A new agreement with the Peace Corps will give UMW students an edge in the competitive volunteer initiative. Beginning fall 2017, Mary Washington will offer the Peace Corps Prep certificate program.
The four-year initiative helps students develop skills critical to the success of Peace Corps volunteers. Completing the program won’t guarantee acceptance to the corps, but it will give Mary Washington students a boost.
The prep program enhances UMW’s already strong Peace Corps ties. For the 13th year, the Peace Corps has ranked the University of Mary Washington among the nation’s top-producing colleges for alumni serving as volunteers.
The rankings are based on the size of each school’s student body. UMW ranks No. 2 among small schools or institutions, with 13 alumni currently volunteering worldwide.
Volunteer Sarah Schrock ’15, who is teaching English and environmental education in Paraguay, points out that Peace Corps participants gain as much from the experience as they give. She’s learning the indigenous language, absorbing the culture of the community, and challenging herself.
Maura Slocum ’16, an agroforestry volunteer in Senegal, said Mary Washington’s reputation for producing Peace Corps volunteers was part of what drew her to campus in the first place.
“The University of Mary Washington was fundamental in my journey to the Peace Corps,” Slocum said. “I actually chose UMW over James Madison University because I read that UMW had such a high number who go on to serve.”