For the fourth year in a row, Ohio State ranks in the top 10 on the Peace Corps’ list of the top volunteer-producing large universities. Currently, 42 Ohio State graduates are making a difference around the world as volunteers, putting the university at No. 10 on the agency’s 2016 list.
Since the agency was created in 1961, 1,759 alums have served overseas, making Ohio State the 10th all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers.
“The Peace Corps is a unique opportunity for college graduates to put their education into practice and become agents of change in communities around the world,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Today’s graduates understand the importance of intercultural understanding and are raising their hands in record numbers to take on the challenge of international service.”
‘I knew it would be a good fit for me’
One Ohio State alum making a difference as a Peace Corps volunteer is Dara Doss, who has been serving in Ethiopia as an education volunteer since June 2015. Doss, of Aurora, Ohio, teaches English to high school students and has helped create a resource room and permagarden on her school’s campus.
Joining the Peace Corps was something Doss thought about throughout her undergraduate career. After completing her service, she hopes to pursue a career in the Foreign Service.
“When I initially heard about the Peace Corps as a senior at Ohio State, I knew it would be a good fit for me. The Ohio State University seeks to prepare students to be well rounded regardless of their field of study,” said the June 2011 graduate. “As I explored different avenues of study, I took a comparative politics class that helped cement what I really wanted to study and eventually what I wanted as a career.”
Three other Ohio schools also received recognition on the Peace Corps’ volunteer list. Among small schools, Denison University and Oberlin College tied at No. 14 with nine graduates serving worldwide, and the College of Wooster ranks No. 23, with eight alumni volunteers serving worldwide.
Nationally, the University of Washington in Seattle pulled in the highest number of volunteers with 72 graduates currently serving in the Peace Corps. You can view the entire top 25 rankings for each school size category here.
40-year high in applications
This year’s rankings follow a 40-year high in applications for the Peace Corps in 2015. This record-breaking number comes after the first full year that the agency implemented historic reforms allowing applicants to choose the countries and assignments they’d like to be considered for. Graduating college students are encouraged to browse open programs and apply by April 1 for assignments departing fall 2016.
The Peace Corps works with Ohio State to host an on-campus recruiter who educates students about the application process and shares her personal experience as a returned volunteer to the campus community. Gail Messick, an Ohio State alumna who served in the East Caribbean and Swaziland, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone interested in learning more can join the Facebook page at facebook.com/OSUPeaceCorps, drop in during office hours or attend an event this semester.
Currently, 238 Ohio residents are serving in the Peace Corps. Overall, 7,257 Ohio residents have served as volunteers since the agency was created in 1961.—Peace Corps Midwest Regional Office