USF World News

University of South Florida Among Top Schools for Producing Peace Corps Volunteers

Peace Corps ranking photo of Daniella

More than 545 USF alumni have served abroad in the Peace Corps since the program's inception in 1961.

Tampa, Fla. (Feb. 26, 2020) – The University of South Florida is one of the nation’s top institutions for producing Peace Corps volunteers, according to new rankings released today. USF is ranked No. 2 for total graduate volunteers and No. 25 among undergraduate volunteers for large schools, according to the Peace Corps. Currently, there are 38 USF students volunteering in countries around the world. Since the agency’s founding in 1961, more than 545 alumni from USF have served abroad as Peace Corps volunteers.

2020 Peace Corps Rankings badge for USF

USF graduates highly skilled, globally competent students who have access to a robust selection of intercultural programs on campus and a diverse portfolio of international experiences abroad. Upon graduation, USF students are competitive candidates for careers in international development and diplomacy, including the U.S. Peace Corps.

USF is home to five Peace Corps Coverdell Fellowship programs for graduate students and a Peace Corps Prep (PC Prep) Program designed for undergraduate students. The USF PC Prep Program allows students to prepare for service in the Peace Corps through participation in globalized curricular and co-curricular offerings, including leadership training, foreign language acquisition and intercultural skill building.

“Peace Corps Prep is a critical asset to students seeking to solve today’s grand challenges” notes Dr. Alexxis Avalon, Peace Corps Prep coordinator in USF World. “USF is extremely proud of our global citizens who contribute to the betterment of society through their service in Peace Corps.”

Gabriela Cruz student spotlight

One such student, Gabriela Cruz, completed her degree at USF in 2019 and is currently serving as a Peace Corps community health facilitator in Peru. Gabriella credits the Peace Corps Prep program for preparing her for success in her current role. As a volunteer she highlights “the value of different perspectives in finding solutions to issues -- such as health disparities -- that affect all of us.”

The State of Florida currently has 341 volunteers serving worldwide, ranking it No. 5 among states across the country. “Top producers are institutions that emphasize global citizenship 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.”

The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. View the complete 2020 rankings of the top 25 schools in each category here.

*Rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2019 data as of September 30, 2019, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.