Despite campus’ reputation for pre-professionalism and cutthroat internship recruiting, an often forgotten employer of Cornellians is one of service: the Peace Corps.
In its most recent ranking, the foreign service organization found that Cornell produced the sixth highest number of new volunteers among colleges of a similar size, according to a press release.
With the addition of nine new Cornellians last year, the number of those currently serving in the Peace Corps rose to a total of 28, boosting the University from its 18th-place spot in the “Medium School” category last year.
The Peace Corps is an organization founded on funding Americans to go to countries of need and aid in their communities, helping solve “the most pressing challenges of our generation.”
Founded in 1961 through an executive order by President John F. Kennedy, the organization has sent over 220,000 Americans abroad. Of those, 1,711 of them have been Cornellians, according to the Peace Corps’s press release.
One of those is Connor Donnelly ’17, who is currently working as an English teacher in Uganda, where he also serves as the director of a national literacy program. He pointed to his time on the Hill as a key driver in encouraging him to serve abroad.
“The College of Arts and Sciences … profoundly shaped both my desire to join and later succeed in Peace Corps Uganda,” Donnelly said. “In addition to Cornell’s education, the extracurricular activities I participated in also contributed to my success as a leader [while in Uganda.]”
The five schools that bested Cornell’s 28 volunteers in its category were George Washington University with 62, American University with 48, the College of William and Mary with 46, the University of Vermont with 45 and Tulane University at 34.
Undergraduate school rankings consist of large school, medium school and small school divisions. The medium school category is comprised of colleges — like Cornell — with between 5,000 and 15,000 undergraduate students. Rankings are based on data collected in the organization’s 2019 fiscal year.
Cornell’s strong relationship with the Peace Corps helps contribute to the organization’s success in drawing volunteers from the area: Ithaca ranks fourth among metropolitan areas in number of members per capita, while New York is the second-most represented state, according to the press release.