Eighty-five UCLA graduates are overseas with the Peace Corps this year—tying UC Berkeley for most in the state—volunteering their muscle and minds to help the less fortunate, the corps announced Tuesday.
"Every year, graduates of colleges and universities across the United States are making a difference in communities overseas through Peace Corps service," the Peace Corps' acting director, Carrie Hessler-Radelet, said. "As a result of the top-notch education they receive, these graduates are well prepared for the challenge of international service."
Among big universities nationwide, UCLA ranked sixth in producing Peace Corps volunteers, tying with UC Berkeley, which also holds the all-time record, with 3,544 Peace Corps volunteers historically, according to an annual survey.
The Peace Corps has about 8,000 volunteers in 76 countries.
Katy Todd, a UCLA alumnus working in Togo, recalled taking a wide range of classes to prepare for her experience in the West African nation.
"It was hard to put them into context at the time, but having that background knowledge really helped me understand the issues I came across in Togo and what methods may best be used to approach some of these issues," Todd said.
Historically, UCLA has produced 1,811 volunteers, the eighth most nationwide.
Collectively, the UC system has produced 489 Peace Corps volunteers who are on assignment now.
The University of Washington and the University of Florida tied for the top spot, each producing 107 volunteers this year.
Students interested in serving in the Peace Corps are urged to apply a year in advance of graduation. The next application deadline is Feb. 28.