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Hendrix College Senior Accepted into Peace Corps

Claire_Nissen-15web.jpgCONWAY, Ark. (March 13, 2019) – Claire Nissen ’19, a Hendrix College senior from Austin, Texas, has been accepted into the Peace Corps to serve as a Community Health Promoter in Sierra Leone. She will begin serving in June, the month after her anticipated graduation from Hendrix.

A chemical physics major with a minor in biology, Nissen plans to attend medical school, but her desire to spend her career working in global health led her to the Peace Corps first.

“I chose to apply for the Peace Corps instead of applying to go straight into medical school after graduation because I wanted the opportunity to learn first-hand how to bridge cultural gaps in a healthcare setting,” she said.

Nissen’s assignment provides a good match for that desire to learn. The Peace Corps in Sierra Leone aims to improve basic primary health care knowledge, practices, and services, with the goals of reducing the occurrence of communicable and preventable diseases and minimizing the effects malnutrition.

A Community Health Promoter’s work in Sierra Leone centers on three main areas: maternal and child nutrition; water, sanitation, and hygiene; and malaria prevention and control. As a health promoter, Nissen will seek ways to educate and create interventions that have a positive impact on those priorities, using methods that are sustainable for the culture and that are achievable using available materials.

“Sierra Leone has a special focus on female empowerment and gender awareness, which is a mission that I feel very passionately about,” Nissen said of choosing where to apply to serve. “I’m excited to incorporate that into the interventions that I will design in the future.”

“I was thrilled, but not surprised, to learn that Claire had been accepted into the Peace Corps,” said Jamie Groat, a former staffer with the Hendrix College Office of Career Services, who advised Nissen during the application process and as she prepared for her interview. “Her accomplishment is a wonderful example of preparation and hard work paying off. Claire has demonstrated a passion for public health and gained a lot of great experience in the field of healthcare during her time at Hendrix; the Peace Corps provides a wonderful avenue by which she can continue to affect positive change in an area that is important to her.”

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit