From here to Moldova? That may be the perfect motto for senior Sean Grossnickle and 2017 alumna Maxine Bouldin, both of whom will be heading to the Eastern European nation in fall 2019 with the Peace Corps.
Grossnickle, an international business major set to graduate in May, was first inspired to learn more about the Peace Corps by his friend Maxine’s interest. “Since God has not yet given me an overwhelming passion for a certain type of work, I thought about what job might utilize the skills and experiences I have gained at Belmont to their fullest.”
Grossnickle is a Kansas native who came to Tennessee to attend Belmont, but his travels since being on campus have been much more extensive. In fact, he has studied abroad in Canada and France, received a Lumos Travel Award to do microfinance work in Senegal and will lead a mission trip in March to the Dominican Republic. “The Peace Corps seemed like an extension of these experiences, which taught me that I could do the work and do it well. To top it off, I have a strong desire to learn a third language, and the Peace Corps provides me with this opportunity. I am trusting God will use me to work in the lives of the people I am going to serve.”
Bouldin, on the other hand, is a Tennessee native who grew up in McMinnville. A religion and the arts major with a music business minor, she is drawn to the opportunity to experience new cultures. “When will I get a better time to move to an entirely new place and serve people for two years? Also, I hope to work full-time for a nonprofit or social enterprise in the future, and the Peace Corps offers experiences that will help me in those fields and make me a competitive candidate for hire.”
Both described a selective application process for the Peace Corps, one that involved a written application, interview and extensive medical clearance. Bouldin and Grossnickle will each be serving as organizational development facilitators, but they don’t know yet their exact town or project assignments. Generally speaking, their positions will involve working with community institutions and nonprofit organizations to help develop their leadership and organizational capacity to better serve their communities.
Departing this summer, their positions require three months of training that will involve language, job skill and safety education along with the other Moldova volunteers. Then Bouldin and Grossnickle will move to their assigned locations for a two-year service commitment. The positions can then be extended each year after the initial two for a maximum commitment of five years.
“Belmont has given me all of the tools I need to be successful where I am going,” Grossnickle said. “I learned the power of serving others and using my gifts and talents to do so. My studies have opened my eyes to the vastness of what there is to know and allowed me to look with a more compassionate eye upon others, particularly those different than I am.”
Bouldin agrees, noting her experiences as a Spiritual Life Assistant and a lead of Chadasha Gospel Choir as well as her Belmont-affiliated community service, internship and study abroad programs all prepared her to take this next step. “Being part of the College of Theology and Christian Ministry taught me, challenged me and encouraged me in ways that have been deeply formative of the person I am today. It was truly my time at Belmont that most prepared me to join the Peace Corps!”