the Peace Corps wasn’t something she ever really thought about.

“It wasn’t until probably my junior year, I had taken a class called global poverty and development taught by Dr. Erika Moreno. That kind of totally changed my perspective on what I wanted to do with my life,” Ecklund said.

Between this class and her experience volunteering with Creighton in the Dominican Republic, she realized the Peace Corps aligned with how she could reach her goals of working in the international economic development field.

“I am just excited to learn and have real-life experience that is not from a textbook,” Ecklund said.

On Aug. 28, she will pack up her bags for a 27-month trip, one of the first Peace Corps members to go overseas since the pandemic sent everyone home.

“We are navigating things that, you know, nobody has ever navigated before and I think that is really cool because we get to set the precedent as to what these new volunteers are going to look like,” Ecklund said.

And the work she will do while she is there?

“That could be anywhere from doing accounting, to doing, working with like an all-female entrepreneurship group to working help plan market days and things like that. It’s all a wide range of things that it could be. But all working towards the same goal of economic empowerment and economic development,” Ecklund said.

Ecklund joins the list of thousands of Nebraskans who have volunteered in the Peace Corps since 1961.

“From Nebraska, we have had 1,486 and from Iowa 2,515. So we are really excited to have such great representation from the heartland of America really going overseas and having that Peace Corps experience,” Jessica Vandivort de Montiel, senior recruiter for the Peace Corps , said.

And although the process is long and competitive, Ecklund recommends having a sense of adventure.

“Be open, you know it’s, you don’t know quite what you are getting into, I still don’t know quite what I am getting into,” Ecklund said.

And before she heads out, she is soaking up all her favorite spots in Omaha and spending time with friends and family.

Becoming a Peace Corps volunteer is competitive. If you’d like to apply or find out more information visit peacecorps.gov

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