With 20 alumni now serving as Peace Corps Volunteers, the University of Nevada, Reno made its debut on the annual Peace Corps Top Colleges list for 2010.
The University ranks 25th among mid-size universities for the number of alumni in service — just behind Yale and tied with Brown and Emory University. This is the first appearance on the annual rankings for Nevada, which had 11 alumni in service last year.
“Why are so many Nevada graduates drawn to the Peace Corps?” asked Daniel Holman of Reno, who earned a degree in marketing from the University of Nevada in 2007. “I think it is a reflection on how well the University prepares students for today's world.” Holman departs April 7 to begin training for a Peace Corps assignment in Botswana in organizational development.
“The curriculum includes an international and cross-cultural component that every student must complete, regardless of his or her major,” Holman said. “I feel this exposes students to issues they would not normally deal with and equips them with a mindset that they can make an impact.”
Fellow Nevada graduate Emily Chapter of Las Vegas agrees. “UNR cultivates an environment in which college students learn to be part of something bigger than themselves,” Chapter said. Chapter, who earned a degree in education in 2008, departed Feb. 2 to train as a rural health educator with the Peace Corps in El Salvador.
“Every club or society I was a part of or interacted with – fraternities, sororities, international clubs, and social groups – all in some way contributed to community growth,” she said.
The 20 University alumni in service span every Peace Corps assignment area and region, including agricultural work in Honduras; education in Jordan; and business development in Niger.
Peace Corps is a 27-month commitment. More than 7,600 Americans are serving as Peace Corps Volunteers in 76 countries around the world. Volunteers assist local communities with projects that are designed to educate students, encourage economic development, protect and restore the environment, increase the agricultural capabilities of farming communities, expand access to basic health care for families, and address HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Peace Corps Volunteers make lasting contributions to the United States and the international community by promoting mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other nations, responding to humanitarian crises and natural disasters, developing leadership skills among host country nationals, and preparing America's work force with overseas experience.
Peace Corps Volunteers must be skilled U.S. citizens, at least 18-years old, and in good health. There is no upper age limit to serve. Peace Corps service includes training, transportation, a living stipend and medical care.
More information, including the annual Top Colleges ranking and online applications is available at Peace Corps.