Caroline Reddy, 23, of Waukesha, Wis., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Cameroon May 29 to begin training as a community economic development advisor. Reddy will make a difference working with small-scale farmers and farmers' cooperatives to teach basic business practices, improve crop and livestock production and preservation, and identify market structures.
Reddy is the daughter of Michael Reddy and a 2008 graduate of Waukesha South High School in Waukesha, Wis. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor's degree in agricultural and applied economics in 2012.
“Through my various international experiences during my time at UW-Madison, I had the opportunity to meet a lot of inspiring people who were working on economic empowerment projects around the world," Reddy said. "Specifically, through a project working with a women's group in Ecuador to set up a microenterprise, I was able to see firsthand the empowerment provided to the women by the small profits they were making, which was a very powerful experience. This was a big motivating factor to join the Peace Corps."
During the first three months of her service in Cameroon, Reddy will complete technical, language, health and safety training while living with a host family to become fully immersed in the country's language and culture. The training and cultural exchange prepare Reddy for her two years of service, while also allowing community members to gain a better understanding of Americans. After Reddy is sworn into service and assigned to a community, she will work on sustainable, community-driven development projects that make a difference for the people of Cameroon and provide Reddy with leadership and cross-cultural skills she can use throughout her career.
Reddy said she was inspired by her older sister, who is currently serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay.
"I am excited about the opportunity to learn French, which I anticipate being very helpful in my future career," she said. "Most of all, I am hoping to be a positive cultural ambassador of the U.S. in my new community in Cameroon."
Reddy joins the 212 Wisconsin residents currently serving in the Peace Corps. More than 5,740 Wisconsin residents have served as volunteers since the agency was created in 1961.