American University ranks No. 1 among medium size schools on the Peace Corps 2017 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list.
This is the third consecutive year that AU has ranked in the top five in that category; in 2016 and 2015, the school held the No. 2 spot.
AU also claimed the No. 1 spot nationwide among graduate schools, with 20 post-graduate alumni serving overseas. In 2016, the school ranked No. 5 on the same list.
Fifty-four AU alumni currently volunteer worldwide.
Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, 1,066 AU alums have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers.
AU has actively partnered with the Peace Corps to further the agency’s recruitment efforts on campus, particularly in launching the undergraduate certificate program known as Peace Corps Prep. Undergraduate students enrolled in the Peace Corps Prep program at AU—housed in AU’s School of International Service (SIS)—combine targeted coursework with hands-on experience, building the competencies needed to become competitive Peace Corps applicants and international development professionals.
“I am a Latina Peace Corps volunteer with a big smile and voluminous laugh, living and thriving alone in a rural community,” said Katherin Sibel, and AU alumna who works with a women’s agricultural cooperative in Paraguay.
“This past year, my agribusiness project included the set-up of a dairy product co-op with members of the committee to address economic security and female empowerment purposes,” Sibel said. “In 2017, the agri-portion includes improving existing agroforestry methods and cow nutrition for small landholder farms. The business aspect is fun, interactive presentations in Guarani on marketing, business finance, and basic accounting so they can care and further develop their micro-business.”
Sibel, a 2015 SIS graduate, says her education prepared her for service.
“During my time, I learned that in development work, one is going to experience more failures than successes. However, the more a community and all its actors are involved in a project, the better because sustainable development must be local.”
Service in the Peace Corps is a life-defining, hands-on leadership experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel to a community overseas and make a lasting difference in the lives of others. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today's global economy.
“Peace Corps service is an unparalleled leadership opportunity that enables college and university alumni to use the creative-thinking skills they developed in school to make an impact in communities around the world,” Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley said. “Many college graduates view Peace Corps as a launching pad for their careers because volunteers return home with the cultural competency and entrepreneurial spirit sought after in most fields.”
The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. This year’s rankings were calculated based on fiscal year 2016 data as of September 30, 2016, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.
Since the Peace Corps founding 56 years ago, more than 225,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide.
This year’s rankings follow the launch of a refreshed brand platform that underscores the agency’s commitment to putting the user experience first and makes the Peace Corps more accessible to audiences through the platforms they already use.
Applicants can learn more about service opportunities by assignment area, country and departure date by visiting the Peace Corps website.