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Washington colleges top lists for most Peace Corps volunteers

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Gabriel Spitzer

Maybe it’s something in the water: Washington schools top the lists of large, medium and small colleges producing the most Peace Corps volunteers. It’s the first time one state has dominated all three categories of the Peace Corps’ list.

The University of Washington tied for the most volunteers in the country, with 107. Western Washington takes the title for medium-size schools, and Gonzaga reigns among small schools. Peace Corps acting director Carrie Hessler-Radelet made the announcement in Seattle, and said Washington’s culture aligns with the Peace Corps’.

“You have an incredible concentration of really forward-thinking universities, foundations, private corporations and non-profit organization here. It’s an incredible international hub, and I think there’s a real ethic to serve others,” Hessler-Radelet said.

She added that the UW, which returned to the top slot it held from 2007 to 2010, has strong programs in fields like public health that the Peace Corps draws from.

Many more Washington colleges rank high on the lists, including Seattle University, the University of Puget Sound, Evergreen State College and Whitman College. Pacific Lutheran University also made its first appearance on the list.

Washington also has a relatively large number of older volunteers, with an above-average share of volunteers over 50.

Gabriel Spitzer is the Host and Senior Producer of Sound Effect, KNKX's "weekly tour of ideas inspired by the place we live." Gabriel was previously KNKX's Science and Health Reporter. He joined KNKX after years covering science, health and the environment at WBEZ in Chicago. There, he created the award-winning mini-show, Clever Apes. Having also lived in Alaska and California, Gabriel feels he’s been closing in on Seattle for some time, and has finally landed on the bullseye.
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