CU Denver moved up two spots this year in the rankings — from 20 to 18 — for the number of graduate school volunteers signing on with the Peace Corps.

Currently there are 11 CU Denver graduate students serving overseas with the Peace Corps. The University of Florida holds the top spot in the graduate school category this year with 30 currently-serving volunteers holding master’s degrees from the school. In the large school undergraduate category, the University of Colorado Boulder, ranked at the top with 112 undergraduate alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers overseas.

“Over the past few years we’ve seen a steady increase across the state from people showing more interest in Peace Corps service,” said Mike McKay, Southwest Regional Peace Corps manager. “This year, several Colorado colleges and universities ranked among the top schools. CU Denver’s rank is significant because there were over 500 graduate schools rated in this category.”

“Here in the CU Denver Experiential Learning Center, we work with students to determine how the Peace Corps fits with their academic and career goals,” said Director Tony R. Smith, CU Denver Experiential Learning Center.

“The Peace Corps wants volunteers who are committed to a challenging overseas experience. Therefore, the application process is rigorous to allow for reflection, and it is multi-faceted to ensure commitment,” Smith said. “We advise the student on how to plan for this process in connection with academic and experiential learning experiences.” The Peace Corps experience will more likely occur after the student graduates.

“Overall, Peace Corps is an amazing experience that broadens the perspective of each participant,” Smith said.

Since 1961 when the Peace Corps was created by President John F. Kennedy’s executive order, more than 200,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment, and the agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries.

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