U of M Twin Cities top 5 in Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools rankings

February 18, 2015

With 63 graduates currently making a difference as Peace Corps volunteers, the University of Minnesota ranks No. 5 nationally on the Peace Corps annual list, moving up 5 spots from its position last year. The U of M is on the list for the 15th consecutive year, and also ranks No. 3 among graduate schools with 14 U of M graduate school alumni serving as volunteers.

“We are very proud of our strong history with the Peace Corps,” said Martha Johnson, assistant dean for learning abroad.  “This increase demonstrates the high level of interest we continue to see from our students, but also the quality of their skills and preparation in pursuing opportunities as Peace Corps volunteers.”

Since 1961, 1,464 alums have served overseas, making the University of Minnesota the No. 16 all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers.

One volunteer is U of M alum Albert Vang, who served as a health extension agent volunteer in Senegal from 2010-13. Vang made a difference building latrines and distributing mosquito nets to families in his village. Additionally, he painted murals in his health hut, presented nutrition lessons in classrooms and participated in a regional girls’ camp organized by volunteers.

“The University of Minnesota prepared me for Peace Corps by providing a variety of classes that offered a diverse perspective on different subjects,” said Vang, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Liberal Arts in 2005. “The U helped me understand how to plan and manage schedules, opened my eyes to diversity, taught me more about participation and involvement in a community, and allowed me to grow as a person and accept changes.”

University of Minnesota Twin Cities offers both Peace Corps Master’s International and Paul D. Coverdell Fellows programs. The Master’s International programs in the areas of Natural Resource Science and Management, Civil Engineering, Public Health, and Youth Development Leadership allow students to combine Peace Corps service with graduate studies for credit.  Introduced in 2011, the Coverdell Fellows Program provides Peace Corps volunteers who have completed their service the opportunity to earn an advanced degree through the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, with financial assistance and the chance to use their knowledge and skills in community internships as part of the program’s requirements. 

The Peace Corps released its annual rankings today and can be viewed here.

About the Peace Corps
The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov.

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