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UA ranked No. 15 in producing Peace Corps volunteers

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The map for this year's Peace Corps Fair. Current Fellows contributed pictures from their host countries to make the map as a part of the theme "Make the World Your Home."

The University of Arizona recently ranked No. 15 among large colleges and universities on the Peace Corps' list of top volunteer-producing schools in 2019, marking the fifth year the UA has ranked among the top 20 schools having more than 15,000 undergraduates. The UA moved up five spots from No. 20 in 2018 to its current position. The Peace Corps has always carried a strong UA presence, with more than 1,600 Wildcats serving abroad as volunteers since the founding in 1961.

“As a longtime top volunteer producing school and a participant in the Coverdell Fellows graduate fellowship program, UA has a strong Peace Corps community on campus,” Peace Corps Public Affairs Specialist Kathryn Fidler said. “In addition, the campus has a vibrant service community and many opportunities for students interested in pursuing the Peace Corps after graduation to gain experience that will make them competitive applicants. The UA also participates in the Peace Corps Prep program, which prepares undergraduates for international service after graduation through coursework, mentoring and service activities.”

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The Peace Corps’ Coverdell Fellows Program provides financial assistance and support to students while they are pursuing advanced degrees. Fellows provide service to benefit domestic communities lacking support as well as take part in outreach and professional development. The program offers 43 masters and doctoral programs, with 11 colleges participating.

The Peace Corps was officially formed by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, with more than 235,000 Americans serving across 141 countries. Fidler spoke about the Corps and their mission to people who may not know fully what they do.

“Peace Corps is a 27-month international service program that sends Americans abroad to immerse themselves in communities, taking part in all aspects of daily life and working alongside local professionals in the fields of education, health, agriculture, community economic development, youth development and the environment,” Fidler said. “The Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals: to help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women, to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served and to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.”

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Members of the program receive their tuition billed at the rate of an in-state resident, while also receiving a stipend of $8,400 per year, renewable for a second year. A 10 percent discount at the bookstore and student health insurance are also included. 

The lasting relationships built within the communities are some of the best parts of the experience according to Fidler.

“Peace Corps volunteers become immersed in the communities that they serve, living with local families, learning local languages and forming friendships that last a lifetime,” Fidler said. “The trusting relationships that form between Peace Corps volunteers and their communities are vital for creating successful projects and are one of the most fulfilling aspects of service.”

Those interested in joining the Peace Corps are welcome to look into the numerous events on campus throughout the year, and office hours with campus recruiter Annalise Gardella are available by appointment via her email pcorps@cals.arizona.edu.


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