Theresa Montenarello, a 2012 SUNY Geneseo graduate from Selden, N.Y., is serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. She is among 17 Geneseo alumni with undergraduate degrees serving the organization worldwide. The college ranks 22nd among the nation's medium schools in the number of alumni volunteers in the corps.
GENESEO, N.Y. – The Peace Corps today released the 2014 rankings of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities across the country, and SUNY Geneseo ranks 22nd among medium schools (tied with The College of William & Mary and three other colleges) with 17 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 since it was established in 1961. 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 Carol Long, interim president of SUNY Geneseo. "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."
Since the first days of the Peace Corps, Geneseo alumni have been actively involved in the organization as volunteers.
"I became an active volunteer while attending SUNY Geneseo because of the innumerable amount of opportunities available," said Theresa Montenarello, a 2012 graduate currently serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. "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."
The Selden, N.Y., woman is one of 420 Empire State residents currently serving overseas. In 2013, New York State was ranked as the second-highest volunteer-producing state in the nation.
"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 Peace Corps 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."
The Peace Corps ranks the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body.
The Peace Corps has eight regional recruitment offices across the United States that work closely with prospective volunteers to ensure that all Americans who want to serve have the opportunity to do so. The Northeast regional recruitment office serves Geneseo, and Peace Corps recruiters are based throughout the region.
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