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Cornell University

Peace Corps

About the Peace Corps at Cornell

Cornell’s partnership with the Peace Corps helps Cornellians to make a difference in the world by volunteering in over 70 countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, and the Middle East. Volunteers develop skills that are highly sought by employers in the nonprofit, governmental, and private sectors.

The mission of the Peace Corps is to help people of interested countries provide trained volunteers to supplement the workforce in developing countries. The partnership between the Peace Corps and Cornell started in 1961 when the agency was first conceived by President John F. Kennedy as an opportunity for Americans to promote peace Over the years, the partnership between the Peace Corps and Cornell has grown, from 1962, when 18 Cornell graduates were among the first cohort of volunteers. Over the past 20 years, over 1,720 Cornellians have volunteered abroad through Peace Corps. Cornell ranks #14 among universities in producing Peace Corps volunteers!

Interested in volunteering? Students can find up-to-date contact information for our campus recruiter on the Peace Corps Recruiter Directory. On the fence? Feel free to start by meeting with Public Service Careers Coach, Mia Ferraina.

Graduate Studies

Financial assistance is available to returned Peace Corps Volunteers to pursue graduate study in a wide range of disciplines at partner schools through the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program. This is a wonderful benefit of serving in the Peace Corps that many returned volunteers choose to use. All fellows complete internships in underserved communities in the United States, allowing them to bring home, and expand upon, the skills they learned as volunteers. Coverdell Fellowships are available through three degree programs at Cornell: 

Current graduate students at Cornell who are interested in serving during their program can find more information from Cornell’s Graduate School about your options. In consultation with their graduate advisor, some students choose to be in absentia while others take a leave of absence. Sometimes this impacts health insurance or student loans, so be sure to research the nuances of your exact situation and discuss with student services.

Connecting with Volunteers

Want to hear personal stories from Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV)? Check out the Peace Corps website for a plethora of ideas! You can filter by the type of project or geographic location to see RPCV whose work might be of interest to you. On this site, you aren’t able to filter by the person’s university, but you could find Cornellians through sites like LinkedIn and CUeLINKS.

There are also networks of returned volunteers through two different groups. These can be a way to connect to other RPCV for support after service, or a way to find out more about potentially volunteering in the future. Both the Peace Corps website and National Peace Corps Association (a non-profit affiliate) host events and offer other support resources.