UWF in the Community

UWF alum ready for her Peace Corps adventure

Starting off the day with fresh squeezed juice, fruit, bread and an egg, UWF alumna Christine Tenzycki spends the morning with her host family. Immersing herself in language training, cultural activities and working on technical comprehensions, Tenzycki is preparing herself for one of her biggest challenges yet, serving in Ecuador as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Currently half way through her training before being sworn into the Peace Corps, Tenzycki, ’06 criminal justice grad, has to complete 10 weeks of training. Following her swearing in ceremony, Tenzycki will travel to Ecuador to spend two years serving as a youth and family trainee dedicated to forming youth groups, implementing community integration skills and activities and organizing “charlas” (educational presentations) to youths.

“So far my biggest challenges have been speaking a different language and being away from my family,” said Tenzycki. “Once I begin my service, one of the challenges will be integrating into a new community in a foreign country and facilitating youth and families programs that address the needs of the host community.”

Although she may face challenges through her experience, Tenzycki admits that these obstacles could also turn out to be some of her biggest rewards. Focusing her service on helping the youth and families in the community, she is grateful for the encouragement she has received from back home.

“My family and friends have been incredibly supportive,” said Tenzycki. “The application process alone was 11 months. My parents consider this the opportunity of a lifetime and are very excited for me.”

Tenzycki is no stranger to taking advantage of opportunities to try new things. At UWF, Tenzycki was very involved in the Criminal Justice program and interned with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office: Crime Scene Unit during her last semester. Throughout her internship, she helped process crime scenes and gained first-hand experience with the unit.

“It was the most incredible experience of my life,” said Tenzycki. “The absolute professionalism and overwhelming support I received from the staff at the Sheriff’s Office was indescribable. The UWF Criminal Justice program faculty coordinated the communication between me and the Sheriff’s Office and it was an amazing feeling to receive such support from UWF.”

When Tenzycki returns to the United States at the end of her Peace Corps service, her goal is to obtain employment with a law enforcement agency and attend graduate school.

“My advice is to set a goal and simply do it,” said Tenzycki. “Graduation was exciting and terrifying for me. I was happy to receive my degree, but scared of what the future held. I gave the Peace Corps a lot of thought and after a year of working in the social work field I applied and now I want to do it more than ever.”

Learn more about UWF’s Criminal Justice program at uwf.edu/justice. To find out more about the Peace Corps, visit peacecorps.gov.

By Megan Tyson, University Marketing Communications