For the Cumberland Times-News
CUMBERLAND — Washington & Jefferson College senior Alexander Nallin spent last summer in Israel studying the effects of violence on the tourism industry there.
Nearly a year later, Nallin is just months away from leaving on a 24-month Peace Corps assignment to Peru, where he will help the people in developing communities.
The Cumberland history and economics double major imagined a career in politics prior to traveling to Israel on a Magellan Project.
“I like politics and I am good at it,” said Nallin. “But that is not really where my passion lies. My passion lies in the Third World, in development and raising the standard of living in these communities.”
He wasn’t even thinking about the Peace Corps before his Magellan experience. The Magellan Project provides support for students at the Washington, Pa., college who wish to pursue interesting summer assignments. These awards are designed to assist students in crafting and telling compelling stories of curiosity and achievement that will be useful throughout their college years and their subsequent transition to graduate school or careers.
Nallin is scheduled to leave for Peru on June 5. Training begins the following day. His assignment runs Aug. 17, 2013, through Aug. 17, 2015. He will focus on economic sustainability and helping to create business plans as a small business adviser.
“I realize I have a skill set that fits in with the Peace Corps,” he said, noting that he has developed the business and communication skills as well as the passion for community service.
Nallin experienced Israel, the restlessness, the demonstrations and then spoke with Robert East, associate professor of environmental studies who spent time in Kenya on a Peace Corps mission. Nallin began the application process in July and was accepted in late February. He was looking at the Middle East, North Africa and South America as target locations.
“The biggest thing W&J has given me is personal initiative. If I want something done, I will find a way to do it,” Nallin said. “Secondly, the whole idea of a liberal arts education and thinking about things from different perspectives. I am also a very adaptable person.”
W&J president Tori Haring-Smith said, “These Magellan students are learning to author their own lives, to take charge of their own futures and to find the strength and confidence they need to make a difference in the world.”