Middlebury, Vt. – The Peace Corps has ranked Middlebury College No. 14 among small schools in its 2014 rankings of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities across the country.
Twelve Middlebury alumni currently volunteer worldwide in Botswana, China, Jordan, Kenya, Malawi, Paraguay, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, and Uganda. They work in a variety of areas including agriculture, education, environment, and health.
“The same passion that launched the Peace Corps more than 50 years ago fuels progress in developing countries today thanks to the leadership and creativity that college graduates bring to their Peace Corps service,” Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “The unique Peace Corps experience helps recent graduates cultivate highly sought-after skills that will launch their careers in today’s global economy.”
Since the first days of the Peace Corps, 481 Middlebury alumni have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers.
“I am working as a sustainable agriculture extension agent and speak the local language, Wolof,” said Rosalind Vara ‘10, a Middlebury alumna who is currently serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal. “I work with farmers to increase their field crop yields, improve soil fertility and reduce chemical inputs. Much of my experience revolves around simply being here and living with my family as they live: drinking tea under mango trees waiting for the heat to subside, lying outside at night with my host mother looking at the stars, and joking with the children.”
Middlebury alumna Margaret Bale ‘10 credits her two older brothers, both returned Peace Corps volunteers, for her motivation to serve. “I came to Botswana as a health volunteer, but my work has predominantly been in a primary school assisting with improving education for almost 200 children,” said Bale. “Remembering what I had learned from my interdisciplinary experiences at Middlebury, I have been able to turn this into one of the best learning experiences I’ve had in my life.”
Middlebury was one of two Vermont schools ranked as a Peace Corps 2014 Top College, with the University of Vermont claiming the national No. 5 spot among medium-sized schools.
In 2013, Vermont ranked No. 1 in the nation for the highest per capita number of Peace Corps volunteers, with 49 currently-serving Peace Corps volunteers calling the Green Mountain State home.
The Peace Corps ranks the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. The complete 2014 rankings of the top 25 schools in each undergraduate category are available online.
The Peace Corps: An international service organization, 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 that enriches 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. Visit www.peacecorps.gov to learn more.