Penn State among top producers of Peace Corps volunteers

Penn State chemical engineering alumna Sarah Torhan during her Peace Corps service in Paraguay, South America. Credit: Courtesy Sarah TorhanAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State has for the seventh year been recognized among the nation's top producers of Peace Corps volunteers. With 54 undergraduate alumni serving overseas and working in fields such as agriculture, education, environment, health, community economic development and youth development, the University is No. 13 on the Peace Corps' 2018 rankings of colleges and universities in the large school category.

"As the current campus recruiter at Penn State I am amazed by the quality of students that come out of this university and enter into Peace Corps,” said Richard Garcia, Penn State Peace Corps campus recruiter. “Students have demonstrated a passion for service from working on activities like THON, and volunteering in the campus and surrounding communities. That passion and commitment to serve is evident in the projects they do, serving in developing communities around the world."

Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, 1,111 alumni from Penn State have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers.

Peace Corps volunteers currently are serving in 60 countries throughout Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands and South America. Volunteers serve for 27 months with skills in agriculture, environment, business, health, development, education, and information technology. Complete 2018 rankings of the top 25 schools in each category are available here, as well as an interactive map that shows where alumni from each college and university currently are serving.

In 2016, Penn State and the Peace Corps finalized a new partnership that helps returning Peace Corps volunteers pursue their graduate education in the School of International Affairs, Smeal College of Business, or the College of Agricultural Sciences. Peace Corps volunteers are eligible for significant financial aid in each of the three programs as part of the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, which has helped more than 5,000 returned volunteers further their education at schools across the nation.

U.S. President John F. Kennedy launched the Peace Corps in 1961 to spearhead progress in developing countries and promote friendship between the American people and other men, women and children throughout the world.

The Peace Corps offers volunteers a chance to serve developing communities worldwide while improving personal and professional skills. Information sessions for potential volunteers are held throughout the year. The minimum age for Peace Corps service is 18 and volunteers must be U.S. citizens. For more information, visit

Last Updated March 01, 2018