Bucknell ranks high on 2013 Peace Corps’ top colleges list

LEWISBURG – Bucknell University ranks No. 23 on the Peace Corps’ 2013 top colleges for small schools list, with 14 alumni serving overseas. Since the agency was founded in 1961, a total of 267 Bucknell alumni have served in the Peace Corps.

The annual list recognizes the highest volunteer-producing colleges and universities in the United States for small, medium, large and graduate institutions. The 2013 list marks Bucknell’s first appearance on the national rankings since 2009.

Bucknell alumni are serving as volunteers in Burkina Faso, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Liberia, Mozambique, Nepal, Panama, Paraguay, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Vanuatu. They work in areas including agriculture, education, environment, health and youth development.

“I am in my third year as a Peace Corps volunteer in Vanuatu,” said Nancy Miyake, a 2009 Bucknell graduate who is working to build a primary health care infrastructure in the Pacific Islands nation. “I started out working in a rural community in a northern island of the country, assisting in the management of a dispensary health facility, working on community water and sanitation projects, and teaching parents about reproductive health. I worked my way up to a position with Save the Children Australia, an NGO that runs programs nationally and across the South Pacific.”

The Peace Corps ranks top colleges annually according to the size of the student body. Small schools have fewer than 5,000 undergraduates, medium-sized schools have between 5,000 and 15,000 undergraduates and large schools have more than 15,000 undergraduates. Rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2012 data as of September 30 as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.

More than 8,000 volunteers are working with communities in 76 host countries on projects related to agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth development.

“Every year, graduates of colleges and universities across the United States are making a difference in communities overseas through Peace Corps service,” said Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “As a result of the top-notch education they receive, these graduates are well prepared for the challenge of international service. They become leaders in their host communities and carry the spirit of service and leadership back with them when they return home.”

Bucknell students interested in learning more should contact Peace Corps recruiter Kimberly Helm at khelm@peacecorps.gov.

Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 210,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 8,073 volunteers are working with local communities in 76 host countries.

Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment. The agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.