Pierson selected for Peace Corps in Paraguay

The Peace Corps will reunite two Cornellians in Paraguay next fall. 

Carly Pierson ’17 has been chosen by the government agency to serve as an agriculture extension volunteer in the South American country. Maria Goodfellow ’16 is currently serving as a Peace Corps volunteer there and will mentor Pierson.

Carly Pierson '17
Carly Pierson ’17

Pierson will train for three months in Paraguay and then dedicate two years to service.

“My focus will be on soil and water management, but my job is to listen to the people and figure out what they really want and need,” said Pierson, an environmental studies major from Durango, Colorado.

Pierson’s experiences at Cornell, and prior, have positioned her for this assignment.  

In March she co-led an Alternative Spring Break trip to Waco, Texas, where her group (which included President Jonathan Brand) volunteered at World Hunger Relief. They helped create school gardens, worked with animals on the organization’s farm, and learned about world poverty and hunger.

During her junior year she studied anthropology in the Bahamas and earned Spanish credit in Guatemala through the college’s partnership with Juan Sisay School.  

The summer before her senior year she worked as a camp leader at Durango Nature Studies and volunteered at a farm. Prior to college and during college breaks she traveled to Kenya, China, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Canada.

“My anthropology classes, along with traveling, made me interested in really knowing and understanding other cultures,” Pierson said. “I’ve learned how amazing all of our differences are and really we all want the same things for ourselves and our families.”

Pierson arrived at Cornell interested in English and Spanish, and eventually realized she was most curious about the natural world. Her environmental studies capstone project is about the activism and perspective of environmentally-minded Iowans, especially sustainable farmers and people working for environmental programs.

Throughout her four years in Mount Vernon she has volunteered as a Lunch Buddy with local elementary students, run cross country and track, worked in the college’s Mail & Service Center, and attended the local First Presbyterian Church.  

She cites Writing Studio Director and Director of Fellowships and Scholarships Laura Farmer as “instrumental and insightful” in preparing her Peace Corps application. “She really makes you confident in who you are and helps you to believe in yourself,” Pierson said.

After the Peace Corps Pierson plans to work for an environmental organization and then pursue graduate school.

“I want to go into the Peace Corps so I can live out what I believe: Being close to the land, living simply, gaining diverse perspectives from diverse people, making a community for myself with what will hopefully be small, kind actions,” she said. “Peace Corps is a way for me to do that. And to learn more about myself and who I am in the face of challenges like the ones I will be encountering.”