Roanoke College Graduate Begins Peace Corps Service in the Dominican Republic

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 2, 2014 – Connor Toomey, 23, a 2013 Roanoke College graduate from San Antonio, Texas, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for the Dominican Republic on Monday, May 5 to begin training as an education volunteer. Toomey will live and work in a community to promote the importance of literacy and teach English to secondary school students.

Toomey in Peru during college.

Toomey with students in Peru during a college trip.

“Since I was a child, I’ve always been drawn to the unfamiliar and uncomfortable, whether that was climbing the trees in my backyard or swimming past the safety buoys on family vacations to the beach,” Toomey said. “I see my future Peace Corps service as being a similar experience: something that will initially be unfamiliar and uncomfortable, but which will ultimately create tremendous personal and professional growth in my life.”

Toomey is the son of Lisa and Dan Toomey of San Antonio, Texas and a graduate of Ronald Reagan High School in San Antonio. He graduated in May 2013 with a B.A. in English and Spanish from Roanoke College, in Salem, Va. In the months leading up to his departure, he has been working as a management trainee for Enterprise Holdings at the Denver International Airport, in Denver, Colo.

“Roanoke College was really the catalyst for my interest in the world beyond the borders of our nation. With the help of my College’s financial and logistical support I traveled abroad three times, completing a three-month marketing and translation internship in the Andes of Peru, taking a month-long intensive learning travel course in Ireland, and teaching a month-long course on English grammar and American culture in a small town in Colombia. All of these experiences nurtured my interest in the intriguing cultural complexities that other societies offer, and fostered in me a voracious need to create positive change in developing nations,” Toomey said.

During the first three months of his service, Toomey will live with a host family in the Dominican Republic to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the language and cultural skills necessary to assist his community, Toomey will be sworn into service and be assigned to a community in the Dominican Republic, where he will live and work for two years with the local people.

“Most of all, I want to make a difference. It would break my heart to come back in two years and feel like I haven’t left a tangible, noticeable difference in the community that I served in,” Toomey said.

Tommey joins the 48 Roanoke College graduates who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

About Peace Corps/Dominican Republic: There are currently 185 volunteers in the Dominican Republic working in the areas of community economic development, health, education and environment. During their service in the Dominican Republic, volunteers learn to speak the local languages, including Spanish and basic Haitian Kreyol. More than 4,390 Peace Corps volunteers have served in the Dominican Republic since the program was established in 1962.

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