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Students Invited to Join UA's Peace Corps Legacy
The UA will host its eighth annual Peace Corps Fair to inform students about service opportunities abroad.
The University of Arizona, one of the nation's top producers of Peace Corps volunteers, will host a fair on Thursday for students interested in extending their education after they graduate through service in another country.
The UA's has long been known for its spirit of service, which is one of the reasons why the University is recognized for its work with programs like the Peace Corps, said Georgia Ehlers, internships and community engagement coordinator for the Graduate College.
Since 1961, 1,535 UA alumni have served in the U.S. Peace Corps and, since 2003, another 249 affiliated with the UA have served in the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, a graduate fellowship program for returned Peace Corps Volunteers. All told, the Coverdell Fellows have contributed more than 225,000 hours of service in Southern Arizona communities.
To inform students about serving in the Peace Corps and other volunteer opportunities, the UA will host the Peace Corps Fair on Thursday from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. in the South Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center, 1303 E. University Blvd. The fair will include 150 exhibitors, including Peace Corps returnees, community organizations seeking volunteers and UA academic units.
About 50 to 60 University employees have served as Peace Corps volunteers, Ehlers said. Among them: Carla Stoffle a School of Information Resources & Library Science professor and former UA Libraries dean; UA research anthropologist Richard Stoffle, R. Brooks Jeffery, director of the UA Drachman Institute; University Distinguished Professor Paul Wilson of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics; and Renate Schulz, Professor Emerita of German Studies.
Among large U.S. schools that send the most volunteers to the Peace Corps, the UA is frequently in the top 25 ranking among large U.S. institutions that are producing the highest numbers of volunteers.
Today, about 30 UA alumni are serving in the field, said Lauren Maghran, the UA's Peace Corps recruiter and a 2010-2012 volunteer who served in the Dominican Republic.
"Our volunteers exemplify the spirit of service and a willingness to deeply experience other cultures," she said. "It shows that people attending the University of Arizona are excited to help an underserved community, learn new languages, and share their lives and experiences as an American with others."
The UA is also equipped to aid the Peace Corps' partner communities due to its research and service in critically important areas such as arid land studies, education, the environmental sciences, agriculture, hydrology and public health, Ehlers said.
The University "has long had a global reach in terms of its history of service, international collaboration, and research specific to countries where Peace Corps sends volunteers and the skills needed," Ehlers said.
"UA students are great candidates for Peace Corps service because of their cross-cultural experiences, commitment to service, and technical skills, especially in high-need areas. The support at the UA for U.S. Peace Corps stems from its mission, its expertise, and its global reach and impact."