Peace Corps volunteer Tricia Wilbur in Panama
For the 14th year in a row, the University of Notre Dame has earned a spot on Peace Corps’ annual list of the top volunteer-producing midsized colleges and universities across the country. With 18 alumni currently serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers, the University ranks No. 16, up two spots from last year. Since the agency was created in 1961, 874 Notre Dame graduates have served as Peace Corps volunteers.
“The same passion that launched the Peace Corps more than 50 years ago fuels progress in developing countries today, thanks to the leadership and creativity that college graduates bring to their Peace Corps service,” Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “The unique Peace Corps experience helps recent graduates cultivate highly sought-after skills that will launch their careers in today’s global economy.”
Notre Dame alumna Tricia Wilbur, of St. Louis, completed her two-year Peace Corps service in December. As an environmental health volunteer in Panama, she constructed composting latrines and trained her community’s water committee on health and sanitation issues. Wilbur, who earned her degree in civil engineering from Notre Dame in May 2010, also helped coordinate a youth leadership seminar that addressed issues such as self-esteem, self-image, HIV/AIDS prevention and teen pregnancy.
While in Panama, Wilbur collected data for her master’s thesis through the University of South Florida’s Master’s International program, which allows Peace Corps volunteers to earn graduate degrees while they complete their service. She is currently completing work on her degree in Tampa, Fla.
“While I always knew that I wanted to do international service after graduating from college, Notre Dame played a significant role in preparing me for Peace Corps through study abroad, cultural events on campus, service opportunities and technical engineering courses,” said Wilbur.
In 2010, Notre Dame introduced a Peace Corps Paul D. Coverdell Fellows graduate program in the area of nonprofit administration within the Mendoza College of Business. This unique graduate program offers Peace Corps volunteers who have completed their service the opportunity to attend Notre Dame to earn a master of nonprofit administration degree, with financial assistance and the chance to use their knowledge and skills in community internships as part of the program’s requirements.
Peace Corps recruiter Rok Teasley, a returned volunteer who served in Moldova, advises and interviews Notre Dame candidates and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will be on campus at the Center for Social Concerns, Geddes Hall Coffee House, at 5 p.m. Feb. 27 (Thursday) for a general information session.
Graduating college students are encouraged to apply by March 1 (Saturday) for remaining assignment openings for 2014, and the chance to be considered for programs in early 2015.
Approximately 120 Indiana residents are currently serving in the Peace Corps. Overall, 3,181 Indiana residents have served since the agency was created in 1961. Read about the work and experiences of currently serving Midwestern volunteers at midwestpcvs.wordpress.com.
As the preeminent international service organization of the United States, the Peace Corps sends Americans abroad to address the most pressing needs of people around the world. Peace Corps volunteers work at the grassroots level with local governments, schools, communities, small businesses and entrepreneurs to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. When they return home, volunteers bring their knowledge and experiences — and a global outlook — back to the United States, enriching the lives of those around them. Ninety percent of volunteer positions require a bachelor’s degree. Volunteers receive paid living expenses and full health and dental coverage while overseas, and upon completing their 27-month service they are eligible for graduate school programs and federal hiring benefits. President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961 to foster a better understanding among Americans and people of other countries. Since then, more than 215,000 Americans of all ages have served in 139 countries worldwide. Visit www.peacecorps.gov to learn more.