Indiana University Bloomington returns to Peace Corps Top Colleges rankings

  • Feb. 12, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington has earned a spot on the Peace Corps’ annual list of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities for the first time since 2011-12. With 35 graduates serving as Peace Corps volunteers, the university ranks at No. 25 this year among large schools nationwide.

IU alumna Blair Adams of Nashville, Ind., served as an education volunteer in the Dominican Republic from March 2011 to August 2013. While there, she taught English and information technology and managed a student-led, educational telenovela project.

Adams says several of her IU professors -- including Susan Seizer, Ted Striphas and Joshua Malitsky of the Department of Communication and Culture in the College of Arts and Sciences -- inspired her and helped put her on the path to Peace Corps.

“I think IU prepared me for Peace Corps by, firstly, introducing it to me and, second, presenting me with thought-provoking assignments that challenged me to come up with creative solutions,” said Adams, who earned her degree in May 2010.

IU Bloomington both encourages volunteers and welcomes them back. It has several programs for returning Peace Corps volunteers, with two of the most successful found at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. The top-ranked school offers Returned Peace Corps Volunteers substantial financial and academic benefits. SPEA also offers the Peace Corps Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program that enables returned volunteers to continue their dedication to community service. Additionally, SPEA and the School of Education host Master’s International, which is designed so students may combine their graduate training with the values of Peace Corps in-country volunteering.

“We’re proud of this ranking and what it says about the commitment to making a difference that is shared by so many IU students,” said Jennifer Forney, SPEA director of graduate student services. “At SPEA, we enthusiastically welcome RPCVs because of their global perspective and devotion to service that enriches all that we do.”

Peace Corps recruiter Laura Fonseca, an IU alum and returned volunteer who served in Ukraine, advises IU candidates and can be reached at She will be on campus March 26 for an event where returned volunteers will share their experiences with students. The event is at 5 p.m. at the Career Development Center, 625 N. Jordan Ave.

About 120 Indiana residents are currently serving in the Peace Corps. Overall, 3,181 Indiana residents and 1,603 IU graduates have served since the agency was created in 1961. 

Nationally, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with 90 alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers, outpaced large universities with more than 15,000 undergraduates this year. Among midsized schools with between 5,000 and 15,000 undergrads, Western Washington University ranked No. 1 with 65 alumni serving. For small colleges with fewer than 5,000 undergrads, Gonzaga University topped the list, with 22 graduates currently serving. The entire top 25 rankings for each school size category are available online.

Graduating college students are encouraged to apply by March 1 for remaining assignment openings for 2014 and the chance to be considered for programs in early 2015.

About the Peace Corps

As the pre-eminent international service organization of the United States, the Peace Corps sends Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Peace Corps volunteers work at the grassroots level with local governments, schools, communities, small businesses and entrepreneurs to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. When they return home, volunteers bring their knowledge and experiences -- and a global outlook -- back to the United States, enriching the lives of those around them. President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961 to foster a better understanding among Americans and people of other countries. Since then, more than 215,000 Americans of all ages have served in 139 countries worldwide. 

Related Links

Peace Corps volunteer and IU alumna Blair Adams works with students in the Dominican Republic.

Peace Corps volunteer and IU alumna Blair Adams works with students in the Dominican Republic.

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Media Contacts

Steve Hinnefeld

Jessica Mayle

Public affairs coordinator -- media

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