Jalina Porter, a graduate of Howard who served in Cambodia from 2009-2011, left, and other Peace Corps volunteers. (Courtesy Image)
Howard University claimed the No. 1 spot among HBCUs that produce Peace Corps volunteers for the fourth consecutive year, officials announced April 21 at the organization’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Thirteen of Howard’s undergraduate alumni currently serve as volunteers in the Corps. In addition to putting Howard above other HBCUs, the distinction—for the second year in a row—also makes the D.C. school the first and only HBCU to appear on the agency’s national list of top volunteer-producing colleges and universities, ranking No. 24 among medium-sized undergraduate schools.
“Howard’s motto is engrained in truth and service, and I felt the spirit of service everywhere as an undergraduate student,” said Jalina Porter, a graduate of Howard who served in Cambodia from 2009-2011. “Howard students strive to make an impact of positive social change, and my time there was a natural stepping stone to my Peace Corps service.”
The number of Howard volunteers doubled that of the second-ranked HBCU, Spelman College in Atlanta, which produced six volunteers. And, for the first time, two schools tied for third place: Morehouse College in Atlanta and Norfolk State University in Virginia both ranked third, each with four alumni currently serving abroad.
Advocates say volunteering with agency’s such as the Peace Corps can make a lasting difference in a college graduate’s life and offers many benefits, such as receiving intensive intercultural, leadership, language and technical training that gives them a competitive edge in today’s job market. And, 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.
“Peace Corps service is an opportunity unlike any other – a chance to make a difference in some of the world’s most vulnerable, hard-to-reach communities and a launching pad for a 21st-century career,” Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said.
Hessler-Radelet also emphasized the importance of having a diverse Corps.
“Volunteers with diverse backgrounds bring unique intercultural experiences to the communities they serve and help promote a greater understanding of who we are as Americans,” she said.
A year ago, the Peace Corps’ announced historic recruitment reforms meant to attract the best and brightest volunteers and those who represent the multicultural nature of the country. In addition to hiring dedicated diversity recruiters and hosting diversity-focused recruitment events, the Peace Corps partnered with diverse institutions like Howard so Americans of all backgrounds know about service opportunities with the Peace Corps.
Find a recruitment office near you by visiting the Peace Corps website here.