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UVM Among Top Peace Corps Volunteer-Producing Colleges

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By University Communications Staff

The Peace Corps last week released the 2014 rankings of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities across the country. The University of Vermont ranks fifth this year among medium-sized colleges and universities schools, with 29 undergraduate alumni currently volunteering worldwide.

UVM, which tied with Cornell University for the No. 5 spot in 2014, also ranked fifth nationally in 2013.

UVM alumni are currently serving as volunteers in Benin, Botswana, Cambodia, Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Fiji, The Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Madagascar, Mexico, Micronesia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia. They work in areas including agriculture, education, environment, health and youth development.

“The same passion that launched the Peace Corps more than 50 years ago fuels progress in developing countries today thanks to the leadership and creativity that college graduates bring to their Peace Corps service,” Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet says. “The unique Peace Corps experience helps recent graduates cultivate highly sought-after skills that will launch their careers in today’s global economy.”

Since the first days of the Peace Corps, 839 UVM alumni from have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers.

“As an agricultural volunteer in The Gambia, a country where a large part of the population would identify as  farmers, I find that my work is making an important impact on my hosts,” says UVM alumnus Peter Tyliszczak, an environmental studies major who graduated in 2011.

“I was intrigued by the thought of living in a completely different culture,” says Winter Heath ’11, a UVM alumna who is currently serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo. “I also wanted to learn more about myself when I am pushed beyond my comfort zone.”

In 2013, Vermont ranked No. 1 in the nation for the highest per capita number of Peace Corps volunteers, with 49 currently-serving Peace Corps volunteers calling the Green Mountain State home. In addition, the Burlington-South Burlington metro area ranked No. 2 per capita nationally for volunteer-production, with 23 area residents serving overseas.

Service in the Peace Corps is a life-defining, hands-on leadership experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel to the farthest corners of the world and make a lasting difference in the lives of others. Peace Corps volunteers live and work at the community level and promote a better understanding between Americans and the people they serve, while at the same time becoming global citizens.

When they return home, volunteers bring knowledge and experiences that give them a competitive edge for 21st century jobs and advanced educational opportunities. They give back to their own communities and enrich the lives of those around them, helping to strengthen international ties and increase our country’s global competitiveness.

The Peace Corps has eight regional recruitment offices across the United States that work closely with prospective volunteers to ensure that all Americans who want to serve have the opportunity to do so. The Northeast regional recruitment office serves UVM, and Peace Corps recruiters are based throughout the region. University of Vermont students or those in the Burlington area interested in learning more should contact Peace Corps representative Sierra Poske at, (802) 656-8269.

The Peace Corps ranks the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. Learn more about the 2014 ranking.

This story originally appeared on UVM Today.