The University of Mary Washington has once again been named among the nation’s top contributors to the Peace Corps. With 14 alumni currently serving around the world, UMW placed fourth among small schools on the 2018 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list, officially released this morning.
Securing the ranking is a long-standing tradition for Mary Washington, which has landed among the top 25 small colleges and universities for the 10th consecutive year. UMW has been included in the Peace Corps’ list of top-producing small schools since 2005.
“It’s just a culture we have here at UMW,” said Assistant Director for Career and Professional Development Kyle Danzey. “I always go back to the history. Look at the founding of UMW. We were a teacher’s college. We’ve always had a tradition of being educators and providing some kind of service.”
A total of 261 Mary Washington alumni have served in the Peace Corps since the global outreach agency was founded in 1961 to help people outside the United States understand American culture and vice versa. Currently, UMW alumni are stationed around the globe, in places like Belize, Guatemala and – like Maura Slocum ’16 – Senegal.
An environmental studies major, Slocum moved in December 2016 to the West African country, where she began drawing from her undergraduate soil research to help bolster food security and sustainability in Kedougou.
In keeping with its strong culture of Peace Corps contributions, UMW is now also a Peace Corps Prep program partner, with the first 16 students set to be inducted this spring. Directed by Danzey, the certificate program combines targeted coursework, service-oriented field work and professional development to prepare undergrads for future volunteer positions.
“The University of Mary Washington was fundamental in my journey to the Peace Corps,” Slocum said. “I actually chose UMW … because I read that UMW had such a high number of alumni who go on to serve.”