Peace Corps @ Cal

The Peace Corps traces its roots and mission to 1960, when then-Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. From that inspiration grew an agency of the federal government devoted to world peace and friendship.

Since that time, 220,000+ Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 140 host countries to work on issues ranging from education to health outreach and environmental preservation.

Today's Peace Corps is more vital than ever, working in emerging and essential areas such as community economic development, and contributing to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Peace Corps Volunteers continue to help countless individuals who want to build a better life for themselves, their children, and their communities.

Check out videos on the Peace Corps YouTube Channel.

Portia Borkin, Cal Peace Corps Representative

Portia O. Boykin, regional diversity recruiter, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador from 2011–13. There she worked as a health educator.

Alabama born and California raised, Portia graduated from Alabama A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in food science and technology.

Portia began her career in the food industry as a food safety specialist, writing and implementing safety procedures. Her strong desire for community service and outreach led her to the proud decision of becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer.

As a Peace Corps Volunteer, Portia worked with the local Red Cross in the northern Andean region of Ecuador. As a community health worker she trained Red Cross volunteers on nutrition, hygiene, and sex education. She also taught English, facilitated youth workshops, and introduced a rural community to its first Peace Corps Volunteer. Portia also helped Peace Corps Ecuador staff by training incoming Peace Corps trainees on the subject of diversity and inclusion during her entire service.

Portia says her Peace Corps experience allowed her to experience the world and not just watch it from afar. “Peace Corps helped me realize that all people are similar; no matter where they come from on this earth, personality types don’t change. Knowing this helped me realize that all people want in life is to be healthy, happy and secure. Stepping outside of my comfort zone and helping the world has made me incredibly more comfortable.”

Portia meets with interested students at the Career Center every Thursday, by appointment only, through May 10, 2018.  She can also be reached at 510-452-8454 or by email at