California State University, Long Beach
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First Campus Peace Corps Recruiter

Published: April 17, 2017

Want to promote world peace and make new friends? Then Alben Phung is your man.

As the result of CSULB winning a competitive grant funded by the U.S. State Department, Phung is now the university’s first official on-campus Peace Corps recruiter. In partnership with the Center of International Education, the Global Studies Institute and the Career Development Center, Phung will work with the Los Angeles Peace Corps Regional Recruiting Office to recruit, advise, and educate potential volunteers. As a CSULB alumnus and a recent Peace Corps volunteer, he is perfectly suited for the job.

“Alben, in many ways, is the ideal candidate for this position because he was very active in student life when he was a student here,” said Terrence F. Graham, Associate Dean and Executive Director of International Programs, who will serve as Phung’s supervisor. “That’s important. He really can connect at the level of the students.”

Phung earned his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy before serving as a Peace Corps Agriculture/Environment Volunteer in Ethiopia in 2015-16, during which he underwent intensive language and technical training. The village of Taja was left vulnerable from a recent drought with many families in need of aid. Phung helped local farmers to improve crop yields, while educating the community on environmental awareness, personal hygiene, HIV/AIDS prevention and English tutoring. He was equally educated about Ethiopian culture.

After helping those in need, Phung shared some of the lessons he learned with CSULB students during November’s International Education Week, when he spoke as part of an international careers panel.

“We know that participating in study abroad helps develop skills and qualities that are desirable to employers,” said Graham. “But it’s something that students might not think about. They might think about study abroad as something to do because it’s cool, fun and educational. But it also really prepares you for the workplace and often it really changes your thinking about your career trajectory.”

Alben Phung with local Ethiopian students at Camp G.R.O.W. (Growing and Renewing Our World), which promotes sustainability and environmental protection.
Alben Phung with local Ethiopian students at Camp G.R.O.W. (Growing and Renewing Our World), which
promotes sustainability and environmental protection.

During the academic year, Phung will host several events on campus. For details, follow him on Facebook and Instagram @PeaceCorpsatCSULB.