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SDSU Tops in CSU for Peace Corps Volunteers

36 Aztecs currently serve in the Peace Corps worldwide.
Education volunteer Jacob Knight teaches his students English through songs he wrote with fellow Peace Corps volunteers.
Education volunteer Jacob Knight teaches his students English through songs he wrote with fellow Peace Corps volunteers.

Thirty-six San Diego State University graduates currently serve in the Peace Corps, according to recently released data, overtaking San Francisco State University and Humboldt State University as the top producer of Peace Corps volunteers in the CSU system. 

Alumni serving worldwide

A total of 1,078 San Diego State graduates have served in the Peace Corps since its inception in 1961.

Last year, Humboldt and San Francisco State tied for first place with 25 volunteers. This year, San Diego State is trailed by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with 33 volunteers and Long Beach State University with 30.

“For nearly 50 years, enthusiastic college alumni have contributed to the success of Peace Corps programs and our mission to promote world peace and friendship in host communities around the world,” said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams.

“Peace Corps service is a life-changing leadership opportunity and a great career foundation in almost every field, ranging from international development, education, public health, engineering, agriculture and law, to name a few. I am proud of our historic relationship with over 3,000 colleges and universities in the United States and look forward to recruiting and training the next generation of Peace Corps volunteers.”

SDSU currently has 36 alumni serving in 27 of the 76 countries where Peace Corps works. The highest concentration of alumni is in Ukraine (four) and Nicaragua (three). Although Aztecs are working in each of the Peace Corps’ seven job sectors, the greatest number are serving in the education and health fields.

Future Peace Corps members

Erin Dowden and Amber Morrison, who both graduated in 2008, will soon join the ranks of Aztecs in the Peace Corps. Dowden departs in June to serve as an educator in the West African nation of Gambia and Morrison departs in late March to serve as a health educator in Belize. 

Both women credit SDSU professors with encouraging them to pursue the Peace Corps and playing a pivotal role in their decision. 

“I had a number of professors who either served or spoke very positively about the Peace Corps," Dowden said. "This definitely encouraged my ambitions.”

Dowden and Morrison join the 920 California residents currently serving in the Peace Corps. More than 26,000 California residents have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

About the Peace Corps

Amber Lung is the SDSU Peace Corps recruiter and holds regular office hours and events on campus. She will hold an info session at the Borders Bookstore in Mission Valley from 7-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 24. Students may reach her at alung@peacecorps.gov for more information or to arrange a meeting.

As the Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, its service legacy continues to promote peace and friendship around the world with 7,671 volunteers serving in 76 host countries.

Historically, nearly 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

To learn more about the Peace Corps, please visit www.peacecorps.gov.

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