With 17 alumnae currently serving as volunteers, Mount Holyoke College has moved up three spots this year on the Peace Corps' top 25 list of small schools producing Peace Corps volunteers. MHC is now ranked at number 20 among colleges and schools with less than 5,000 undergraduates.
Since the agency was founded in 1961, 170 MHC alumnae have served in the Peace Corps. From 1991 to 1992, Elaine Lan Chao ’75 was director of the agency. MHC alumnae presently serve as volunteers in Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Malawi, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Paraguay, South Africa, Ukraine, and Zambia. They work in areas including agriculture, education, environment, and health and HIV/AIDS.
Molly McCue ’08 of Manchester, Connecticut, who recently completed her volunteer service in Burkina Faso, credited Mount Holyoke with preparing her for overseas service.
"Everything that I had the chance to do as a student at Mount Holyoke led naturally to the Peace Corps," said McCue, who graduated with a degree in critical social thought and a minor in philosophy. "I was able to learn about and become an integrated and effective member of my community relatively quickly. The one-on-one relationships that I formed were what I enjoyed most about my service, as well as living in West Africa; it had been my dream to live there for a long time."
Currently, 9,095 Peace Corps volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment; the agency's mission is to promote world peace, friendship, and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries.