Story posted February 12, 2010
Bowdoin is nationally ranked on the 2010 Peace Corps top 25 list of small schools producing Peace Corps volunteers. With 14 alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers, Bowdoin is No. 22 in the 2010 rankings. Since the Peace Corps was founded in 1961, 248 Bowdoin alumni have joined its ranks.
Bowdoin alumni are currently serving in Dominican Republic, Gambia, Guatemala, Jordan, Malawi, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Peru, Republic of the Philippines, Senegal, Tanzania, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.
Areas of service range from agricultural and environmental projects, to youth programs, business development, and health and HIV/AIDS awareness initiatives.
"For nearly 50 years, enthusiastic college alumni have contributed to the success of Peace Corps programs and our mission to promote world peace and friendship in host communities around the world," said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams.
Peace Corps volunteer Alison Driver '08 is on the Dominican side of the border with Haiti in the town of Jimani, the major border crossing for people leaving Port-au-Prince for the Dominican Republic.
Driver coordinated purchases and transportation for USAID (US Agency for International Development) in the capital and has been registering volunteers, translating, organizing supplies, and providing logistical support to a hospital with about 300 patients. Read about Bowdoin for Haiti.
Other current Peace Corps volunteers from Bowdoin include:
Oliver Cunningham '08
Ian Haight '08
Kaitlin Hammersley '08
Torin Peterson '07
Deborah Theodore '08
Anita Walsh '09
Helen Pu '10 has applied and been approved for a Peace Corps volunteer position; Hasan Elsadig '10 is in the application process.
"Peace Corps service is a life changing leadership opportunity and a great career foundation in almost every field, ranging from international development, education, public health, engineering, agriculture, and law, to name a few. I am proud of our historic relationship with over 3,000 colleges and universities in the United States and look forward to recruiting and training the next generation of Peace Corps volunteers."
The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing schools annually according to the size of the student body. Small schools have less than 5,000 undergraduates, medium-sized schools have between 5,000 and 15,000 undergraduates and large schools have more than 15,000 undergraduates.
The rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2009 data as of September 30, 2009 as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.
Currently, there are 7,671 Peace Corps volunteers serving in 76 host countries around the world.
A college degree is not mandatory for service. Relevant experience in areas such as education, health, business, IT, environment and agriculture, however, is required.
In 2009, Peace Corps received more than 15,000 applications, an 18 percent increase over 2008. This is the largest number of applications since the agency began electronically recording them in 1998.
Peace Corps volunteer Kelly Devine '06 spent more than two years working in Niger, West Africa, ostensibly to help rehabilitate malnourished children and serve the community as a health and sanitation educator, but found herself wearing myriad hats, including those of social worker, public health lobbyist, women's rights activist and natural disaster/crisis intervention worker.
"I have literally got my hands dirty in building latrines, counseled women on their childrens' deaths, been an advocate for women's birth control options in a Muslim community and organized an international food donation during the 'famine season,'" said Devine.
"My experience in Peace Corps has sculpted my ideals and altered my view on the world that will continue to influence the rest of my life."