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Future writer to join Peace Corps in Africa

Jasmine Sawers expects to teach English overseas with the Peace Corps after graduation in May.

The creative writing major from Buffalo plans to teach in sub-Saharan Africa, though her placement could change, she said.

Sawers, 22, wants to go in part for the opportunity to see the world from a perspective other than an American one. She also hopes to use it in her future writing, she said.

“I’ll have a new paradigm through which to think,” Sawers said. “I think more diverse life experiences and learning languages — these things are all going to make you a better writer.”

Binghamton University recently made the Peace Corps’ list of the top 25 major volunteer-producing colleges and universities. Volunteers agree to a 27-month commitment, with the first three months in training.

Elizabeth Tucker, an associate professor of English and former Peace Corps volunteer, taught Sawers in her Folklore of the Supernatural class.

“I was immediately impressed by her writing style,” Tucker said. “She has a strong, original voice and a talent for both serious and humorous self-expression. The Peace Corps will be very fortunate to have her among its new volunteers.”

In 2006, Sawers won first place in the University’s Andrew Bergman Creative Writing Scholarship competition. She has also been published in Buffalo’s arts and culture weekly magazine, Art Voice.

Sawers’ decision to enter the Peace Corps was also influenced by seeing the affect the agency had on her father some 35 years ago when he served as a volunteer in Thailand.

“His life is positive because of the Peace Corps,” Sawers said.

“I want to see the world — I want to get out of my comfort zone,” Sawers said. “There’s a point at which you grow up and get out, and this is me growing up and getting out.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08