Former Student Mario Zuniga of Chula Vista Selected for Peace Corps Education Assignment in Cameroon

Mario worked on fire spread research with Dr. Gollner at UC San Diego as an undergraduate McNair Fellow. Congratulations and best wishes on your new adventure, Mario!

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Peace Corps Volunteer Profile:

Name: Mario Zuniga

Age: 23

Hometown: San Diego, Calif.

Current City: Chula Vista, Calif.

Alma Mater: University of California, San Diego, Environmental Engineering, 2013

Country of Service: Cameroon

Assignment: Science Teacher

Departure: May 2014



WASHINGTON January 22, 2014 — Mario Zuniga, 23, of Chula Vista, Calif., has been accepted into the Peace Corps.

Zuniga will be departing for Cameroon in May 2014 to begin pre-service training as a Science Teacher Peace Corps volunteer.

Zuniga says he was motivated to join the Peace Corps because, “helping others has always been part of me. From hearing other’s problems and giving them advice, to attending charity events in poor communities in Mexico and providing food and clothing for people in need. My mother has shown me that helping those in need can really fulfill one’s life. The first moment I felt satisfied with my life happened once at a charity event in Tijuana. Around Christmas time, my Mother’s church group, a couple of friends and I went to a poor community in Tijuana. After doing a traditional Mexican ritual, we handed out food, clothing, and toys. Seeing all the little kids – with their dirty and torn clothing but fulfilled heart and bright smiles – gave me a feeling I had never felt before. I knew that if I died that instant, I would die the happiest man on earth. From this moment, I discovered the meaning of my life. From this moment, I knew I wanted to do something like the Peace Corps.”

During his first three months of service, Zuniga will live with a host family in Cameroon to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the language and cultural skills necessary to assist his community, he will be sworn into service and be assigned to a community in Cameroon, where he will live and work for two years with the local people.

Zuniga is a 2013 graduate of University of California, San Diego, where he earned a degree in Environmental Engineering.

Zuniga joins the 973 California residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 28,893 California residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

About Volunteers in Cameroon: 
There are currently 214 Volunteers in Cameroon working in the areas of education, agriculture and health. During their service in Cameroon, Volunteers learn to speak the local languages, including: Pidgin English, Fulfulde and French. More than 3,470 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Cameroon since the program was established in 1962.

About Peace Corps: 
More than 215,000 Americans have served as Peace Corps volunteers in 139 countries since President John F. Kennedy established the agency in 1961.

Through their service, volunteers increase awareness of America around the world and help our country gain an understanding of other cultures beyond our borders. Currently, 7,209 Peace Corps volunteers serve in 65 countries.

Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment. Volunteers live and work with a community overseas to reach goals in education, health, business, agriculture, the environment, youth development and more.

Peace Corps volunteers spend their first three months of service in training, living with a host family and studying the local language and culture.

Volunteers receive many benefits, including transportation, a living stipend, medical care, graduate school opportunities, student loan deferment, $7,425 upon completion and much more. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens, at least 18-years old, and in good health. There is no upper age limit and no cost to participate. Apply online.

For more information and online applications, please visit

Media Contact: Jeremiah McDaniel of Peace Corps 310.356.1119 or