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Mason Alumna Volunteers with the Peace Corps in Romania


Sara Hughlett works with another Peace Corps volunteer to build a home for a Romanian family.

In honor of the Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary, Mason alumna  Sara Hughlett, BA Foreign Language ’08, and more than 50 Peace Corps volunteers recently built a house in six days (May 30–June 4) to benefit a family in Romania.

In addition to constructing the two-bedroom home, the Peace Corps volunteers managed event preparations and logistics. Libby Gitenstein, the wife of the U.S. ambassador to Romania, also helped build the house.

Prior to the Peace Corps project, Alina and Marcel Petrus and their two children lived in a 230-square-foot room that was filled with mold and had no heat. The Petrus family found themselves in difficult times when Marcel was no longer able to work due to a stroke that left him partially paralyzed.

“How do you thank someone that comes all the way from America just to help you? They are like guardian angels,” said Alina.

Twenty-five-year-old Hughlett, of Chantilly, Va., teaches English as a second language to students in Romania. She began her Peace Corps service in May 2010.

When asked why she decided to become a Peace Corps volunteer, she said: “Peace Corps service has been my dream since high school. I knew that I wanted to serve others and be an ambassador of change and hope to kids around the world. I also have a love for other cultures and a passion for languages.”

Prior to her Peace Corps service, Hughlett spent time in Guatemala teaching English in a small village, which she credits for further encouraging her to become a Peace Corps volunteer.

Hughlett is one of the 261 George Mason University alumni who served in the Peace Corps. Twenty-one Mason alumni are currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers around the world.

In commemoration of its 50th anniversary, the Peace Corps is one of the featured programs at the Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival taking place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., now through July 11. The event is free and open to the public. To learn more about Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary and the Folklife Festival, please visit www.peacecorps.gov/50 [2].