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Indiana University Bloomington among top producers of Peace Corps volunteers

  • March 1, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- For the fourth straight year, Indiana University Bloomington is one of the leaders in the Peace Corps' annual list of top volunteer-producing colleges and universities nationwide.

IU ranks 21st overall and eighth in the Big Ten in terms of alumni who are volunteering around the world through the Peace Corps.

This year, 37 IU graduates with a passion for service abroad are working on behalf of the United States in 20 nations around the globe, including Costa Rica and Guatemala in Central America; Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal and Zambia in Africa; Armenia and Macedonia in Europe; and the Philippines and Thailand in Asia.

“Peace Corps service is an unparalleled leadership opportunity that enables college and university alumni to use the creative-thinking skills they developed in school to make an impact in communities around the world,” said Sheila Crowley, acting Peace Corps director. “Many college graduates view Peace Corps as a launching pad for their careers because volunteers return home with the cultural competency and entrepreneurial spirit sought after in most fields.”

IU’s active support of the Peace Corps is consistent with goals set out in the university's Bicentennial Strategic Plan, to increase IU's international engagement and continue its historical commitment to institution-building around the globe.

“The Peace Corps requires a rigorous commitment to language learning and to cross-cultural understanding,” said David Zaret, IU vice president for international affairs. “For more than half a century, the Peace Corps has provided valued services to countries around the world, and for more than half a century it has returned to the United States some of our most globally competent citizens.” 

Since the Peace Corps was created in 1961, 1,675 IU alumni have served overseas with the agency.

Among them is Stephen Crimarco, a native of Kingston, Jamaica, who has returned to his birth country as a Peace Corps volunteer. He credits IU Bloomington with giving him the tools and skills to serve in the Peace Corps.

“Teaching at IU Bloomington as a graduate assistant helped me to work with different cultures, have patience and learn the importance of capacity building,” Crimarco said.

Serving as an environment volunteer, Crimarco teaches farmers about agricultural practices, improves the community’s environmental practices and educates farmers about more sustainable farming methods.

Recently, he worked with the United Farmers Group to clear land for vegetable plots. For Crimarco, the best part of service has been bonding with local farmers in Jamaica. He hopes to continue to work in sustainable agriculture after his Peace Corps service ends next year.

A simple and personal Peace Corps application process can be completed online in about one hour. Applicants can learn more about service opportunities by assignment area, country and departure date by visiting the Peace Corps website and connecting with a recruiter.

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 the opportunity for Peace Corps volunteers who have completed their service 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 IU School of Education, allow students to combine Peace Corps service with graduate studies for credit.

“The IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs is proud to be among the nation’s most active participants in the Peace Corps program,” said Beth Gazley, professor and director of the Master of Public Affairs Program at the school. “This program is vitally important for our country, and we are honored that our graduates represent us so well abroad. Returned Peace Corps volunteers also enrich our classrooms and communities, bringing a broader perspective that benefits everyone.”

IU Bloomington graduate Stephen Crimarco, left, works as an environment volunteer in Jamaica, where he plants vegetable plots, trees and teaches farmers about agricultural practices. He worked with the United Farmers Group to clear land for the 2017 vegetable plot.

IU Bloomington graduate Stephen Crimarco, left, works as an environment volunteer in Jamaica, where he plants vegetable plots, trees and teaches farmers about agricultural practices. He worked with the United Farmers Group to clear land for the 2017 vegetable plot.

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