California State University, Long Beach
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CSULB Ranks No. 4 On Peace Corps’ List

Published: June 15, 2015

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PHOTO BY MARCE LEON
CSULB alum Elena Neibaur (standing) participated in a series of enviromental workshops given to participants in the San Jose Xacxamayo community as part of the rainwater harvesting program during her Peace Corps’ service in Mexico from August 2012 to October 2014.

The Peace Corps announced its 2015 rankings of the top volunteer-producing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) nationwide and CSULB ranked No. 4 with 26 alumni currently serving in the volunteer program run by the United States government. It marks the second consecutive year that CSULB has placed among the top five HSIs in the country for volunteers. Since the Peace Corps was established in 1961, 790 alumni from CSULB have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers.

“I’m proud of our alumni for their commitment to volunteer service and pleased that the university’s involvement with the Peace Corps continues to grow. The establishment last fall of a partnership between Cal State Long Beach and the Peace Corps to develop a Master’s International Program is a perfect example of how we prepare students to be citizens of the world,” said CSULB President Jane Close Conoley.

The agreement established a partnership between CSULB and the Peace Corps for a Master’s International Program in which graduate students accepted into the program study in either the M.A. in Geography or the M.A. in Linguistics (TESOL option). After finishing their primary coursework, participants will take a leave for a two-year assignment as a Peace Corps volunteer. Upon their return, they complete a community internship and finish their culminating thesis or project.

California is home to eight of the top 10 HSIs in this year’s rankings and the state produces more Peace Corps volunteers than any other state nationwide. More than 29,400 California residents have served overseas as Peace Corps volunteers and 926 residents are currently serving.

“Peace Corps’ hallmark is its wonderful diversity of dedicated volunteers who serve thousands of communities overseas,” said Peace Corps West Coast Regional Manager Erin Carlson. “We are proud of our West Coast colleges and universities that are ranked as the top volunteer-producing Hispanic-Serving Institutions for 2015. These schools continue to promote the importance of service and produce outstanding volunteers who personify the best this country has to offer.”

College graduates who volunteer with the Peace Corps make a lasting difference in the lives of others while receiving intensive intercultural, leadership, language and technical training that gives them a competitive edge in today’s global economy. They develop vital life skills and hands-on project management experience that employers are looking for now more than ever. Peace Corps volunteers may also be eligible for various forms of student loan relief, including deferment, partial Perkins Loan cancellation and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Over the last year since the Peace Corps’ announced historic recruitment reforms, the agency has expanded its reach to attract the best and brightest and field a volunteer force that reflects the rich diversity of the American people. In addition to hiring dedicated diversity recruiters and hosting diversity focused recruitment events, the Peace Corps is partnering with diverse institutions so Americans of all backgrounds know about service opportunities.

The Peace Corps has eight regional recruitment offices across the country that work closely with prospective volunteers. CSULB is served by the Los Angeles regional office.

The Peace Corps’ 2015 top volunteer-producing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (with the number of volunteers currently serving in parenthesis) are:

1. University of California, Santa Cruz (42)
2. University of California, Santa Barbara (38)
3. University of New Mexico (29)
4. California State University, Long Beach (26)
5. Humboldt State University (25)
5. San Diego State University (25)
7. University of California, Riverside (23)
8. Florida International University (16)
8. California State University, Fullerton (16)
10. California State University, Chico (15)

*Rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2014 data as of Sept. 30, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.

About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov and follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

–Shayne Schroeder