By Tricia Howley
As an undergrad in Colorado State University’s bachelor of social work program, Alice Ardito developed a broad knowledge base of social work practice, including a commitment to human rights and individual, community, and global well-being.
Today, after graduating from the program in 2016, Ardito is making a difference in the Dominican Republic serving as a Peace Corps volunteer.
“I am currently serving in a small community in the Dominican Republic near the Haitian border focusing on youth, family, and community development,” Ardito said. “I have been in the country 5 months and it has already been an incredible experience learning about Dominican and some Haitian culture.”
She recently completed three months of service training in youth development, in which volunteers formed partnerships with members of the community. Following training, Peace Corps volunteers typically spend 24 months serving in their communities.
“I will be starting sexual health classes along with a volleyball team with a gym teacher in the upcoming months and hope to assist with classes regarding self-esteem and leadership skills for youth. It is also a very religious community, so I have participated in religious camps for children as well,” Ardito said.
Her studies at CSU to complete her bachelor’s degree in social work emphasized the use of interdisciplinary evidence-based knowledge and skills for ethical, culturally competent, and socially and economically just interventions.
“I can definitely relate to gender roles here; the Dominican Republic has a very strong patriarchy system that has been interesting to experience,” Ardito said. “Also, racism towards Haitians/dark skinned people is very prevalent here because of the influence of Spanish Colonization.”
Colorado State University is ranked sixth nationally on the Peace Corps’ 2017 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list, and is the only university in Colorado among the top 10 in the Large Colleges and Universities category.
Any CSU student interested in serving in the Peace Corps is encouraged to contact CSU Peace Corps Representative Octavius Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-491-7706. Students can also explore current volunteer openings on the Peace Corps website.
The School of Social Work is part of Colorado State University’s College of Health and Human Sciences.