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Lewis & Clark Among Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Schools

March 19, 2019

Grace Mehlhaff BA ’16, on assignment as an education volunteer in Namibia.Grace Mehlhaff BA ’16, on assignment as an education volunteer in Namibia.For the seventh time in the last 10 years, the Peace Corps this week named Lewis & Clark to the agency’s 2018 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list. Nine Lewis & Clark alumni currently volunteer worldwide.

Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, nearly 400 Lewis & Clark alumni have served overseas. In 2018, Oregon ranked number four among states with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers per capita.

“As a Latin American studies minor I had the opportunity to study abroad in Chile as part of a full language immersion program,” said Grace Mehlhaff BA ’16, a biochemistry and molecular biology major who became an education volunteer in Namibia after graduating. “Lewis & Clark also has a very service-oriented atmosphere, with many students participating in volunteer projects around campus and the broader Portland community. The college prepares its students to be open-minded when engaging with a new culture or way of thinking, which not only directly prepares students for Peace Corps work, but also makes the work more approachable and exciting.”

Lewis & Clark has long been a premier academic destination for students and scholars who embrace learning as an international experience. For almost 60 years, the college has offered students opportunities to immerse themselves in cultures around the world through our highly regarded overseas programs. Approximately 60 percent of students participate in these programs and travel to over 30 countries, including Vietnam, India, and Eastern Africa. In addition, our undergraduates come to us from more than 50 different countries, and our curriculum is rich with international perspectives that push learning beyond isolated approaches to prepare succeeding generations of global thinkers and leaders.  

“We have seen time and again that the colleges and universities that produce the most Peace Corps volunteers focus on cultivating global citizens in addition to promoting scholarship,” said Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. “I am proud that so many graduates of these esteemed institutions leverage their educations to make the world a better place. They bring critical skills to communities around the world and gain hands-on, life-changing experience along the way.”

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