AUSTIN, Texas--The University of Texas at Austin is the No. 1 volunteer-producing university in Texas and No. 11 among large schools nationwide on Peace Corps' list of top volunteer-producing colleges and universities in 2019. There are 53 alumni from UT Austin currently volunteering in countries around the world.
Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, more than 1,800 alumni from UT Austin have served abroad as volunteers. The university also recently became a partner school of Peace Corps Prep, a certificate program that prepares students for international fieldwork.
One UT Austin alumna making a difference as a Peace Corps Volunteer is Stephanie Estrera, currently serving as an education volunteer in the Philippines. In addition to teaching alongside Filipino teachers in her community’s school, Estrera is also working on additional projects including a library development program, a remedial reading program, and a leadership camp.
“Everything about my life in the Philippines revolves around relationships and community, which is something I really do adore about my service thus far,” Estrera described. “Even though I’m a new addition to the community, I feel as though I’m treated like family.”
The psychology major grew up in Dallas and was looking for ways to reconnect with her Filipino heritage as she planned for graduation.
“I started looking into opportunities that would allow me to live abroad but is focused on community building and sustainability,” Estrera said. “Peace Corps was one of the first things that came up for me, and the two-year commitment to a community is what sold me.”
After completing her service in 2010, Estrera plans to travel and enroll in a Ph.D. program in psychology.
“While I’m open to the fact that my service may completely change my research interests, living within a Filipino community and exposing myself to a different culture will most definitely inform my future research interests,” she explained. “There is no doubt in my mind that my two years here will continue to impact the way I view the world and the choices I make.”
The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, the environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today's global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 235,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide.
“We have seen time and again that the colleges and universities that produce the most Peace Corps volunteers focus on cultivating global citizens in addition to promoting scholarship,” said Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. “I am proud that so many graduates of these esteemed institutions leverage their educations to make the world a better place. They bring critical skills to communities around the world and gain hands-on, life-changing experience along the way.”
The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. View the complete 2019 rankings of the top 25 schools (PDF) in each category and find an interactive map that shows where alumni from each college and university are serving. Rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2018 data as of September 30, 2018, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.