The Ohio State University Among Peace Corps’ 2017 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges & Universities

Feb. 27, 2017

Today, the Peace Corps announced that The Ohio State University ranked No. 9 among large schools on the agency’s 2017 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list. There are 49 Buckeyes currently volunteering worldwide.

This is the third year that The Ohio State University has ranked among the top ten large schools. In 2016, Ohio State ranked No. 10.

“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 the 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.”

Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, 1,790 alumni from Ohio State have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers. Four Ohio schools rank as Top Colleges this year, earning the state the unique distinction of being among only 11 states and the District of Columbia with three or more ranked schools.

Peace Corps has worked with the Office of International Programs in Agriculture, within Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, since 1974 to host an on-campus recruiter who educates Ohio State students about the application process and also to share their personal experience as a returned volunteer to the campus community. Gail Messick, an Ohio State alum who served in the East Caribbean and Swaziland, currently serves as the Ohio State campus Peace Corps recruiter and can be reached at

Service in the Peace Corps is a life-defining, hands-on experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel to a community overseas and make a lasting difference in the lives of others.

Bethany Lewis, a 2014 Ohio State graduate, is currently serving in Botswana as a youth in development volunteer. For Lewis, joining the Peace Corps was an obvious next step after spending “four transformative years on campus,” and participating in an undergraduate education abroad program.

“Ohio State expanded my mind and set me on a journey that brought me to the Peace Corps,” said Lewis. “My classes, clubs, and jobs on campus taught me the value of understanding other people's world views, of collaboration, and of the power of an act of service.”

In Botswana, Lewis teaches life skills and HIV-prevention mechanisms to 11th and 12th grade students in her community. She also advocates for children’s rights and creating a more sustainable community for youth.

“My favorite parts of my service are the connections I make with others,” said Lewis. “Whether a co-worker who stops by for a laugh, a friend who invites me over for lunch, or a neighbor who introduces me as their daughter, I am surrounded by people who care about me and look out for me. I am proud of the relationships I have formed during my service. They are truly rewarding.”

After she completes her service in 2017, Lewis hopes to earn her master’s degree in social work and community organizing. She believes her Peace Corps service is the first step in building a dynamic career in social justice and community development.

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 Peace Corps 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

Where Ohio State Alums Are Serving in the Peace Corps Around the Globe!





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.