of World Service First Brought Her to Western
By Stacee Sledge
Window, Fall 2008
Before the Peace Corps took Kelly Vosilus (’06) to
Azerbaijan, it brought her to Western.
Lansing, Kansas, was researching colleges in her
mother’s home state of
when she learned Western Washington University had a
Peace Corps recruiter right on campus.
the Peace Corps was that interested in Western, Vosilus
decided, she was too. Maybe the Peace Corps knew where
to find the kind of people Vosilus wanted to go to
school with: those who “cared about their communities
and the world," Vosilus says, "as well as those who gave
their time to others and volunteered.”
was where Vosilus wanted to be, too. Since age 12 she
had nurtured a dream of joining the Peace Corps and
serving alongside people of another country on the other
side of the world
first encounter with the Peace Corps was during an
information fair the beginning of her freshman year.
stumbled upon the Peace Corps recruiter,” Vosilus says,
“and every fall after I sought her out at the fair and
asked her what I needed to do at Western to become a
Peace Corps volunteer.”
Meanwhile, she spent time making a difference closer to home.
tried to volunteer as much as I could,” she says,
“including at the Lighthouse Mission, and serving meals
to the homeless downtown with the Newman Catholic Campus
Soon after graduating in August 2006 with a degree in English
literature, Vosilus was accepted into the Peace Corps
and assigned to
former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, located west of
the Caspian Sea and sharing borders with Russia,
Georgia, Armenia and Iran.
She arrived in late June 2007 for 11 weeks of language,
medical, and safety training. She also got a lesson in
how small the world can be for Western graduates when
she met fellow Peace Corp volunteers Nick Morton(’03)
and his wife, Dana Carr (’04).
had attended Western together but didn't know each
other,” Vosilus says.
Vosilus is now living in a village in the northeastern part
creating youth programs for 15- to 24-year-olds,
preparing them with life skills to help them continue
with schooling or work.
She stays busy running
camps, meetings and classes. She often helps villages
with their English and computer skills and has created
programs examining environmental and health issues.
One small experience can snowball into a much larger
impact. “I trained a village member to read a diabetic
monitor,” Vosilus says of donated equipment that
included English-only directions. “He was then able to
help his mother-in-law and then also trained other
villagers to help with the growing problem of diabetes
in our area.”
Living and working in
Azerbaijan, where she’ll stay until September 2009, has
been one of the best and biggest surprises of her life,
“I've been welcomed warmly by the people of this
wonderful country and do what I can to help them,” she
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