Lewis & Clark Named Top Producer of Peace Corps Volunteers
February 27, 2020
by Scout Brobst BA ’20
For the eighth time in 11 years, Lewis & Clark has been designated as a top school for producing Peace Corps volunteers, embodying its mission of a private institution with a public conscience. With 12 alumni currently volunteering with the program in countries around the world, the college has jumped to number 7 among undergraduate institutions with fewer than 5,000 students—a significant increase from 2019, when the college was ranked number 23.
Since President John F. Kennedy founded the Peace Corps in 1961, over 400 Lewis & Clark alumni have served as volunteers in countries like Ukraine and Namibia, representing no small share of the more than 240,000 Americans who have served in the past 60 years. This year, Lewis & Clark shares the top 10 ranking with Dartmouth College, Bucknell University, and fellow Pacific Northwest liberal arts college Whitman.
According to Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen, the top producing schools are known to emphasize global citizenship and service-oriented studies. Lewis & Clark has long established itself as a small school with a global reach—approximately 60 percent of students participate in the college’s overseas and off-campus programs, with some conducting funded research through the Dinah Dodds Endowment for International Education.
For many, the undergraduate experience at Lewis & Clark naturally lends itself to international service. The Peace Corps is recognized worldwide for its ability to create lasting change in the lives of its volunteers and the communities they serve. Volunteers, most of whom are recent college graduates, spend two years developing sustainable solutions to challenges in education, health, agriculture, the environment, and youth development—issues Lewis & Clark consistently tackles on the local level.
Cassandra Broadwin BA ’17, an international affairs major and rhetoric and media studies minor, recently completed her two years of service in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Her service focused on reproductive health and women’s empowerment, experience she has now parlayed into a job at the Seattle-based nonprofit BIO Ventures for Global Health.
“My education at Lewis & Clark prepared me to think about the world from many perspectives,” Broadwin says. “The ability to think critically and solve problems from all angles enabled me to design creative interventions in my Moroccan community, including transforming a dusty storage space into a fully functional library and media center, mobilizing youth volunteers to raise awareness about breast cancer, hosting the first-ever women’s walk in the area, and conducting a weeklong overnight summer camp focused on girls’ leadership and STEM programming.”
While at Lewis & Clark, Broadwin was a recipient of the Dinah Dodds Endowment, participating in the India Regional Area Study and researching the correlation between positive extracurricular activity and community development in a project titled “Namaskate.” Her interest in international affairs seemed to complement the values of the Peace Corps, a post-graduate path encouraged by Lewis & Clark faculty.
“The first time I learned about the Peace Corps was in a course on international affairs at Lewis & Clark College,” Broadwin says. “My professor commended the program for what it represents—a commitment to diplomacy and friendship that is unique to U.S. foreign relations.”