By Amelia Vogler, ‘11

In addition to studying and volunteering abroad, Megan Abbott, ’11, has parlayed her interest in international studies into a triple major in leadership studies, international studies and Latin American and Iberian studies.
 
Abbott became interested in international studies her first year at Richmond, and even as a first-year student, she focused on gaining experience to prepare her for life after graduation.
 
“I chose to intern with the Peace Corps this summer, as opposed to the other offers I received, because I knew it would help me decide whether I wanted to become a Peace Corps volunteer when I graduated,” Abbott said.

Abbott interned at the Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. through the University’s D.C. Initiative program (DCI), which connects eligible students with summer internship opportunities offered by alumni and friends of the University.
 
The Peace Corps is a federal agency that offers a 27-month-long volunteer program with more than 70 countries throughout the world in many different areas, such as education, community and youth development, health and agriculture.
 
Abbott’s duties as an intern focused on helping returning volunteers adjust to life back at home.
 
“I worked specifically in the Office of Public Engagement with Returned Volunteer Services, which provides a wealth of programs to returning volunteers, especially with career services and development,” Abbott said.
 
One of Abbott’s larger projects included planning the first regional career events in Los Angeles and Chicago. She served as the task master and assistant in editing two major publications that all volunteers receive at their Close of Service ceremony.
 
Working in such a fast-paced environment with a large group of people could be daunting to some college interns, but Abbott credits her adjustment to working in a group setting with her experiences in her leadership classes.
 
“The most beneficial aspect that I have acquired through my on-campus activities and classes is the ability to communicate, both written and oral,” she said. “My Jepson classes helped me adapt easily to group work and life in the office.”
 
Abbott’s busy schedule over the summer has not subsided with the beginning of her senior year. She is currently serving as a federal service student ambassador on campus, which allows her to serve as a resource to students on campus and work to promote student interest in internships and jobs in the public sector.
 
While she continues her involvement on campus, Abbott has been able to nail down her post-graduation plans.

“Within the first two weeks of my internship, I was sold on becoming a Peace Corps volunteer, and I just learned that I’ve been nominated to serve in Central or South America, working in education," Abbott said. "I will leave next August.”