February 3, 2011

Peace Corps Ranks Cornell Fourth Top University

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Cornell placed fourth in the nation among mid-sized schools on the Peace Corps’ 2011 ranking of colleges and universities, released Tuesday. Fifty five former Cornell undergraduates are currently serving in the Peace Corps, making the University the tenth largest contributor of volunteers in the country.Tym McGuire grad, the current on-campus recruiter for the Peace Corps, described the special relationship Cornell has with the organization. For several decades, the University has had an “unusual” contract with Peace Corps to have an on-campus recruiter.            According to McGuire, approximately 25 other universities in the country have this system, and Cornell is among the smallest of these schools.“That is definitely a sign from Peace Corps that they value what Cornell students are bringing,” McGuire said.McGuire also attributes the amount of Peace Corps interest to the hands-on nature of many of Cornell’s undergraduate schools.“Cornell has a lot of very applied programs,” McGuire said. “Some of the highest producing programs train people in very practical skills, whether it is English as a second language training or animal science training or agricultural work.”The Peace Corps was founded in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy as a way to provide volunteers to countries in need of assistance around the world. Volunteers work with local governments, communities and educators to address issues ranging from education to the environment.        McGuire, who volunteered in Dominica, a small island in the Caribbean, said the Peace Corps helped him get his job as a park ranger in the Everglades upon his return.“As a federal agency, the park can hire Peace Corps applicants without going through the very onerous federal application process,” McGuire said.This rule is true for all federal jobs, according to McGuire. After returning from their service abroad, many Peace Corps volunteers find federal positions, especially in the Agency for International Development and the State Department.Gene Fifer grad, a Peace Corps volunteer set to deploy this summer, said he believes serving in the Peace Corps will benefit his career options in the future.“I came to Cornell to get a master’s, and I thought that a master’s plus the work experience that the Peace Corps provided would be the best way to position myself for a job,” Fifer said.The Ithaca metropolitan area ranks number one in former Peace Corps volunteers per capita, according to the Peace Corps.

Original Author: Shane Dunau