Kentucky Women Remember the Peace Corps

February 22, 2011 in 1960s-1970s, Oral history, Primary source

Angene and Jack Wilson interviewed Peace Corps volunteers who had returned to Kentucky and the recordings are archived at the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

  • Susan Dorothy Samuel, May 13, 2004, Lexington KY
    (Liberia, 1964-1967; Education Program) discusses her life and educational background both before and after joining the Peace Corps. She tells about her experience in Buchanan, Liberia where she taught fifth grade and then math and science in a middle school. Susan talks about meeting her future husband, Tom toward the end of her second year and describes their wedding in Liberia. Susan mentions working in more than ten Peace Corps training programs for countries ranging from Kenya to Nepal from 1976 to 1981.
  • Sheila Smith McFarland, October 27, 2004, Lawrenceburg KY
    (Micronesia, 1972-1974; Philippines, 1974-76; Education Program), who had two successive Peace Corps experiences, talks about teaching English in her first tour, and serving as a non-matrix spouse in the Philippines on her second, during which her first son was born. She also discusses her life and educational background both before and after joining the Peace Corps, including raising a family in countries ranging from Guatemala to Kenya and Malawi, and her retirement to Anderson County.
  • Angene Hopkins Wilson, October 27, 2004, Lexington KY
    (Liberia, 1962-1964; Education Program) discusses her life and educational background both before and after joining the Peace Corps. She mentions appliying to the Peace Corps in March 1961, and tells about her experience teaching social studies and learning and teaching African history outside Monrovia, Liberia.
  • Rona Susan Roberts, November 4, 2004, Lexington KY
    (Philippines, 1973-1975; Community Development Program) describes her background and reasons for joining the Peace Corps, her job with the Bikol River Basin Development Project, including what she learned about community development from her Filipino mentors and her experience writing a grant proposal for a barefoot doctor program. She also talks about how the Peace Corps impacted her career and life, by motivating her to get a doctorate in organizational communication at the University of Kentucky and, as half of Roberts & Kay, organize many community efforts elsewhere and in Lexington.
  • Marlene Ellis Payne, February 8, 2005, Berea KY
    (Malaysia, 1967-1969; Education Program) tells about her experience as an educational psychology teacher at a teacher training college in Kuala Lumpur. She also describes her friendships in Kuala Lumpur, the riots there in 1969, and the impact of her experience on her children, and reflects on her time teaching at Berea College. Time is also spent on other aspects of her life and educational background both before and after joining the Peace Corps.
  • Nancy Sweet Dare, February 18, 2005, Lexington KY
    (Malaysia, 1965-1967; Education Program) describes the impact of John Kennedy’s call on her life and how it lead her to leave her career as a librarian and teach primary school in Sarawak. In addition, Nancy describes their return trip to Malaysia in 1995 and compares Sarawak, the people and place, 30 years later to Sarawak in 1965. She also reflects on married couples in the Peace Corps and the impact of Peace Corps on her family.
  • Gwyn Hyman Rubio, November 29, 2005, Versailles KY
    (Costa Rica, 1971-1973; Education Program) talks about her time in the Peace Corps and starting kindergartens in two villages and then discusses her work at an orphanage. Gwyn describes life in a village, especially in terms of cultural differences in male-female interactions, and experiences with adoption issues at the orphanage. She also discusses her life and educational background both before and after joining the Peace Corps, including working as a Peace Corps recruiter at University of Kentucky, and following in her father’s footsteps to become a full-time writer.
  • Judith Ann Lynn Lippman, December 12, 2005, Louisville KY
    (Morocco, 1966-1968; Health Program) discusses her life and educational background both before and after joining the Peace Corps, and tells how her experiences with various jobs illustrate Peace Corps’ occasionally bad program planning. Judy describes those jobs, her living conditions, the food, travel adventures, and the impact of Peace Corps on her life and her family.
  • Sally Ann Spurr, January 27, 2006,, Louisville KY
    (Equador, 1975-1973; Community Development Program and Agriculture Program) talks about her unique experience involving being turned down for Peace Corps after college and then traveling in Europe and South America for a year and becoming a field enrollee. She describes her job and life there in detail as well as her life since Peace Corps, including her service in Ecuador in community development and then a horticulture research program, and teaching English as a Second Language at Jefferson County Technical and Community College.
  • Joyce Shevchenko Miller, March 23, 2006, Lexington KY
    (Chile, 1964-1966; Community Development Program) discusses her life and educational background both before and after joining the Peace Corps. She describes her job with a production cooperative in northern Chile, reflects on Peace Corps’ 1960s policies on sexual morality, and references the Allende election.
  • Ann Marie Neelon, May 4, 2006, Murray KY
    (Senegal, 1977-1978; Education Program) talks about coming of age in Boston during the busing crisis and going to Catholic schools and college before joining the Peace Corps. She discusses knowing she needed a different experience in terms of race and became a teacher of English as a foreign language in Senegal. In her interview she describes teaching in Senegal and the impact of Peace Corps on her life, including later marrying a returned Peace Corps volunteer, Richard Parker, and introducing their two sons to the rest of the world. A poetry professor at Murray State University, Ann reads one of her poems at the end of the interview.
  • Patsy Dills Tracy, May 4, 2006, Murray KY
    (Turkey, 1965-1967; Education Program) discusses being an English as a Second Language teacher at an urban high school, a university, and a village high school and elementary school during her two years as a Peace Corps volunteer. She also mentions her experience with merchants in the village and helping them develop menus in English for tourists. In addition, the interview includes discussion of her experience as part of a married couple and as a woman in Turkish culture. She also discusses her life and educational background both before and after joining the Peace Corps.

1 response to Kentucky Women Remember the Peace Corps

  1. I enjoyed the Peace Corps narratives; Sargent Shriver is a personal hero. There is a couple in Lexington–Angene and Jack Wilson–who have interviews Kentuckians who volunteered for the Peace Corps. They recorded their stories in a book called “Voices From the Peace Corps: Fifty Years of Kentucky Volunteers”. The Peace Corps has given so many the opportunity to better lives around the world, as well as those of the volunteers. The world is so small now, much smaller than when the Corps was founded, but it has always served to make those who participate true citizens of the world.

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