Indiana University Bloomington moves up in Peace Corps rankings

  • Feb. 18, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- For the second consecutive year, Indiana University Bloomington has earned a spot on the Peace Corps’ annual list of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities. The school moved up five spots to No. 20 with 36 graduates currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers.

Since the agency was created in 1961, 1,603 IU graduates have made a difference as Peace Corps volunteers.

“The Peace Corps provides an indispensable opportunity for young people out of college to put their unique skills to work making a difference for communities around the world,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Volunteers make lasting change by living and working at the grassroots level in their communities of service and using their talents to tackle some of the most critical challenges in international development.”

IU Bloomington alumna Vanessa Mendoza of Hobart, Ind., serves as a youth development volunteer in Botswana. She graduated from IU Bloomington in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology.

“My degree in anthropology helped me see the bigger picture in terms of poverty and human right violations in the world,” said Mendoza, who arrived in Botswana in August 2014. “This inspired me to dedicate my life to service. I thought the Peace Corps was the perfect first step.”

For returning Peace Corps volunteers, IU Bloomington offers both Peace Corps Master’s International and Paul D. Coverdell Fellows graduate programs. The Coverdell Fellows Program offers Peace Corps volunteers who have completed their service the opportunity to earn an advanced degree from IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, with financial assistance and the chance to use their knowledge and skills in community internships. The Peace Corps Master’s International graduate programs, offered by SPEA and the School of Education, allow students to combine Peace Corps service with graduate studies for credit.

“SPEA hosts a great community of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers,” said Robert Kravchuk, professor and director of the Master of Public Affairs Program at the school. “We value the perspective these students bring to our classrooms and student community. This ranking is a reflection of the high quality academic and student experience that SPEA provides, and we look forward to continuing that tradition through our collaborations with the Peace Corps.”

Peace Corps recruiter Angela Hamilton advises IU candidates and can be reached at Students interested in learning more about living and working as a volunteer may attend the following at IU Bloomington next week:

  • Office hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, Career Development Center, 625 N. Jordan Ave.
  • Information session: 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, Career Development Center, 625 N. Jordan Ave.
  • Info table: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, at the School of Public Health Career Fair, School of Public Health Room 163.

Nationally, the University of Washington in Seattle pulled in the highest number of volunteers with 72 graduates currently serving in the Peace Corps. The top 25 rankings for each school size category are available online.

This year’s rankings follow historic reforms to Peace Corps’ application and selection process, led by Hessler-Radelet, that resulted in a 22-year application high for the agency in 2014. Through a one-hour online application, applicants can now choose the countries and programs they’d like to be considered for. Graduating college students are encouraged to browse open programs and apply by April 1 for assignments departing fall 2015.

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. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. 

Related Links

Rebecca Ciciretti, shown preparing food as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador, returned to study at IU as a Paul D. Coverdell Fellow

Rebecca Ciciretti, shown preparing food as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador, returned to study at IU as a Paul D. Coverdell Fellow.

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Media Contacts

Jim Hanchett

  • School of Public and Environmental Affairs
  • Office 812-856-5490

Heather Mangan

Public affairs specialist -- media

  • Peace Corps, Midwest Regional Office
  • Office 312-353-1126