Peace Corps recognizes involvement

Puget Sound has once again found its way onto the top 10 list of small colleges and universities that generate volunteers for the Peace Corps, revealed a Puget Sound press release.

According to the Peace Corps’ “Top Colleges 2011” list, this year Puget Sound ranked number eight in its category with a total of 21 undergraduate alumni currently volunteering. The Peace Corps classifies a small college and university as having less than 5,000 undergraduate students.

According to the Puget Sound press release, the Loggers have ranked in the top 10 Peace Corps volunteer-producing small colleges every year since 2001, when the Peace Corps began releasing their annual rankings.

In addition, a total of 257 Puget Sound alumni have participated in the Peace Corps since its creation.

So what is it that makes the Peace Corp so appealing to Puget Sound students? Former Peace Corps volunteer and Puget Sound alum Erin Carlson said that here at Puget Sound, students and faculty are more globally minded and that the campus is supportive of the Peace Corps.

Karen Barbee, a Puget Sound senior and a Peace Corps applicant added that Puget Sound students “are predisposed to get out and explore” based on the high study abroad rates and the fact that roughly 80 percent of Puget Sound students are from outside of Washington State. Barbee—who hopes to be a part of the health extension sector of the Peace Corps—added that the liberal arts bring bigger ideas that the Peace Corps fosters, such as the desire to explore and exchange both ideas and cultural understandings.

Both Barbee and Carlson agreed about the benefits of the Peace Corps.

“Right out of college there are so many different ways to apply skills in a direct way. Every field has a place,” Barbee said.

Similarly, Carlson stated that the Peace Corps is a “great way to get two years of professional and international experience.”

Barbee originally planned to attend medical school, but plans to use her time in the Peace Corps to explore the areas of public health and health administration and decide if medicine is right for her.

Freshman Emily Rychlick—who is considering joining the Peace Corps after she graduates—agreed: “When you get out school and you have a degree, going into the Peace Corps will help you find direction as to how you will apply your degree to your career and life.”