Jessica Clutter was among the first Peace Corps volunteers to return to overseas service since the agency’s unprecedented global evacuation at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clutter, of Spokane, recently returned to Costa Rica, where she had been studying as a Washington State University student when the pandemic hit. “I really want to travel and improve my Spanish,” said Clutter, who was slated to work in Peace Corps’ youth-in-development sector. “I’m mostly looking forward to meeting people and learning about their lifestyle. I’ll be living with a host family so I’ll be more involved in the culture and community.”

Jessica Clutter overlooking a city in Costa Rica
Peace Corps volunteer Jessica Clutter (Courtesy Jessica Clutter)


Clutter (’21 Spanish) completed Peace Corps Prep at WSU. The program combines course work, hands-on experience, and leadership and intercultural skills with the aim of earning WSU’s Global Leadership Certificate and creating strong Peace Corps applicants.

After her service ends in fall 2024, she plans to pursue a master’s in education and teach high school Spanish.

Peace Corps evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers from more than 60 countries in March 2020. Current cohorts are made up of both new volunteers, like Clutter, and volunteers who were evacuated in 2020. All are engaging in pandemic response and recovery as well as work in Peace Corps’ six sectors: agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health, and youth in development.

By summer 2022, Peace Corps volunteers had returned to 19 countries, and the agency was recruiting volunteers to serve in 42 countries in all. More than 240,000 Americans have served in 142 countries worldwide since President John F. Kennedy established Peace Corps in 1961, including nearly 1,000 from Washington State University.


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In the right place (WSU alumni in the Peace Corps, Summer 2020)