Published: Jan. 25, 2012

MSU moves up in Peace Corpsí rankings

Contact(s): Kristen Parker Media Communications office: (517) 353-8942 cell: (517) 980-0709, Stephanie Motschenbacher Advancement office: (517) 884-1129 cell: (517) 648-9945

EAST LANSING, Mich. — For the 12th year in a row, Michigan State University has placed on the Peace Corps' top 25 list of large universities nationwide producing Peace Corps volunteers.

MSU takes the No. 7 spot, up from last year's No. 9, in this year's rankings, with 90 alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers. Since Peace Corps was founded in 1961, 2,268 MSU alumni have served in Peace Corps, making it the No. 6 all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers.

MSU has made the Peace Corps' Top Colleges list since the ranking system began in 2001.

"I'm much more skeptical of generalizations and conventional wisdom than I was before joining the Peace Corps," said MSU alumnus Jacob Baker, who's been serving in Mexico as an environmental volunteer since 2009. "After spending almost three years here, I've come to appreciate how biased and inaccurate the image of a place can be, and I hope that in the future I'll withhold judgment about a place until I am able to experience it for myself."

Baker, who's from Indian River, has been monitoring bark beetle populations and has participated in reforestations, soil conservation projects and hurricane relief efforts in Mexico.

"MSU really emphasizes its study abroad programs," he said. "I did two summer study abroad programs in China while I was at MSU, which really turned me on to the idea of living and working internationally."

Peace Corps volunteers work in the areas of education and English teaching; agriculture, forestry and environment; public health and HIV/AIDS; youth and community development; math, science, and engineering; and business, planning and internet technology.

"As Peace Corps volunteers, alumni apply the skills and knowledge they acquired during their studies to promote world peace and friendship and improve the lives of people around the world," said Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams. "I would like to extend my gratitude to all colleges and universities for their continued support of the Peace Corps and public service."

MSU offers Peace Corps master's degree programs in the areas of agriculture economics; crop and soil sciences; and community, agriculture, recreation and resource study. The programs allow students to combine Peace Corps service with graduate studies for credit.

Two MSU graduate student Peace Corps recruiters are based on campus to provide information about Peace Corps: Elizabeth Hunt, who served in Niger, and Shelley White, who served in Senegal. They can be reached at (517) 432-7474 and

Anyone interested in learning more can join the Facebook page. And there will be public information sessions this semester:

• Feb. 15 at 4 p.m., International Center 303
• March 13 at 4 p.m., International Center 303
• April 17 at 6 p.m., International Center 303
• May 23 at 4 p.m., Wells Hall C-103

There are approximately 336 Michigan residents serving in the Peace Corps, making it one of the highest Peace Corps-producing states. Overall, 6,713 Michigan residents have served in Peace Corps since 1961, when it was created under President John F. Kennedy.


Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.


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