Editor's Note: The following information was provided to Patch via a news release from the Peace Corps.
Stephanie Stern, 23, of Waukesha, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Rwanda on Tuesday to begin training as an education volunteer. Stern will make a difference teaching English as a second language to middle- and high-school students in her local community.
“I thought about doing many different things after graduating college — having a career was not one of them,” Stern said. “I traveled to South Africa to volunteer for a month in the summer of 2011 and after that, I knew I wanted to go back to Africa.”
Stern is the daughter of Shelly Stern and a graduate of Waukesha South High School. She then attended University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 2013.
“My program in college helped me to discover my passion for leading others to success,” Stern said.
During the first three months of her service in Rwanda, Stern will complete technical, language, health, and safety training while living with a host family to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. The training and cultural exchange prepare Stern for her two years of service, while also allowing community members to gain a better understanding of Americans. After Stern is sworn into service and assigned to a community, she will work on sustainable, community-driven development projects that make a difference for the people of Rwanda and provide Stern with leadership and cross-cultural skills she can use throughout her career.
“I believe that having an education gives you power. It makes you a stronger person, and once you have it, no one can take it away from you,” Stern said. “I want to bring that to as many people as I can, particularly in the parts of the world where that's not always an option.”
Stern joins the 212 Wisconsin residents currently serving in the Peace Corps. More than 5,740 Wisconsin residents have served as volunteers since the agency was created in 1961.