W&J senior selected for Peace Corps teaching position

Created: March 28, 2019
Last Updated: April 2, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (March 28, 2019)—Studying language is important to Lucero Lopez. The Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) senior learned from her professors as she pursued majors in Spanish and international studies and now she’ll pay it forward, joining the Peace Corps as an English teacher in Cambodia.

Lucero, a Houston, Texas native, will teach primary and secondary level English for her Peace Corps assignment. Growing up in a primarily Latinx community, Lucero’s first and primary language was Spanish. In second grade, she transitioned from a bilingual classroom to an English-speaking one. Because of her experience learning English as a second language when she was a young child, Lucero feels uniquely prepared to teach it to elementary and middle school students.

“Knowing how difficult it was for me at first, I can keep that in mind and be patient with my students,” Lucero said. “They might not get it the first time, and that’s okay!”

Lucero will learn the Cambodian language Khmer prior to beginning her appointment, with her training starting in July. Once in Cambodia, she will live with a host family, which will help her learn more about the language and the culture.

She’s no stranger to spending time outside of the United States. A study abroad term in Costa Rica and an Intersession trip to Spain while studying at W&J gave Lucero valuable learning opportunities that prepared her for this career move. She also has family in Mexico, which she has visited frequently, giving her exposure to another culture.

Though it will be an adjustment for Lucero to be away from home for 27 months, she is ready to take on this next step.

“I’m excited, and also a little bit nervous,” she said. “It’s a different experience, but I know I’ll have the resources I need, and I’m eager to help people.”

Lucero is one of three W&J students joining the Peace Corps following graduation. Richard Habgood ’19 will serve as a community development facilitator in Moldova, while Abby Peace ’19 will serve as a community health facilitator in The Gambia.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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