NAU has once again secured a spot on the annual list of Peace Corps’ “Top Peace Corps Volunteer Producing Colleges and Universities,” with 23 alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers.
NAU is No. 18 in the rankings for medium-sized universities, and alumni are currently serving in 17 of the 76 countries where the Peace Corps operates. The highest concentration of Lumberjacks is in Bulgaria, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Paraguay, with the majority of volunteers working in business, health, education and the environment.
Michael Wagner, Regent’s professor of forestry, volunteered in the Peace Corps from 1973 to 1975 in Ghana. He says NAU nominates many volunteers for the Peace Corps with “scarce skills,” in areas such as agriculture, forestry and nursing.
“One reason our program has been so successful is we have programs in demand by developing countries because they contribute to the economic development of those countries,” Wagner said.
NAU offers an undergraduate international forestry major that prepares students for the Peace Corps. There are also five returned Peace Corps volunteers in the forestry department who serve as a roles models for students interested in joining.
Since Peace Corps’ inception, 575 NAU alumni have served in the Peace Corps.