Newton’s Peace Corps assignment follows a year spent working with AmeriCorps on a literacy program in Austin, Texas—an experience that had a profound impact on him. “After working for AmeriCorps I have learned that working in education, in some capacity, is important to me,” he says. “I expect my Peace Corps experience to be challenging but ultimately rewarding.”
While developing a new curriculum, Newton will assess students’ reading proficiency and create youth development programs throughout his designated school and their community. Newton, who will work primarily with students ranging from first through third grade, will train in St. Lucia before receiving details of his placement.
A history major with a minor in Africana Studies, Newton credits the Colleges’ focus on the city of Geneva with inspiring his interest in civic engagement. “HWS made a point to invest in and care about Geneva. That was made very clear by President Mark D. Gearan,” says Newton, who volunteered with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Boys and Girls Club of Geneva, and was a civic leader with the Center of Community Engagement and Service Learning. “Even in my short time at HWS, Geneva seemed to grow so positively. I wanted to continue to see improvement in other communities after college.”
Following his two-year commitment to the Peace Corps, Newton is keeping an open mind about future plans. “I expect that I will still be passionate about education and may want to go back to school but I am open to whatever opportunity presents itself,” he says.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges rank fourth among small schools on the Peace Corps’ 2017 list of Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities. Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, 220 alums from HWS have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers, including 13 alums currently volunteering.