UMD has made its first appearance on Peace Corps’ annual list of the top volunteer-producing midsized colleges and universities across the country, the agency announced today. UMD ranks No. 20 with 14 alumni currently serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers.
Since the agency was created in 1961, 299 UMD graduates have made a difference as Peace Corps volunteers.
“The Peace Corps is a unique opportunity for college graduates to put their education into practice and become agents of change in communities around the world,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Today’s graduates understand the importance of intercultural understanding and are raising their hands in record numbers to take on the challenge of international service.”
One UMD alumna making a difference as a Peace Corps volunteer is Emma Van Winkle, who has been serving in Swaziland as a youth development volunteer since June 2014. Van Winkle, of Des Moines, Iowa, has established two school libraries and trained teachers on how to use them. She also teaches about HIV/AIDS prevention through soccer and games in a life-skills class.
Inspired in part by her mother, an avid traveler, Van Winkle, 26, says her time at UMD also helped put her on the path to service.
“My anthropology and history classes taught me to value and appreciate other cultures,” said Van Winkle, who graduated from UMD in 2012. “Through them I realized how big and fascinating the world is. I knew I wanted to live abroad, to immerse myself in a foreign culture and language, and Peace Corps seemed like a great way to do it.”
Peace Corps Rankings and Opportunities:
View the entire top 25 rankings for each school size category here.*
This year’s rankings follow a 40-year high in applications for the Peace Corps in 2015. This record-breaking number comes after the first full year that the agency implemented historic reforms allowing applicants to choose the countries and assignments they’d like to be considered for. Graduating college students are encouraged to browse open programs and apply by April 1 for assignments departing fall 2016.
Peace Corps recruiter Janice McInerney, a returned volunteer who served in Ukraine, advises UMD candidates and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.peacecorps.gov/events to learn of in-person and online opportunities to chat with a recruiter.
Currently, 224 Minnesota residents are serving in Peace Corps. Overall, 6,627 Minnesota residents have served since the agency was created in 1961.
About the Peace Corps:
The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to address the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work with their community members at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions to challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
*Rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2015 data as of September 30, 2015, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.
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