March 10, 2015

Contact: Jay Thompson

Cal Poly Named a Peace Corps’ 2015 Top Volunteer-Producing University

University ranks No. 24 in nation with 30 alumni volunteering in 19 countries

SAN LUIS OBISPO — For the first time, Cal Poly was named one of the Peace Corps’ top volunteer-producing universities.

With 30 alumni volunteering overseas in 19 different countries, the university ranked No. 24 among large schools in the nation.

California leads the nation in Peace Corp volunteers. Seven Golden State universities made the list, including six University of California campuses, led by UC Berkeley.

“Cal Poly can be proud that we have educated globally minded students who give of themselves and their talents to support efforts in local communities worldwide,” said Caroline Moore, director of the Cal Poly International Center. “In true Learn by Doing spirit, our graduates demonstrate that Cal Poly equips students to work toward solving global challenges and encourages graduates to be positive forces in the world.“

Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, 836 Cal Poly alumni have served, joining counterparts from more than 3,000 schools nationwide.

“Every year the Peace Corps unveils the upper echelon of colleges and universities that have distinguished themselves at the top of its volunteer producing schools,” said Erin Carlson, Peace Corps West Coast regional manager. “We take enormous pride in recognizing Cal Poly as one of the 23 universities from the West Coast producing dedicated individuals who personify the Peace Corps mission of promoting world peace and friendship.”

This year’s rankings follow historic reforms to the organization’s application and selection process that in 2014 resulted in a 22-year application high for the agency. While the selection process remains competitive, applicants find a simplified, more personal application process, said Sean Michetti, a Peace Corps regional recruiter based out of Oakland, Calif.

Michetti, a Cal Poly journalism graduate and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, has made four weeklong recruitment visits to campus since the start of the school year. He plans to return in April and May.

Drawing on his experiences in Bulgaria, he speaks to hundreds of students each quarter interested in volunteering, which includes three months of language and cultural immersion followed by a two-year assignment.

Many Cal Poly students hope to make a difference internationally, so it’s not a surprise that the university has made the list as a top-producer of volunteers, Michetti said.

“I think Peace Corps is a fertile training ground for people who like to think outside the box,” he said. “To make the list shows that you have this student body that is entrepreneurial and isn’t intimidated by a challenge. There is a lot of work in the Peace Corps that aligns well with the degrees that Cal Poly offers.”

About the Peace Corps
The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the U.S. to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a lifelong commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more details about the organization, visit