Eni Laska: Peace Corps Campus Ambassador

Name: Eni Laska
Age: 21
Year: junior
Major(s): marketing and Spanish

Her Campus: How did you become interested in the Peace Corps Ambassador Program?
Eni Laska: “I got an email from the International Center last spring suggesting I apply for the program because there was a new recruiter on campus, and it seemed really interesting. I have always loved to travel, and there are only about 12 ambassadors right now, so I thought it would be a unique opportunity. I have not decided yet if I want to join the Peace Corps right after college, but it is definitely something I want to do later in life, so this is a great start.”

HC: What are your responsibilities as a Campus Ambassador to the Peace Corps?
EL: “Last semester I participated in Heavener Career Week, and I represented the Peace Corps at the Career Showcase, where I actually got to speak to students about the Peace Corps and inform them about all the different regions they could travel to and all the opportunities they have to choose from. It was funny because the students thought I was an official recruiter for the Peace Corps who had gone through the experience already, which gave me an insider perspective on what it would be like to be an official recruiter for them. I also have the responsibility of posting on social media, giving class presentations and guest speaking at meetings for various organizations in order to raise awareness of the Peace Corps on campus. As an ambassador, I get to spread the word to people about the different programs related to the Peace Corps. Last fall we advertised Peace Corps Prep and the International Scholars Program, which was a huge success because we got so many students interested and enrolled in both programs.”

HC: What are you most excited to accomplish this semester with the Peace Corps?
EL: “I am working closely with the campus recruiter Bobbi Stienmetz, as well as with the other ambassadors to relaunch the Peace Corps Gators. This organization will be an amazing opportunity for other UF students to get involved in if they are interested in joining the Peace Corps later on. It will be strictly focused on community service, and we will co-sponsor with other organizations both on and off campus to provide students with service opportunities specific to their majors and interests. These activities will build their leadership experience and prepare them for their futures, whether or not they decide to join the Peace Corps.”

HC: How has your cultural heritage influenced your experience as an ambassador?
EL: “I knew since the beginning that I wanted to do something with an international component, but I was not sure what that would be, especially since I was struggling to find the right major. As an Albanian at UF, I realized that I was exposed to a whole different perspective of diversity because I saw the diversity in the population, but I also knew that I was part of that diversity. Through the Peace Corps Ambassadors, I am now able to connect with people who have similar interests and share my personal experiences with them. It is amazing to be able to tell my story to the new people I meet through this program and really feel that it has an impact on them.”

HC: What skills and talents have facilitated your role as an advocate for the Peace Corps?
EL: “I have always loved talking to people, and my background in marketing helps me with the recruitment portion. I love what the organization stands for, so I feel passionate about sharing my ideas and explaining to people why I got involved. People can sense that I am being sincere when I speak about the Peace Corps, which makes their decision to join much easier. My communication skills are essential because I have to constantly give presentations, and many times I am the main speaker. In the fall we hosted an event with She’s The First, where I had to introduce important guests and become comfortable with public speaking to large audiences.”

HC: Why do you believe it is important for students to engage in a global experience?
EL: “It will definitely make them more marketable for their future careers because it will give them an edge on their resume. A global experience is beneficial not only for employment purposes, but also because it gives them the opportunity to change their perspective of the world, meet more diverse people and learn new languages, which can only make life more interesting.”

HC: How will your focus on international involvement influence your future career?
EL: “I want to work in human resources. Whether that be employee relations or discrimination issues, I know that I could help people of all different cultural backgrounds with issues such as language barriers mostly because language has been an important focus of my studies and involvement here at UF. My experiences have also prepared me for employee recruitment, which is another component of human resources I would be interested in pursuing. I am so excited to apply all the experiences I have had in college to my future, and I hope that many of those experiences will be similar to the ones I encounter throughout my career as well.”

Photo courtesy of Eni Laska