Peace Corps: U-M climbs to No. 6 on top-producer list
Written by William Foreman
ANN ARBOR—The University of Michigan has moved up two spots to No. 6 on the list of colleges and universities that produce the most Peace Corps volunteers.
U-M, which made the list for the 16th consecutive year, is the fourth all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers, with 2,640 alumni having served since the agency was created in 1961.
Currently, 48 U-M alumni are in the field with the Peace Corps, including Alexandra Soos from Berrien Springs, Mich. She has been teaching 9th-grade chemistry in Mozambique since September 2015.
“Every day I feel like I’m learning more about myself, and every day I am trying to be the best person I can be,” said Soos, who graduated last year. “It’s hard to give back even half of what I’m learning from this experience, but I’m trying to help inside and outside of the classroom.”
U-M was also No. 2 on the Peace Corps’ list of the top producing graduate schools.
James Holloway, vice provost for global and engaged education, said that one of his students in nuclear engineering joined the Peace Corps and has been teaching science in a village in Malawi for more than a year now.
“This incredibly smart woman could have done anything,” he said. “She chose to serve others.”
Holloway added that as a public institution with a global reach, U-M has a longstanding service-minded ethos.
“Our students come to U-M to learn how to think about the world and to learn the skills needed to create a positive impact in communities near and far,” he said. “The Peace Corps mission resonates strongly within our walls, and our students respond and join in this important service to the world.”
The university offers Paul D. Coverdell Fellows graduate programs for the agency’s volunteers who have completed their service. They can earn an advanced degree in design, fine arts, information studies, landscape architecture, nursing, social work, public policy or natural resources and environment, with financial assistance.
The university also offers Peace Corps Master’s International graduate programs, allowing students to combine Peace Corps service with graduate studies for credit in natural resources and environment, landscape architecture, education studies, information studies, social work and nursing.
Peace Corps works with U-M to host two on-campus recruiters at the International Center who share their personal experiences as volunteers and provide information about applying for service.
“I’m so pleased that the International Center’s Peace Corps team and our colleagues around campus promote and support the Peace Corps,” said Judith Pennywell, director of the International Center. “The U-M connection to the Peace Corps is longstanding and reflective of our institution’s commitment to social justice and service.”
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