Colorado State University graduates are among the most likely to become Peace Corps volunteers, with the school ranked eighth in the nation on the Peace Corps’ annual “Top Colleges” list for 2015. With 51 alumni currently serving around the world, CSU ranks in the top 10 among large universities — those with more than 15,000 undergraduates.
“Colorado State University is pleased to be number eight in the U.S.,” said Jim Cooney, vice provost for international affairs at CSU. “This is a terrific accomplishment, and it demonstrates again the strong commitment to the Peace Corps that CSU and Fort Collins have. We are especially pleased with these results since many of the competing universities are significantly larger than CSU.”
With an enrollment of nearly 22,000 undergraduate students, CSU is classified with universities like the University of California, Berkeley (27,126 undergraduates), University of Washington (39,311 undergraduates), and Ohio State University (51,215 undergraduates).
For the first time, CSU also ranks as a top graduate school, tied at number 10 with nearly 10 graduate students currently volunteering worldwide. CSU has moved up in the undergraduate school rankings for three consecutive years, after being ranked 13th in 2011, 12th in 2012 and 11th in 2013. CSU also ranks among the top 20 volunteer-producing colleges and universities of all-time.
Peace Corps at CSU
CSU has a long history with the Peace Corps, dating back to 1961 when researchers Pauline Birky-Kreutzer and Maurice Albertson published one of the original feasibility studies that led to the creation of the organization dedicated to international development and cooperation by President John F. Kennedy.
“Colorado State University remains one of the top performers in the Southwest Region,” said Mike McKay, Peace Corps Southwest Regional Manager. “We’re excited that these highly skilled and motivated alumni choose to make a difference in the world with Peace Corps. We look forward to continuing our successful partnership with CSU’s Office of International Programs and our Master’s International program for many years to come.”
Adel Uhlarik, a master’s student in the College of Agriculture served in Senegal from 2012 to 2014 as a Sustainable Agriculture Extension Agent and received credit for her master’s program through the Peace Corps Masters International (PCMI) program at CSU.
“PCMI allowed me to integrate graduate course work with an anthropological approach to scientific fieldwork, which was instrumental in serving marginalized groups while observing the efficacy of subsistence agricultural methods in rural Senegal,” said Uhlarik.
“Before serving in Senegal, I thought I was selfless, but my idea of service remained in my own, safe, comfortable perimeters,” she added. “My village taught me how be genuinely generous, how to love a community, how to need a village, how to forgive and how to serve even when it hurts.”
Alumni from more than 3,000 colleges and universities nationwide have served in the Peace Corps since 1961, including more than 1,600 from CSU. The state of Colorado has a total of 236 volunteers currently serving in the Peace Corps, and the Fort Collins-Loveland area ranks sixth nationally in per-capita volunteers with 6.7 volunteers per 100,000 residents.
This year’s rankings follow historic reforms to Peace Corps’ application and selection process, which resulted in a 22-year application high for the agency in 2014. Applicants will now find a simplified, more personal application process.