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WVU Grads in the Peace Corps

Elizabeth Andrick teaches a class at her peace corps assignment in Cambodia.

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Sixty years ago, the Peace Corps started nearly a quarter million Americans to work in the cause of peace and service, including West Virginia University graduates. Here are just a few of their stories.

Elizabeth Andrick, MS ’19, Health Sciences, Community health educator, Cambodia, 2015-17


“A friend of mine in my village got married while I was there, and she asked me to be in her wedding. I spent every afternoon at her house for the whole two years I lived there, so it was an honor to be able to be a part of her special day with her. I still message and video call with the family regularly.” 


Elizabeth Andrick attends her friend's wedding in Cambodia wearing local garb.


Brian D. Wyllie BS ’69, Economics, Establishing fishing cooperatives, Brazil, 1969-71


“My book, ‘The Long Trip Home’ covers a lot about life in Brazil in those years. It was similar to being sent back to the 1800s in the little towns where we lived. There were only two cars in the town, one telephone and long-distance communication was by telegraph! The stores all had hitching posts out front, and shoppers tied their horses up when they came to the store. No one spoke English, and it was a real ‘sink or swim’ experience. I returned to the town in 2015 with my son and could only recognize the physical location. The small town of 2,000-3,000 was now a city of 60,000 with the entire coast full of condos and multistory buildings. It was a bit overwhelming!”


Brian Wyllie built boats in Brazil in the Peace Corps.



Riley Imlay, BA ’18, English Literature, English teacher, Costa Rica, 2018-20 (evacuated in March 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic)


“I discovered my passion for education and cultural exchange through WVU, where I would study abroad in Botswana, join a Global Medical Brigade to Nicaragua, and meet Sara De Blas, a Spanish teaching assistant instrumental in developing my interest in Spanish language and Hispanic culture.


Melina, an active participant in my community English classes, told me as I left San Pedro, a sleepy mountain town nestled in the coffee region of Costa Rica: ‘You have helped me create a better future and present for myself. Maybe one day I can do the same for someone else.’ I met incredibly driven, genuinely kind students who gave me faith in the future of our world.”


Riley Imlay sits with his friend Melina who he taught English to in Costa Rica.


Share your Peace Corps story and photos in the comments below or by emailing  wvumag@mail.wvu.edu .