Peace Corps Mission Advances Senior’s Devotion to Making a Difference

Cierra Earl '18

At a very young age, Cierra Earl ’18 developed a love for service work through her deep connection with her church, Pilgrim United Church of Christ, in her hometown of Durham, North Carolina. That passion continued to grow during her college career at Hollins, and now the double-major in Spanish and communication studies is heading to South Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Earl will spend two years living and working in rural areas near Johannesburg, where she will be helping children learn English and improve their reading literacy.

“The internships I completed at Hollins, both of which involved working with children at Rosemount Center and at Community School, gave me the tools to prepare for this opportunity,” Earl explains. Rosemount Center is an early childhood education center based in Washington, D.C., that serves nearly 250 children and families each year. Located in Roanoke, Community School has been honored by the American Psychological Association for its innovative educational practices that help children learn through exploration and experimentation.

She adds, “I want to extend special thanks to [Associate Professor of Communication Studies] Christopher Richter and [Assistant Director of the Hollins Fund] Kerry Kinnison for helping me with the Peace Corps application process.”

Earl says she also cherishes her service as vice president for the class of 2018 and as house president for the Carvin Global Village at Hollins, which is home to more than 20 international and American students.

“Being a part of the class cabinet gave me the experience of working with a team and learning how to communicate with others on different important projects,” she states. “Serving as house president allowed me to take on a leadership role firsthand and lead in an environment filled with diverse cultural practices and customs. It taught me how to appreciate things outside of my own cultural norms.”

Ultimately, Earl plans to use her majors as a springboard to pursue a graduate degree in either marketing or international business.