UC student / Peace Corps

Credit: Peace Corps

UC Berkeley alumnus Shannon Hy-Coe was in the Peace Corps from 2004-06 as an urban youth development volunteer in Paraguay.

All-time Peace Corps volunteers

UC Berkeley 3,598
UCLA 1,927
UC Santa Barbara 1,636
UC Davis 1,452
UC Santa Cruz 807
UC San Diego 790
UC Riverside 419
UC Irvine 404
UC Merced 7
Total 11,040


Six University of California campuses are among the year’s top 20 producers of Peace Corps volunteers, continuing a long tradition of service by UC alumni.

In the Peace Corps 2015 ranking of top volunteer-producing large universities:

  • UC Berkeley ranked seventh with 54 volunteers
  • UCLA ranked 11th with 43 volunteers
  • UC Santa Cruz ranked 13th with 42 volunteers
  • UC Davis ranked 14th with 41 volunteers
  • UC San Diego tied for 15th with 39 volunteers
  • UC Santa Barbara ranked 18th with 38 volunteers

The University of California’s association with the Peace Corps dates back to its founding in 1961, when UCLA served as one of the first training sites. 

UC has always been a leading source for Peace Corps volunteers, and 11,040 alumni have served. In fact, UC Berkeley, with 3,598, has produced more volunteers than any university in the country.

“The Peace Corps provides an indispensable opportunity for young people out of college to gain work experience, learn a foreign language and develop intercultural skills,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “International service helps volunteers refine qualities that can be difficult to measure, but are critical to long-term success, all while impacting the lives of people around the world.”

Peace Corps volunteers live and work in communities around the world with the goal promoting better understanding between Americans and the people they serve. Many volunteers say the Peace Corps is a life-defining experience that gives them a chance to make a lasting difference in the lives of others.

“Peace Corps service offers a chance to take your education beyond theory and into practice; the experience is deeply humbling,” said Amanda Bensel, a 2008 graduate of UC Berkeley and current Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal. “Working on the ground, deeply immersed in a community will expand your understanding of development 100 fold, enlighten your perspective on both another country and the United States, and force you to see your true strengths and weaknesses as a professional.”