2003 Seattle Annual Meeting (November 25, 2003)
Paper No. 10-16
Presentation Time: 11:45 AM-12:00 PM

GEOSCIENTISTS IN OVERSEAS VOLUNTARY SERVICE: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE EXPERIENCE

HASTINGS, David A., 27/5 Kra Om Road #124, Pomprab, Bangkok, 10100, Thailand, hastingsd@un.org, LEVICH, Robert, 405 Norwood Lane, Las Vegas, NV 89107, ROBBINS, Eleanora I., 11017 Via Merica, La Mesa, CA 91941, FAKUNDINY, Robert H., 3288 River Road 9-J, Rensselaer, NY 12144, and KENDALL, Ernest, 1606 Rustic Lane, Seabrook, TX 77586

Responses to a survey of over 70 former Peace Corps (USPC) and Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO) volunteer geoscientists offer insights on personal and professional developmental effects of their service, as well as on effects of such service for the profession, both domestically and internationally. The survey results can also be used to assess the value of such voluntary service to professionals in any field, not just the geosciences.

More than 50 survey questions were divided into three categories: general background, social and professional situations, and discussion questions. Part 1 requested specific information relating to volunteers, training, job assignments, duty stations, accommodations, and accomplishments. Part 2 referred to specifics of job assignments and job definition; professional status and associations; social relations; host country management, staff, and funding; and project-related presentations. It also examined life after service including education and jobs, relation of service to later career and other overseas experience. The discussion questions of Part 3 sought a thoughtful distillation on selection, training, duty station, relation of volunteer experience to later education and professional activities and professional maturity, and to the potential relationship of professional organizations to USPC/CUSO programs. Finally, the survey examined the benefits from service for USPC/CUSO, the geoscience profession and the Nations involved.

Most volunteers served for two years early in their professional careers; although some extended service for longer periods in the original or another host country. Some volunteers were given responsibilities rarely entrusted to young professionals in their home countries; many eventually moved into leadership positions in Federal and State/Provincial governments. Information from the survey will prove useful to potential volunteers considering overseas service, USPC and CUSO, and future host countries. A major finding was that these two programs that hired professional geoscientists provided great benefits to the host and provider countries, to the scientists, and to their profession. The multiple benefits appear well worth the relatively modest cost of placing such professionals in voluntary service.

2003 Seattle Annual Meeting (November 25, 2003)
Session No. 10
Geologists in the U.S. Peace Corps: The Contribution of Peace Corps Geologists to International Development and the Contribution of the Peace Corps Experience to the Development of the Geosciences in America
Washington State Convention and Trade Center: 400
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Sunday, November 2, 2003

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 35, No. 6, September 2003, p. 40

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