W&M named a top producer of Peace Corps volunteers

  • In NicaraguaEmily Gousen ('08) is currently serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua. Of the 18 people who were in her group of volunteers, three were W&M graduates. Gousen works with three elementary schools to educate the children about the importance of the environment while also teaching the teachers how to use participatory techniques to better engage the students in the classroom. She also works with community organizations and the local government to begin, coordinate and assist projects in the community that will help improve the state of the environment.

    Photo courtesy of Emily Gousen

    In Nicaragua
  • In the Kyrgyz Republic(Back, left) Jonathan Seiden ('08) is a Peace Corps volunteer in the Kyrgyz Republic, where he serves as a teacher. More of Seiden's photos and information about his volunteer experience can be found on his blog.

    Photo courtesy of Jonathan Seiden

    In the Kyrgyz Republic
  • In the Republic of Azerbaijan(Far left) Evan Cook ('07) is serving as a volunteer in the town on Dashkesan in the Republic of Azerbaijan. He teaches English to children between the ages of 9 and 17 and organizes English conversation clubs for students and community members. He is also in process of creating some computer classes for community members. He is pictured with some of his fellow Peace Corps volunteers as they visit Qobustan, where there are rock cavings dating back to the Stone Age.

    Photo courtesy of Evan Cook

    In the Republic of Azerbaijan
The College of William and Mary is still one of the top producers of Peace Corps volunteers in the nation, the organization announced recently.

The College was ranked the 5th-highest producer of Peace Corps volunteers among medium-sized colleges and universities, which have between 5,001 and 15,000 undergraduates. Since the creation of the Peace Corps in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, 525 William and Mary alumni have served. Currently, 46 William and Mary undergraduate alumni and two graduate alumni are serving with the Corps.

"William & Mary continues to produce graduates with a passion for improving the world," said William & Mary President Taylor Reveley. "We're very proud so many of our students serve in the Peace Corps."

It's the second year in a row that William & Mary ranked fifth among medium-sized schools. When taking into account the number of Peace Corps volunteers per number of undergraduate students, the College ranks even higher. William & Mary boasts about one Peace Corps volunteer per every 126 students in its undergraduate body - second among medium-sized schools.

William and Mary students have the opportunity to participate in various service organizations, projects and trips that impact the local, regional and international communities. A survey showed that William & Mary students contribute 323,000 hours of community service each year. In addition, 75 percent of undergraduates and 50 percent of graduate students report they volunteered during their time at the College.

"Those experiences at William & Mary often lead many students to continue serving their communities and the world long after graduation, often joining organizations like the Peace Corps or even starting their own," said Provost P. Geoffrey Feiss.

Along with William and Mary, other schools that made the top 25 producers among medium-sized schools listing include Yale University tied at 21st, Georgetown University at ninth and George Washington University in first. In the large colleges and universities category (more than 15,000 undergraduates), the University of Washington tops the list with the University of Virginia at 11th, James Madison University tied at 21st and Virginia Tech at 24th. In the small category (less than 5,000 undergraduates), the University of Chicago took the top spot, and the University of Mary Washington is 6th.  Among graduate schools, Boston University has the most alumni volunteers.

Currently, 7,876 Peace Corps volunteers are serving in 76 countries. Though it is not a requirement, most volunteers have been college graduates, and 11 percent have held a graduate-level degree.

"The Peace Corps provides a unique opportunity for graduates to use their education and skills, and apply them in the real world," said Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter in a press release. "I am proud to know that over 3,000 institutions of higher learning are currently represented by Peace Corps Volunteers serving in 76 countries overseas. These institutions can be proud of the contributions that their graduates are making in improving the lives of others around the globe."