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Janis Droegkamp - Family Memories

Jan Droegkamp has spent much of her professional career working in a variety of postings with the Peace Corps, first in Jamaica in 1972, then Lesotho (surrounded by apartheid South Africa), before returning to Massachusetts for graduate school. Since earning her graduate degree Jan has also worked in Kenya, Thailand, Cambodia, Fiji, Albania, Uganda and other countries. While in Fiji, Jan decided to start a family. In 1985, she became a Mother by Choice when she gave birth to her son, John, and represented the group several years later on the Oprah Winfrey show. She also began a long association with Sangamon State University in Springfield, Illinois, both running the University's Credit for Prior Learning program and teaching.

Interview Links

Feature Excerpt

Jan's first day in Jamaica

Abstract

Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Early history and school years

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

Peace Corps career in Jamaica and in Lesotho, southern Africa

Interview Session 03 (Audio)

Sangamon State U., Single Mothers by Choice and Peace Corps experience

Photos

Caption

Jan Droegkamp holds her baby sister Jane when she was five and her sister was just two months old in 1951. Jan and Jane shared the same birthday. The family lived in Oakfield, Wisconsin at the time.

Where:

Oakfield, Wisconsin

When:

1951

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Education expectations were high in the Droegkamp family. Here is Jan pictured with her Father when he received his Master’s Degree in 1954. Jan’s sister Jane looks on with admiration.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1954

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jan Droegkamp as a Delta Zeta Sorority girl in 1966 while she attended Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Where:

Waukesha, Wisconsin

When:

1966

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jan was a Peace Corps volunteer in Jamaica in 1973 when she helped plant trees on Jamaica’s tree planting day.

Where:

Jamaica

When:

1973

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jan defended her Doctoral Dissertation at the University of Massachusetts in 1982.

Where:

Massachusetts

When:

1982

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jan loved discovering local culture wherever she went. In 1983, while working in Kenya, she had her hair cornrowed.

Where:

Kenya

When:

1983

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jan worked with primary school teachers during her Peace Corps tour in Kenya in 1984.

Where:

Kenya

When:

1984

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Friends and family gave Jan a surprise baby shower in 1985 at her sister’s home in Wisconsin.

Where:

Wisconsin

When:

1985

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jan enjoys the day with her son John, age two, during a trip to New York in 1987.

Where:

New York

When:

1987

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jan got a chance to satisfy her love of travel in 1995 when she traveled throughout the African continent.

Where:

Africa

When:

1995

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jan served all over the world for the Peace Corps during her career. She was conducting research on women over fifty during this trip to Botswana in 2003.

Where:

Botswana

When:

2003

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jan returned to Jamaica in 2005, teaching a study abroad class.

Where:

Jamaica

When:

2005

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jan Droegkamp posed with three volunteers in 2010 while serving on the Peace Corps staff in Uganda.

Where:

Uganda

When:

2010

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jan’s retirement activities included working for social justice. Jan and other volunteers are shown here at the Arizona/Mexico border in 2015.

Where:

Arizona/Mexico border

When:

2015

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jan was still giving guest lectures on global issues after she retired. She enjoyed meeting students from across the world at this University of Illinois at Springfield lecture in 2016.

Where:

Springfield, Illinois

When:

2016

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jan’s son John married Blair Vajko on a beautiful day in Springfield’s Washington Park in August, 2016.

Where:

Springfield, Illinois

When:

2016

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jan with her son John and grandson Kingston Harold Droegkamp following John’s wedding in Washington Park in August, 2016.

Where:

Springfield, Illinois

When:

2016

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo



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