SLU Repeats as No. 1 Among Peace Corps' Top Volunteering Schools | St. Lawrence University

SLU Repeats as No. 1 Among Peace Corps' Top Volunteering Schools

For the second straight year, St. Lawrence University ranks No. 1 among small colleges and universities on the Peace Corps’ list of top volunteer-producing colleges and universities.

This is the sixth consecutive year that St. Lawrence has ranked among the top-25 small schools (5,000 undergraduates or less) and the third year in a row that the University has been ranked in the top 5. Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, nearly 300 Laurentians have served abroad as volunteers. There are currently 19 St. Lawrence alumni volunteering in countries around the world.

“St. Lawrence students and alumni strive to make the world a better place for everyone, and one way they accomplish this is through devoting themselves to service opportunities like the Peace Corps,” said Jillian McKernan-Walley ’93, P’21, director of St. Lawrence University’s Career Services office. “The University’s consistent inclusion on the Peace Corps’ list of top schools illustrates how valuable service-learning experiences at St. Lawrence are for our students, and how they translate these experiences into positive actions that benefit the greater global community.” 

St. Lawrence graduates like Cheyenne Tardie ’18 are known for their adventurous spirit and seeking opportunities to discover, grow, and become informed global citizens and inspired agents of change. Tardie, of Northfield Falls, Vermont, graduated with her bachelor’s degree in psychology and art and art history and was involved with St. Lawrence’s Dance Team, as well as Graceful Movements. She is currently serving as an English education volunteer in Albania.

“St. Lawrence University provides its students with a feeling of connectedness and intimacy that cannot be found at larger schools,” Tardie said. “I was motivated not only by my professors, but my fellow classmates to be an active member of society. I believe it is next to impossible to leave without wanting change and/or making change in some capacity. I am both proud and lucky to bring that experience to the communities I work with now.”

Kelsey Murphy ’18 of Bedford, New Hampshire, is currently serving as an education volunteer in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. In addition to helping improve literacy as a Peace Corps volunteer, Murphy worked with fellow teachers to develop a new library at the school where she teaches in order to foster a culture reading. She also organized an education program with the Vincentian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, where students learned about showing compassion and empathy toward all animals.

When asked what is it about the experience at St. Lawrence that inspires so many alumni to serve in the Peace Corps, she said: “St. Lawrence is all about the people. A huge part of the culture at SLU is valuing service, valuing the greater community, giving what you can, and doing your part to be a world citizen. People care about other people, and people care about moving forward and leaving their mark. They say Peace Corps volunteers are the best America has to offer, and I really feel that way about St. Lawrence University as well.”

McKenzie Goodwin ’16 spent 27 months working on public health initiatives as a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana. For her, the Peace Corps commitment was a natural extension of her experience during St. Lawrence’s Kenya Summer Abroad Program.

“St. Lawrence gave me the tools to be able to confidently join the Peace Corps,” Goodwin said. “It provided me with so many different opportunities to explore and think critically in ways I had never done before. It taught me how to build collaborative relationships with diverse groups of people and how to be open and adapt to changing environments.”

The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, the environment, and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today's global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 240,000 Americans of all ages have served in 142 countries worldwide. The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body.

“These schools are institutions that emphasize being global citizens and service-minded students,” said Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. “I am excited to know the graduates coming from Peace Corps’ Top Colleges are using their skills to make a positive impact on their communities at home and abroad.”

For students looking for more information about post-graduate opportunities with the Peace Corps, contact St. Lawrence's Career Services office.