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SMCM Ranks 8th on the Peace Corps' List of Top Volunteer-Producing Schools

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The County Times Newspaper

The Southern Calvert Gazette Newspaper

Posted on February 28, 2013

ST. MARY’S CITY, Md.—St. Mary’s College of Maryland ranks 8th on the Peace Corps’ list of 25 top volunteer-producing colleges in the small school category with 16 undergraduate alumni currently serving as volunteers overseas. St. Mary’s College was 14th in the small school category last year. Since Peace Corps’ inception, 119 St. Mary’s College alumni have served in the Peace Corps.

“As a liberal arts college, we strongly support volunteerism and international service,” said Joseph R. Urgo, president of St. Mary’s College. “Peace Corps is an organization that embodies these values and is one of the ways our students are able to give back and become good international stewards. It is a pleasure to have St. Mary’s recognized in this capacity.”

“At St. Mary's, I had the opportunity to focus my studies in Political Science in my area of interest, African Studies and the Diaspora,” said Hannah Biggie (2010, Political Science, concentration in Africa and African Diaspora), a Peace Corps secondary education teacher in South Africa. “My work with the Africa and African Diaspora department gave me a great advantage throughout my service as I was a provided with a better understanding of South African history through my studies. Serving in the Peace Corps brought closure to my undergraduate education as I was able to experience what I had studied at St. Mary's.”

The Peace Corps ranks top colleges annually according to the size of the student body. Small schools have less than 5,000 undergraduates, medium-sized schools have between 5,000 and 15,000 undergraduates and large schools have more than 15,000 undergraduates. Rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2012 data as of Sept. 30, 2012 as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers. To see the full list of colleges and universities on the Peace Corps’ Top College list, visit the website here.

Brandon Bimber, a St. Mary's College of Maryland, 2012 graduate (B.A. in Biology), is teaching in South Africa: “The liberal arts curriculum at St. Mary’s was a major help in preparing me for Peace Corps service. It taught me how to think critically so that I can work through difficulties at my school here and help my counterparts figure out sustainable solutions that fit their needs. St. Mary's has some amazing study-abroad programs, and my semester in The Gambia (with the PEACE program) was actually what made me want to join the Peace Corps. I felt more prepared for Peace Corps service during the first few months of training than most of my peers did because of that experience, and it helped me to settle in and focus on my job much faster.”

“Every year, graduates of colleges and universities across the United States are making a difference in communities overseas through Peace Corps service,” said Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “As a result of the top-notch education they receive, these graduates are well prepared for the challenge of international service. They become leaders in their host communities and carry the spirit of service and leadership back with them when they return home.”

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