MHC Alum Begins Peace Corps Service in Cambodia

Jenny Pisana '12, '15, who earned her Bachelor's degree as a Macaulay Honors College student at CSI, went on to earn her Master's at CSI, and is now entering the Peace Corps.

Jenny Pisani, 24, of Staten Island, N.Y., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Cambodia July 23 to begin training as an education volunteer. Pisani will live and work in a community to teach English at the secondary level and participate in a secondary project to help meet community development needs.

“My main project will be teaching English as a second language to middle and high school students,” she noted. “However, I’ll also be involved with many other exciting projects, including the new ‘Let Girls Learn’ initiative in an effort to expand the educational opportunities to adolescent girls in Cambodia.”

First Lady Michelle Obama and the Peace Corps have “Let Girls Learn” as a powerful collaboration to expand access to education for adolescent girls around the world.

Pisani is the daughter of David and Michele Pisani and a graduate of Staten Island Technical High School in Staten Island, N.Y. She then attended Macaulay Honors College at the College of Staten Island in Staten Island, N.Y., where she earned a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in creative writing in 2012. She also earned an M.S. in educational science with a concentration in secondary English [from CSI] in 2015.

“Ms. Pisani’s commitment to helping the global community represents the best of our Macaulay ideals,” commented Dr. Charles Liu, director of the Macaulay Honors College University Scholars program at CSI. “We are very proud of her acceptance into the Peace Corps  and of all of her outstanding achievements,” adding that she is the first graduate from the Macaulay Honors College at CSI to be accepted into the Peace Corps.

Pisani previously worked as a prevocational counselor for the N.Y.-based non-profit organization Community Resource Center for the Developmentally Disabled and a full-time English teacher for New York City Department of Education. She intends to pursue [a terminal] degree upon completing her service as part of the Peace Corps’ Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, which offers graduate studies for returned volunteers at more than 90 leading academic institutions nationwide.

“I love learning and want to continue my post-graduate education to eventually earn either a PhD or an MFA in creative writing and become a professor,” she said. “I haven’t decided exactly which program or university I will apply to yet, but I’m very interested in the MFA program at Georgia College.”

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

“I hope most of all to connect with the people, show kindness and humility in a way that will hopefully provide them with a positive view of Americans,” she said. “Ultimately, my job is to teach English and I hope I succeed in that regard, but I also hope to leave an echo of love for our fellow man.”

Pisani joins the 412 New York residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 13,303 New York residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.