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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA alumni still heavily involved in community development programs

    The UA has once again been listed as one of the top 25 producers of Peace Corps volunteers, coming in 24th in their annual report for 2006.

    The Peace Corps, Teach for America and AmeriCorps are all community development programs that boast involvement from UA alumni.

    Currently, there are 45 UA alumni serving as Peace Corps volunteers, with 1,199 total volunteering with the Peace Corps since it started in 1961. The figure ranks the UA as the No. 18 producer of Peace Corps volunteers of all time.

    Steve Cole, the UA Peace Corps representative, said being ranked in the top 25 of Peace Corps producers is a “”definite tribute”” to the UA.

    “”It shows how great the student body here at the U of A is,”” he said.

    The Peace Corps is a 27-month commitment to travel overseas and volunteer in one aspect of community development such as education, business development, or health.

    This is the fifth year the UA has been ranked in the Peace Corps top 25 for number of volunteers.

    Cole said he thinks one reason so many UA alumni apply for the Peace Corps has to do with the size and popularity of international programs through departments such as public health and business. Many applicants come from the social sciences, although all majors are encouraged to apply.

    For more information about the Peace Corps, visit www.grad.arizona.edu/peacecorps.com

    Applications for Teach for America are due on Feb. 18; see www.teachforamerica.org

    For more information about AmeriCorps, visit www.americorps.org

    Being in the top 25 producers of Peace Corps volunteers has its advantages for the university as a whole.

    It says a lot for students coming to the UA about what kind of school this is, Cole said. It is an added bonus for prospective students who are considering the UA.

    The UA also has the second largest Peace Corps Fellows program in the United States.

    The Fellows program involves returned Peace Corps volunteers, who graduated from universities all over the country to continue their community outreach with the UA through various internships.

    Most Fellows members are working on a master’s or Ph.D. degree at the same time, and are required to complete 500 hours of service within a 12-month period. Interns are usually paid $12-$13 per hour.

    “”It’s exciting to be a part of such a large group of fellows who remain committed to community service,”” said Courtney Martin, a Peace Corps Fellow working on her MBA with the Eller College of Management.

    The UA Peace Corps Fellows will be holding a Peace Corps Week, Feb. 6 through March 3. A Peace Corps Fair will be held Feb. 8 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center.

    During the fair, almost all fellows will set up displays about their Peace Corps experience, to display to potential volunteers what the program is like, Martin said.

    But the Peace Corps isn’t the only organization students are involved in after graduation.

    In 2006, the UA was ranked fifth out of the Pacific 10 Conference schools for number of alumni participating in the Teach for America program.

    Participants in Teach for America live as teachers in urban and rural public schools in one of 25 different areas across the U.S. for a minimum of two years.

    In 2006, the program had 19,000 college graduate applicants, including 107 UA applications.

    Teach for America is a great platform for all majors and degrees, said Emily Del Pino, Teach for America’s regional communications director.

    “”Teach for America readily leads you down a path, no matter what your field is in,”” Del Pino said. “”It’s a great platform for business, education, politics and many other areas.””

    Participants are paid a starting teacher salary based on the area in which they are living.

    Another program many UA alumni are participating in is AmeriCorps, which is similar to the Peace Corps except participants travel only nationwide.

    There are 10 AmeriCorps programs based in Tucson. Out of 756 listed AmeriCorps volunteers, 158 are Tucson volunteers, according to the AmeriCorps Web site.

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