Cornell among Peace Corps’ top volunteer-producing colleges
Cornell College has ranked at No. 22 in the Peace Corps’ small schools category for the agency’s 2018 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list. There are 10 Cornellians currently volunteering worldwide.
“Peace Corps service is a profound expression of the idealism and civic engagement that colleges and universities across the country inspire in their alumni,” said Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley. “As Peace Corps Volunteers, recent college and university graduates foster capacity and self-reliance at the grassroots level, making an impact in communities around the world. When they return to the United States, they have new, highly sought-after skills and an enterprising spirit that further leverages their education and strengthens their communities back home.”
Alumni from more than 3,000 colleges and universities nationwide have served in the Peace Corps since the agency’s founding in 1961. Since 1961, 155 Cornell alumni have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers.
Taylor Reed ’14, a native of Houston, Texas, is currently making a difference as a youth development volunteer in Fiji. The Cornell alumna credits professors and advisors at Cornell with giving her the tools to serve in the Peace Corps.
“Having the support and encouragement throughout my years not only allowed me to not be afraid to take risks, but to continuously adapt and learn in new situations,” Reed said. “In Peace Corps, that proves useful every day.”
During her time as a student, Reed was a member of Beta Psi Eta sorority and the Dance Team, and she volunteered with the American Red Cross. After graduating, Reed served one year with FEMA Corps, a partnership between AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“I remember being excited about many different opportunities throughout my college career,” Reed said. “I would bring each idea to my advisor and she would encourage, guide, and support me in making my ideas come to life. However, sometimes my ideas for a new club, or picking up more classes would not work out, but I knew I was supported, and instead of immediately pushing my ideas to the side, my advisor gave me the opportunity to make realizations about time management and how to meet my goals on my own, allowing me to learn and adapt for the future.”
As a youth development volunteer in Fiji, Reed has focused on supporting literacy programs, library development, and improving computer and technology skills for local students and teachers.
After her service is complete, Reed hopes to work as a humanitarian affairs officer or humanitarian coordinator with the United Nations.
The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body.