Feb. 19, 2014

Geneseo is a top volunteer producer for the Peace Corps

Theresa in thailand

Theresa Montenarello '12 is currently serving in the Peace Corps in Thailand, and is one of 17 alumni in the Corps at this time. For the first time, Geneseo is ranked as a top volunteer-producing school for the Peace Corps. /PHOTO PROVIDED.

Since the Peace Corps was founded in 1961, Geneseo alumni have taught in schools, assisted small businesses and shared their expertise in many ways in more than 70 countries, from in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia to Burkina Faso and Armenia.

Geneseo has always had a strong tradition of volunteering in the international effort. This year, the college has earned a prestigious milestone: It is among the schools that have the most alumni who volunteer with The Peace Corps. Geneseo is 22nd among medium schools for the Peace Corps' rankings for 2014 of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities across the country, with 17 Geneseo alumni with undergraduate degrees currently volunteering worldwide.

This is Geneseo's first appearance on the Peace Corps' Top Colleges list since the current three-tiered enrollment ranking was established in 2003, but the college has had 246 graduates join the Peace Corps. Geneseo alumni currently serve as volunteers in Cameroon; China; Costa Rica; Dominican Republic; Georgia; Kenya; Kyrgyz Republic; Macedonia; Morocco; Paraguay; Rwanda; Senegal; Thailand; and Ukraine. They work in sectors including education, English, health and youth development.

"Public service is central to the mission of Geneseo as a public liberal arts college, and it's gratifying to learn that so many of our alumni are in the Peace Corps," said Interim President Carol Long. "We aim to develop analytical thinking and intercultural competence throughout our curriculum, and this kind of education thoroughly prepares graduates to be successful in the Peace Corps and similar organizations."

Theresa Montenarello '12 is a teacher collaborator in Thailand. Her passion to volunteer was nurtured at Geneseo.

"I became an active volunteer while attending SUNY Geneseo because of the innumerable amount of opportunities available," she said. "Without the encouragement and support from the faculty and staff, I would not have had the skills and qualifications to be accepted into the Peace Corps."