Newswise — WASHINGTON (February 26, 2020) — The Peace Corps announced today that American University ranked No. 2 among medium-sized schools on the agency’s list of top volunteer-producing colleges and universities in 2020. There are 48 AU alumni currently volunteering in countries around the world.

This is the third consecutive year that AU has held the No. 2 spot in the rankings. AU has appeared on the list of top volunteer-producing schools each year for more than 15 years.

“The Peace Corps Prep Certificate program empowers our students to develop specialized expertise in community service and in their academic work,” said Stephen W. Angelsmith, Director of the Peace Corps Prep Program at AU’s School of International Service. “In addition, they gain valuable experience and skills while working with a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer mentor in preparation for future international service roles.”

Since the agency’s founding in 1961, more than 1145 alumni from AU have served abroad as Peace Corps volunteers. The District of Columbia ranks No. 1 among states with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers per capita, with 128 volunteers from the District currently serving worldwide and 2,512 District residents who have served since 1961.

“These schools are institutions that emphasize being global citizens and service-minded students,” said Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. “I am excited to know the graduates coming from Peace Corps’ Top Colleges are using their skills to make a positive impact on their communities at home and abroad.”

Kristina Thompson served in the Peace Corps in Benin in the 1990s before coming to AU to earn her master’s in the International Training and Education (ITEP) program. She stayed at AU for an additional 17 years as a staff member in the International Student and Scholar Services office before departing for a second term of Peace Corps service with her husband in Rwanda, where she is currently an education volunteer.

She notes, “In the past two years as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English to eighth graders in a Rwandan secondary school, I have used every cross-cultural communication theory that I learned in my ITEP classes and practiced in my work at AU.”

“As I struggled to learn basic Kinyarwanda (the Bantu language spoken across Rwanda), my respect grew even greater for international students for whom English is the second, third, or even fourth language, but who succeed academically in English despite the challenges,” she continued. “My time at AU and my time in the Peace Corps have each enriched each other.”  

The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. View the complete 2020 rankings of the top 25 schools in each category here.

*Rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2019 data as of September 30, 2019, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.


About American University

In its 127-year history, American University has established a reputation for producing changemakers focused on the challenges of a changing world. AU has garnered recognition for global education, public service, experiential learning and politically active and diverse students, as well as academic and research expertise in a wide range of areas including the arts, sciences, humanities, business and communication, political science and policy, governance, law and diplomacy.

About the Peace Corps: 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 240,000 Americans of all ages have served in 142 countries worldwide. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.