Onyeka Anyanaso ’19 Accepted to Peace Corps for Two-Year Service in Zambia

A biology major and Peer Health Advocate during her time at William Paterson University, the recent graduate will work as a maternal and child health promoter

Onyeka Anyanaso '19

Onyeka Anyanaso ’19 has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Zambia this month to begin training as a maternal and child health promoter.

“I wanted some time to figure out what I really wanted in life, away from societal pressures, while also utilizing my newly developed skills in a helpful and truly rewarding way,” the recent graduate, a biology major, says. “Peace Corps sounded like the perfect outlet for me.”

Anyanaso was as a Peer Health Advocate and Peer Academic Leader during her time on campus, and she also volunteered off-campus with the New Jersey AIDS Society.

As a maternal and child health promoter with the Peace Corps, Anyanaso says she will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects focused on maternal/child health and nutrition, HIV/AIDS prevention, and malaria prevention.

“I’m thankful for my time at William Paterson because, in the end, it has helped mold me into a more-than-capable leader in many aspects, while also humbling me greatly,” Anyanaso says while discussing her imminent service with the Peace Corps. “I’ve not only learned to advocate for what I believe in, but I’ve also become better able to work with others toward the greater good; being a Peer Health Advocate was especially helpful in that regard.”

Her academic work as a biology major on campus, she adds, taught her how to be “diligent and persistent no matter how tough it seems at the time” – a lesson she will likely draw upon as she adjusts to life and work in rural Zambia.

During the first three months of her service abroad, Anyanaso will live with a host family to become fully immersed in Zambia’s language and culture. Several local languages are spoken in the country, including Bemba, Chitonga, Kaonde, Lunda, Mambwe-Lungu and Nyanja. She will then be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Zambia, where she will live and work for two years with the local people.

“I hope to grow as an individual, both personally and professionally, during my service; I hope to acquire a newfound sense of motivation and confidence, without ever second-guessing myself. I also hope the Peace Corps better opens my eyes to the hardships faced by the people in the area, and I hope my services allow me to do what I can to help remedy them,” Anyanaso says.

Anyanaso, who hails from Mine Hill, New Jersey, joins the 165 New Jersey residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 5,400 New Jersey residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.