Hobart and William Smith Colleges rank fourth among small schools on the Peace Corps’ newly published 2017 list of Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities. Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, 219 alums from HWS have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers, including 12 alums currently volunteering.
“This honor underscores Hobart and William Smith’s historical commitment to global citizenship,” says President Mark D. Gearan, who served as director of the Peace Corps from 1995 to 1999. “We are proud to have so many graduates whose civic engagement is having profound impacts in communities across the world.”
This spring, four more HWS students have been selected to join the Peace Corps:
- Graham Leggat ’17, a physics major with a minor in French and Francophone studies, will use both of his areas of study when he journeys to French-speaking Guinea, where he will teach science to secondary school students in a rural part of the country.
- Lucie Mendelson ’17, a double major in sociology and educational studies with a concentration in global education, will be assigned with the Peace Corps in Mozambique where she will teach high school English through an initiative called Let Girls Learn, which helps young women attain a quality education.
- Emily Spraggs ’17, an individualized major in global health and development, has been accepted to a placement in Botswana where she will work to develop programs for HIV/AIDS prevention. She will work with school counselors who are attempting to reduce the rate of infection among young people.
- Christian Thiim ’17, an environmental studies and political science double major, will take his background in sustainability with him to the Peace Corps in Panama, where he will serve as a sustainable agriculture systems extension agent.
On the Peace Corps’ 2017 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities, Hobart and William Smith are listed in the Small Colleges & Universities category of schools with less than 5,000 undergraduates.
“Peace Corps service is an unparalleled leadership opportunity that enables college and university alumni to use the creative-thinking skills they developed in school to make an impact in communities around the world,” says Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley. “Many college graduates view the Peace Corps as a launching pad for their careers because volunteers return home with the cultural competency and entrepreneurial spirit sought after in most fields.”
Emily Surprenant ’15, who currently teaches English to students at primary and secondary schools in Kosovo, believes HWS’ commitment to interdisciplinary learning, civic engagement and global citizenship provided her the personal and professional foundation for success as a Peace Corps volunteer.
“HWS shaped my voice as an advocate for my students and global community profoundly, and I am forever grateful for the relationships I developed during my time in Geneva,” she says.
Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps, more than 225,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide.