Since the agency was created in 1961, 1,735 Buckeyes have served overseas, making Ohio State the No. 10 all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers.
“The Peace Corps provides an indispensable opportunity for young people out of college to put their unique skills to work making a difference for communities around the world,” said Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “Volunteers make lasting change by living and working at the grassroots level in their communities of service and using their talents to tackle some of the most critical challenges in international development.”
Krystal Seger of Minster, Ohio, an alumna of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, began serving as a health volunteer in Uganda in April 2013. She trains community health workers and helps organize HIV testing and counseling. She also works to prevent malaria by testing community members for the disease and educating them on using bed nets.
“My whole life, I have known I wanted to do something to help people in an extreme way,” said Seger, who graduated from Ohio State in 2010 with a degree in entomology.
“When I first discovered the Peace Corps when I was 14, I immediately knew it was what I wanted to do with my life. Ohio State exposed me to levels of diversity I had never before witnessed, and reinforced my desire to live and work abroad through Peace Corps.”
Seger is based at a rural government health center.
“I train volunteer community health workers, help organize HIV testing and counseling and malaria rapid diagnostic test outreaches, and I follow up with door-to-door mosquito net ‘spot checks’ conducted by the community health workers,” Seger said. Eventually, she hopes to work in the control of endemic and epidemic vector-borne diseases worldwide.
The entire top 25 rankings for each school size category can be viewed at files.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/stats/schools2015.pdf.
Two other Ohio colleges earned recognition in the small-school category. Case Western Reserve University and Oberlin College tied at No. 14 with 10 volunteers each.
Service in the Peace Corps is a life-defining, hands-on leadership experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel to the farthest corners of the world and work on sustainable development projects in agriculture, environment and natural resources, community economic development, education, health and youth development.
Volunteers return home as global citizens with cross-cultural, leadership, language, teaching and community development skills that position them well for advanced education and professional opportunities in the 21st-century job market.
This year’s rankings follow historic reforms to the Peace Corps’ application and selection process, led by Hessler-Radelet, that resulted in a 22-year high in the number of applications in 2014. Through a one-hour online application, applicants can now choose the countries and programs they’d like to be considered for. Graduating college students are encouraged to browse open programs and apply by April 1 for assignments departing fall 2015.
The Peace Corps works with Ohio State’s Office of International Programs in Agriculture to host an on-campus recruiter to provide information about applying for service and to share his personal experience as a volunteer. Jack Campbell, who served two terms in the Peace Corps in Fiji and Botswana, can be reached at 614-292-3008 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone interested in learning more can join the Facebook page at facebook.com/OSUPeaceCorps or attend one of the following Peace Corps events during spring semester:
• Information Table, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 11 a.m., at the university’s Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, Columbus.
• Information Session, Wednesday, March 4, 6 p.m., Jennings Hall, Room 155, Columbus.
• Information Table, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 10 a.m., Ohio Union, Grand Ballroom, Columbus.
• Information Session, Wednesday, April 1, 6 p.m., Jennings Hall, Room 155, Columbus.
With 237 state residents currently serving in the Peace Corps, Ohio is among the top-producing states for volunteers. In all, 7,120 Ohio residents have served since the agency was created in 1961.