October 30, 2020

Kyle Danzey: Corps Values

Before Kyle Danzey can talk about his military service, or the GI bill that put him through college, or the work that funded his graduate degree in Norfolk, he must first talk about his family.

“My mom and dad grew up in the segregated South,” he said. “They didn’t have many opportunities.”

Yet they made them – paving the way for their son.

Kyle Danzey

Kyle Danzey is director of the new Peace Corps Prep program at UMW. Photo by Alex Sakes.

Danzey’s parents joined the military, which gave them the chance to go to college. His father was injured while serving in Vietnam. Together, they raised a son who would follow in their footsteps, fully appreciating the value of an education.

He got a bachelor’s degree, worked two years and then went to graduate school at Old Dominion University – paying his own way as a full-time vocational instructor for recipients of welfare benefits.

He arrived at UMW two years ago, taking on the role of assistant director for career and professional development. He also serves as coordinator of UMW’s brand new Peace Corps Prep program.

Q: The Peace Corps just recognized UMW as one of the top volunteer-producing colleges for the 10th year in a row. Why do so many join?

A: It’s just a culture that we have here at UMW. We’ve always had that tradition of being educators or providing a service. Our students want to contribute to society. They want to travel internationally.

Q: Tell me about the new Peace Corps Prep program.

A: It’s a pipeline program that combines targeted coursework, service-oriented field work and professional development to prepare undergraduates for future volunteer positions. Successful students receive a certificate from the Peace Corps, a graduation rope and help with applying to the Peace Corps.

Q: Tell me about your other roles here on campus.

A: I do all of the marketing within the Career Center. I do resume reviews, career assessments and presentations on resume building. I also teach local seventh through twelfth graders once a month as part of the James Farmer Scholars program. I teach a student transition program for incoming freshmen for under-represented students. I’m also coordinator for a workforce recruitment program for students with disabilities.

Q: What’s your favorite part of the job?

A: Working with students and seeing them grow over time. It still shocks me sometimes when I’m walking across campus and I hear, “Hi, Mr. Danzey.” I made some impact on that student’s life for them to remember me. That’s the ultimate reward.

Q: What is the most challenging part?

A: Throughout my life, I’ve seen that one person others don’t see who may feel undervalued. I’ve always taken to that person. There are so many out there we just don’t know. It hurts my heart that there may be a student going through a situation that I can’t help.

Q: Is there a motto you live by?

A: Strengths lie in differences, not similarities. I think that can apply to everything.