February 16, 2006
Vol. 25 No. 10

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    University a leader in Peace Corps volunteer work abroad

    By Julia Morse
    News Office

    Noah McKittrick (A.B.,’04) teaches a physical science course to a class of freshman high school students at St. Anthony-Henry Community Day Secondary School in Malawi, Africa.

    The Peace Corps announced its annual list of top volunteer-producing schools and the University is among them, coming in at No. 2.

    Categorized by size, the University is ranked second (as is Wesleyan University) among schools with 5,000 undergraduates or less. Dartmouth College, in the No.1 spot, had 10 more volunteers than Chicago’s 27, a number that pleases Peace Corps officials.

    “We always look forward to the University of Chicago’s volunteers,” said Scot Roskelley, a Peace Corps spokesman for the Chicago area. “This school is really one of our greatest joys.”

    Roskelley said Chicago students are the ideal candidates to become volunteers for the Peace Corps. “These are very serious students who have a clear direction and know what they want to do and where they want to go in their lives,” he said. “They get the concept of growing personally and professionally. Not every school produces people who really get it.”

    The 27-month Peace Corps volunteer experience can give graduates opportunities for more accomplishments than other jobs right out of college might provide, Roskelley said. “There is a lot compacted into those 27 months,” he added, noting the chance to build resumes. “University of Chicago students really understand the advantages of serving in the Peace Corps and the benefit of working internationally.”

    Meredith Daw, Associate Director of Recruiting in Career Advising and Planning Services, said she is not surprised the University ranked so highly in Peace Corps recruits.

    “We have had a long-standing, great relationship with the Peace Corps,” Daw said. “The Peace Corps representatives see Chicago students as a great fit because of the strong academic experiences, commitment to public service, experiences in foreign languages and interest in international relations.”

    Peace Corps volunteers work with governments, schools and entrepreneurs on such issues as education, agriculture, the environment, and HIV and AIDS as well as other health issues.

    Volunteers are sent all over the globe, serving in such places as Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean.

    Today there are 7,810 volunteers and trainees involved with the Peace Corps, and 96 percent have at least an undergraduate degree.

    Since the Peace Corps was established in 1961, more than 182,000 volunteers have served in 138 countries.

    More information about the Peace Corps can be found at http://www.peacecorps.gov and at the University’s Office of Career Advising and Planning Services.