Sachiko Graber ’12 (left) with her teachers on day of cultural celebration.
For the third year in a row, Grinnell College has earned a spot on Peace Corps’ annual list of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities. Moving up 11 places, Grinnell ranks No. 10 among small schools nationwide with 11 alumni currently serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers.
Since the agency was created in 1961, 374 Grinnell graduates have made a difference as Peace Corps volunteers.
“The Peace Corps provides an indispensable opportunity for young people out of college to put their unique skills to work making a difference for communities around the world,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Volunteers make lasting change by living and working at the grassroots level in their communities of service and using their talents to tackle some of the most critical challenges in international development.”
Sachiko Graber ’12 makes a difference as an education volunteer in Namibia. She teaches eighth grade math and leads several sports programs, including soccer, rugby, and track and field. Arriving in Namibia in July 2012, Graber chose to extend her service a third year to teach English and develop a science laboratory.
Graber graduated from Grinnell in May 2012 with a degree in physics.
“Grinnell gave me was a self-sufficiency and self-motivation that has helped me immensely in Peace Corps,” she said. “At Grinnell, I always filled my schedule with every possible activity — organized or not — and I have been lucky enough to bring that same mentality to the village. I have found or created a lot of new projects, such as starting a science laboratory project, and I think that I was able to do this in part because of the confidence and willingness to branch out into many different disciplines that I acquired at Grinnell.”
Nationally, the University of Washington in Seattle pulled in the highest number of volunteers with 72 graduates currently serving in the Peace Corps. You can view the entire top 25 rankings for each school size category.
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 work on sustainable development projects in agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health, and youth development.
Volunteers return home as global citizens with cross-cultural, leadership, language, teaching, and community development skills that position them well for advanced education and professional opportunities in a 21st-century job market.
This year’s rankings follow historic reforms to Peace Corps’ application and selection process, led by Hessler-Radelet, that resulted in a 22-year application high for the agency in 2014. Through a one-hour online application, applicants can now choose the countries and programs they’d like to be considered for. Graduating college students are encouraged to browse open programs and apply by April 1 for assignments departing fall 2015.
Iowa-based Peace Corps recruiter Ryan Cairns, a returned volunteer who served in Bulgaria, advises Grinnell candidates.
Approximately 68 Iowa residents are currently serving in the Peace Corps. Overall, 2,316 Iowa residents have served since the agency was created in 1961.
About the Peace Corps
The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment, and youth development.
Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide.
For more information, visit Peace Corps' website and follow Peace Corp on Facebook and Peace Corp on Twitter.