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Peace Corps ranks Vassar among the top 20 small colleges whose graduates currently serve in the program.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY -- Vassar College ranks twentieth on the Peace Corps’ newly released list of small colleges whose graduates currently serve in the international program. Peace Corps noted 17 participating Vassar graduates -- up from 12 in the previous year -- in Benin, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Lesotho, Morocco, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Senegal, Sierra Leone and South Africa.  These Vassar alumnae/i work in such areas as agriculture, education, environment, health and HIV/AIDS, and business development. Since the Peace Corps was founded by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, 237 Vassar College graduates have served in the program.

Vassar alumna Nikki Eller, a Washington state native currently serving as a water and sanitation volunteer in Peru, credits Vassar with preparing her for overseas service. “I have developed a much deeper appreciation for my education, now that I’ve met hundreds of people who do not get the opportunity to study past the age of 16,” says Eller, who graduated with a Neuroscience and Behavior degree in 2010. “Besides skills such as writing and presenting, which I actually use quite a bi
t, Vassar left me with a curiosity to learn more, an analytical approach to problems, and the resources, motivation, and confidence to try and solve them.”

This month 2011 Vassar graduate Samantha Leonard began her Peace Corps training on the eastern Caribbean island of Grenada, where she will work as a Youth Developer. Leonard will initially live with a host family to become immersed in the country’s culture and language. Then in April she’ll be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Grenada, where she’ll live and work for two years. “I’m very excited about teaching and working with children and adolescents,” says Leonard, a Vermont native who majored in anthropology-sociology. “I’m also hoping to have the opportunity to either work with an existing art and theater group or start my own.” [Read more about Samantha Leonard at

The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing schools in three categories of schools, according to the size of their student bodies. Vassar was in the top 20 among colleges that enroll 5,000 or fewer undergraduates (more than 2,400 students currently attend Vassar).
About the Peace Corps

Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries.  Since President Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 200,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 9,095 volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Friday, January 27, 2012