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NMU Makes Peace Corps Volunteer Rankings

This is Peace Corps Week (Feb. 23-March 1) and NMU has made its debut appearance on the agency’s annual list of the top 25 volunteer-producing midsized colleges and universities nationwide. With 17 alumni serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers, Northern ranks No. 22, jumping 25 spots from its position last year.

Over the agency’s history, 195 NMU graduates have made a difference as volunteers, according to a Peace Corps press release.

“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 service,” said Peace Corps acting director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “The unique Peace Corps experience helps recent graduates cultivate highly sought-after skills that will launch their careers in today’s global economy.”

Married NMU alums Carly Hampton and Evan Killeen have been serving as youth development volunteers in Morocco since March 2012. Hampton (pictured) earned her sociology degree in 2006. She has facilitated a life skills program, created a chess and environment club and taught art and English at a local youth center. Killeen graduated with a degree in philosophy and psychology the same year.

“When I left home for NMU, I didn’t know which direction I was going to take in my life,” said Hampton in the press release. “After about a year at Northern, I realized I had a great passion for helping people. The social work courses I took opened my eyes to the many different ways I could do so.”

Among midsized schools such as Northern, with enrollment between 5,000 and 15,000 undergrads, Western Washington University ranked No. 1 with 65 alumni serving. The entire top 25 rankings for each school size category can be viewed here.

Service in the Peace Corps is a life-defining, hands-on leadership experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel to the farthest corners of the world and work on sustainable development projects related to agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health, and youth development. Volunteers receive paid living expenses and full health and dental coverage while overseas. Upon completing their 27-month service, they are eligible for graduate school programs and federal hiring benefits.

Graduating college students are encouraged to apply by March 1 for remaining assignment openings for 2014, and the chance to be considered for programs in early 2015. Peace Corps recruiter Brett Heimann, a returned volunteer who served in Togo, advises and interviews NMU candidates and can be reached at bheimann@peacecorps.gov.

About 271 Michigan residents are currently serving in the Peace Corps, ranking it the ninth state nationwide in producing volunteers.