Allegheny College Is Among Top 10 Small Colleges in Producing Peace Corps Volunteers

Alexia Kime - Smiling with little girl

Feb. 11, 2014 — The Peace Corps today released the 2014 rankings of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities across the country. This year, Allegheny College ranked No. 8 among small schools, with 14 alumni currently volunteering worldwide. The No. 8 position marks a significant increase in rank from 2013, when Allegheny held the No. 23 spot.

Also included in the top 10 are Carleton, Macalester, Dickinson, Kenyon and Bucknell.

Allegheny alumni currently serving in the Peace Corps are working in Cambodia, Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Peru, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Ukraine and Zambia. They work in sectors including agriculture, education, English, health and youth development. Since the first days of the Peace Corps, 195 Allegheny alumni have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers.

“Allegheny College has great resources to help students prepare for life after college,” said alumna Alexia Kime, who is serving in Senegal. “As a Peace Corps volunteer, I have a level of influence on a host community that no other person can have. I live, eat, talk, cry and laugh with my host family and friends, crossing cultural boundaries every day.”

Allegheny alumna Gilliane McShane is serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia. “I can see that my academic experience gives me an advantage in how I conduct myself as a volunteer,” McShane said. “People learn more by doing, so it was critical to me to actually work directly with people in a development context to better understand the challenges faced by a community and the organizations working with them.”

McShane, a Pittsburgh resident, is one of 284 Keystone State residents currently serving overseas. In 2013 Pennsylvania was the No. 8 Peace Corps volunteer-producing state in the nation.

Jim Fitch, associate director of career education at Allegheny College, has served for the past nine years as the college’s lead liaison with the Peace Corps. “Peace Corps service awakens our alumni to new worlds and ways of being in the world, leading to amazing careers,” Fitch said. “Another Allegheny alumna, Sylvia Kauffman, just completed her Peace Corps service in Peru and within the past week wrote to say that she has been offered acceptance to four medical schools.”

Fitch is currently working to facilitate a visit to campus by a regional Peace Corps recruiter, who will visit classes, engage with students and faculty and facilitate a panel discussion with students who have been nominated for Peace Corps service and returned Peace Corps volunteers. An Allegheny alumna who is currently serving abroad will join the discussion via Skype.

“The same passion that launched the Peace Corps more than 50 years ago fuels progress in developing countries today thanks to the leadership and creativity that college graduates bring to their Peace Corps service,” Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “The unique Peace Corps experience helps recent graduates cultivate highly sought-after skills that will launch their careers in today’s global economy.”

Service in the Peace Corps is a life-defining, hands-on leadership experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel to the farthest corners of the world and make a lasting difference in the lives of others. Peace Corps volunteers live and work at the community level and promote a better understanding between Americans and the people they serve, while at the same time becoming global citizens.

When they return home, volunteers bring knowledge and experiences that give them a competitive edge for 21st century jobs and advanced educational opportunities. They give back to their own communities and enrich the lives of those around them, helping to strengthen international ties and increase our country’s global competitiveness.

The Peace Corps has eight regional recruitment offices across the United States that work closely with prospective volunteers to ensure that all Americans who want to serve have the opportunity to do so. The Northeast regional recruitment office serves Allegheny College, and Peace Corps recruiters are based throughout the region.

Photo: Peace Corps volunteer Alexia Kime, Allegheny College Class of 2011, makes friends while serving in the Peace Corps in Senegal.