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Thursday, November 10, 2022

Kroc School Student Highlight: Skye Bougouneau

Written by Skye Bougouneau

Where are you from and what educational background do you have prior to joining us at the Kroc School?

I am from Chesapeake Virginia, which is about 15 minutes outside of Virginia Beach, VA. I attended Virginia Commonwealth University and received my bachelor's in political science and a minor in African American Studies with a concentration in Civil Rights studies.

How did you hear about the programs offered at the Kroc School?

I was made aware of the Kroc School through my affiliation with the United States Peace Corps in Morocco. After serving with the Peace Corps, volunteers have lifetime eligibility for the Coverdell Fellowship. The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program offers monetary assistance for returned volunteers seeking a graduate program.  The fellowship partners with various schools in the United States, including the Kroc School.

What led to you choosing your program?

After I returned from the Peace Corps I taught kindergarten humanities at a charter school in Washington D.C for two years. This opportunity furthered my understanding of the hardships and systematic disadvantages that exist within the education system that impact urban communities, particularly for Black and Brown youth. As my career as a teacher began, I wanted to serve my community to contribute to the welfare of K-12 youth so that they are being developed on a holistic social, emotional, and educational level. In order for me to be the best community servant, I knew I needed to match my passion and teaching experience with more formal training. This is why the idea of a Peace and Justice program was appealing to me.

What expectations do you have of the Kroc School and what it can offer you?

At the Kroc School, I expect to be taught fundamental theories around peace and justice, have a deeper look into how trauma influences peace, and ways to connect and work with community organizations.  I'm excited to engage in courses that will prepare me for my chosen career. I anticipate courses like Program Design and Project Design & Grant Writing will equip me with fundraising skills and appropriate program analysis techniques. These will help me do meaningful work with community members. Being in a school for Peace Studies I am expecting the classroom to be a space of growth through discomfort and unlearning. I am also expecting safe spaces to have meaningful dialogues with professors and peers. These spaces will nourish me through conversation and learning new perspectives.

How do you hope to leverage your degree and the knowledge you will learn to apply it to your professional career?

While at the Kroc school, I will network with peers, professors, and colleagues who have experience in different backgrounds. I want to build and leverage connections that will lead me to new opportunities within my chosen field. I look forward to a rigorous curriculum that will broaden my perspective on life. Through working alongside different scholars, connecting with alumni, and leveraging professors' experiences I will have created a support system that will prepare me to start my own projects post-grad. When I finish at the Kroc School, I plan to create a sustainable community-based learning centers in urban areas. These community centers will work with local community organizations to meet the needs of urban youth from a holistic approach. Classes on anger management, mediation, and conflict resolution will better equip the youth to move through the world. These classes combined with outdoor experiences, horticulture, and nutrition class will also allow students to start being mindful of the world around them. I intend to use the Kroc School as a stepping stone for my next phase in life while building meaningful and lasting connections along the way.

Skye Bougouneau

About the Author

Skye Bougouneau

Skye is a MA in Peace and Justice candidate at the Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego