Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is the number one graduate school nationwide in producing Peace Corps volunteers, the agency has announced. Currently, 18 graduate students, all master’s international students from the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and 19 undergraduate alumni are making a difference around the world as Peace Corps volunteers.
Since the agency was created in 1961, 525 Tulane graduates have served as Peace Corps volunteers.
[Photo: Ms. Taylor Lanton in Benin: Ms. Lanton posing with the women of L’esperance Birthing Clinic after they helped her distribute over 100 mosquito nets to pregnant and new mothers in the local village and provide training on malaria prevention]
“The Peace Corps is a unique opportunity for college graduates to put their education into practice and become agents of change in communities around the world,” said Ms. Carrie Hessler-Radelet, director of the Peace Corps.
Peace Corps volunteer Ms. Alexandra Ernst of Indianapolis has been serving in Mozambique as a health volunteer since 2014. Ernst is simultaneously earning her MPH from Tulane through the Master’s International program, which allows students to combine graduate school and Peace Corps service. The courses Ms. Ernst took at Tulane prior to departure helped prepare her for life as a volunteer, she said.
“For me, joining the Peace Corps was a manifestation of my educational experiences and philosophical worldviews,” said Ms. Ernst, 26. “That is to say, it was about serving a community where the injustice of health inequalities is not being addressed in the fullest ways possible when we have more means and abilities to do so.”
[Photo: The Master’s International and Peace Corps Programs of Tulane promote the Peace Corps locally along with the Louisiana Peace Corps Association. This year they marched with the Krewe of Freret to celebrate Mardi Gras]
Programmatically, Tulane is well aligned with the Peace Corps,” said Dr. T.J. Stranova, associate dean for student affairs and admissions. “The skills our students learn in the classroom are well suited to the kinds of roles they encounter in country. It’s a great fit and we’re thrilled so many of our students choose this option, especially the Master’s International program.”
Tulane maintains a Peace Corps/Master’s International office within Student Affairs. The coordinators, both of whom are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, hold events throughout the school year and also provide support to students while they are in placements overseas.
This year’s rankings follow a 40-year high in applications for the Peace Corps in 2015. This record-breaking number comes after the first full year that the agency implemented historic reforms allowing applicants to choose the countries and assignments they would like to be considered.