MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The University of Wisconsin-Madison continues to be the top school in the country for producing Peace Corps volunteers.
It’s the third year in a row that the University of Wisconsin-Madison has sent more graduates than any other U.S. university to serve in the volunteer program, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The school sent 75 graduates this year to provide technical assistance to those in need in other countries.
About 3,300 UW-Madison alumni have served as Peace Corps volunteers since the program was founded in 1961.
UW-Madison senior Michael Horner-Ibler plans to join the ranks of volunteers in June. He’s set to volunteer in Panama, where he’ll work on public health and water sanitation projects.
Horner-Ibler said his family is supportive of the decision, and his older brother recently returned from a Peace Corps rotation in the West African country of Togo.
Horner-Ibler said he’s nervous about his full immersion into the Spanish language but “excited to be a part of a new culture,” he said. “And be warm. I’m excited to be warm.”
Jody Olsen, director of the Peace Corps, visited the Madison campus last fall to recognize the school for its volunteer recruiting efforts. Olsen lauded the university for its international faculty and for ranking second in the country for semester-long study abroad participation.
Roughly 16 percent of UW-Madison’s tenured or tenure-track faculty members in 2017 were born outside of the U.S., which brings a global teaching perspective, Olsen said.
She also praised the school for awarding many bachelor’s degrees in foreign languages, literatures and linguistics.
“These are examples of how the university says we believe in this work,” Olsen said in an interview with the newspaper last fall. “And when you’ve got a university that is walking the walk, so to speak, it makes it relatively easy when we talk about Peace Corps for people to say ‘I’ve got a chance.’ They are more comfortable when they hear the word ‘Peace Corps.’”