The University of Virginia is once again one of the country’s top-ranked sources of Peace Corps volunteers.
U.Va. ranked third among medium-sized schools in the 2015 Peace Corps list of colleges and universities producing the most volunteers – the second year in a row it ranked among the top five U.Va. has frequently been among the nation’s leaders in supplying volunteers.
U.Va. has 36 alumni in the Peace Corps this year. Among them is Nora Phillips, who graduated in 2010 with a foreign affairs and environmental science degree. She served as an environment volunteer in Benin, where she taught sustainable gardening techniques and worked on a water sanitation and hygiene project.
Phillips credits U.Va. with preparing her for service, noting the impact of an extracurricular activity.
“Like Peace Corps, rowing requires both physical and mental toughness. Peace Corps can be very challenging at times,” said Phillips, 27, a native of Arlington. “Rowing taught me how to pick myself back up after losses, learn from my mistakes instead of becoming discouraged, and most importantly, to just keep on working hard and finding ways to challenge myself.”
Vice Provost for Global Affairs Jeffrey W. Legro said U.Va.’s strong representation in the Peace Corps is a product of the school’s distinctive student experience.
“This reflects the drive of our students to make a difference in the world, their preparation in the classroom and their development as leaders in U.Va.’s distinctive self-governance system,” he said.
Alumni from more than 3,000 colleges and universities nationwide have served in the Peace Corps since the agency’s founding in 1961, including 1,123 from U.Va. – more than any other institution in Virginia.
“The Peace Corps provides an indispensable opportunity for young people out of college to put their unique skills to work making a difference for communities around the world,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Volunteers make lasting change by living and working at the grassroots level in their communities of service and using their talents to tackle some of the most critical challenges in international development.”
The top five medium-sized colleges and universities – those with between 5,000 and 15,000 undergraduate students – and the number of alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers:
1. Western Washington University (47)
2. American University (41)
3. (tie) George Washington University and the University of Virginia (36)
5. Cornell University (33)