AU was ranked as having one of the highest numbers of Peace Corps volunteers in the nation this year, compared to other universities.
Last year, 55 AU students served in the Peace Corps, ranking it fourth with Cornell University on the list of medium-sized universities with the most Peace Corps volunteers. AU was also ranked fifth for the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers from graduate school.
AU ranked No. 2 in its division in 2009 with 51 students in the program.
Blair Ufer, the Career Center’s employer services coordinator, said AU has a high percent of students who volunteer compared to other universities.
“We’re extremely pleased with the number of volunteers relative to our undergraduate population,” she said.
AU has significantly smaller undergraduate population than George Washington University — which ranked first on the medium-sized universities list — and other D.C.-area universities, but has a large number of volunteers.
Since the Peace Corps’ inception, 819 AU alumni have served in the Peace Corps, Ufer said.
Stephen Chapman, public affairs specialist for the Peace Corps’ Mid-Atlantic Regional Office, said AU’s high number of volunteers is due to the school’s focus on international affairs.
“AU students have a strong interest in both service and international affairs, so the Peace Corps is a perfect way to launch a career,” Chapman said. “Volunteers return to the United States as global citizens, with leadership, language, teaching and community development skills that position them well for educational and professional opportunities.”
There are many benefits to joining the Peace Corps, including free housing, medical insurance, graduate study benefits and a readjustment allowance upon return to the U.S., according to Chapman.
Some of the countries where current AU alumni are serving include Zambia, Jordan, Ecuador, Honduras, Cambodia, Togo, South Africa, Bulgaria, Rwanda and Madagascar, Chapman said.
In 2009 and 2010, 51 AU students volunteered each year. This number has been steadily rising since 2006, when 34 AU students joined the Peace Corps.