University of Rhode Island among Peace Corps’ 2017 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges & Universities

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862 |
CJ Sanchez, left, who graduated from URI in 2013 with a degree in wildlife and conservation biology and serves as an environmental educator for the Peace Corps, is seen here in a classroom in Nicaragua. Photo courtesy of the Peace Corps.

KINGSTON, R.I. – March 1 – 2017 – The Peace Corps announced Tuesday that the University of Rhode Island ranked No. 21 among medium size schools on the agency’s 2017 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list. There are 15 URI alumni currently volunteering worldwide.

This is the second year that URI has ranked among the top medium size schools, rising from No. 25 in 2016. In addition, URI has launched the undergraduate certificate program known as Peace Corps Prep, which allows undergraduate students to combine targeted coursework with hands-on experience. The program equips students with the competencies needed to become competitive Peace Corps applicants and international development professionals.

URI is the only college or university in Rhode Island to be included in the national rankings and to have a Peace Corps Prep program.

“Peace Corps service is an unparalleled leadership opportunity that enables college and university alumni to use the creative-thinking skills they developed in school to make an impact in communities around the world,” Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley said. “Many college graduates view Peace Corps as a launching pad for their careers because volunteers return home with the cultural competency and entrepreneurial spirit sought after in most fields.”

Service in the Peace Corps is a life-defining, hands-on leadership experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel to a community overseas and make a lasting difference in the lives of others. Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, 425 URI alumni have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers.

CJ Sanchez, who graduated from URI in 2013 with a degree in wildlife and conservation biology, currently serves as an environmental educator in Nicaragua. “My college experience at the University of Rhode Island really shaped a lot of my personality and sense of adventure. I tried to be a part of as many things as I could such as being an orientation leader, vice president of the student action for sustainability, an executive member of the student alumni association, and an intern at the center for service learning. I think that all of those experiences helped me solidify my efforts in service and environmental education that I have and will carry with me throughout my life,” Sanchez said.

In addition, Rhode Island ranked No. 8 nationwide for the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers in 2016, with 41 Rhode Islanders currently serving.

This year’s rankings follow the launch of a refreshed brand platform that underscores the agency’s commitment to putting the user experience first and makes the Peace Corps more accessible to audiences through the platforms they already use. A simple and personal Peace Corps application process can be completed online in about one hour. Applicants can learn more about service opportunities by assignment area, country and departure date by visiting the website and connecting with a recruiter.

The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. View the complete 2017 rankings of the top 25 schools in each category here and find an interactive map that shows where alumni from each college and university are serving here.

*Rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2016 data as of September 30, 2016, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.

About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, Volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 225,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.