Cal State San Bernardino has been ranked ninth in the nation on the Peace Corps’ 2013 list of top volunteer-producing Hispanic-Serving Institutions.
Eight of the university’s alumni are serving overseas through Peace Corps service.
“I congratulate these Hispanic-Serving Institutions for preparing students across the U.S. to make a difference overseas through Peace Corps service,” said Peace Corps Deputy Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “Peace Corps volunteers reflect the diversity of America and graduates of Hispanic-Serving Institutions play a central role in building the agency’s great legacy of service abroad.”
Michael Amerson, of Victorville, who graduated from CSUSB in 2010 with a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration and marketing, is currently serving in Rwanda. He said his time at the university helped him to prepare for his service in the Peace Corps.
“My professors in the marketing department at CSUSB helped prepare me for Peace Corps service by challenging me to step up as a leader,” said Amerson. “Most of the curriculum involved group projects with very little direct input from the instructors. This is similar to Peace Corps service in that you do not have a supervisor looking over your shoulder every day telling you how to do your job. Successful Peace Corps service requires initiative and self-motivation.”
Cal State San Bernardino President Tomás D. Morales said the university’s students are learning by their service in the community that they can help their communities become a better place.
“CSUSB students are truly engaged in their communities, and they are seeing that they are making a difference, which leads them to participate in multi-year service experiences,” Morales said.
“We are becoming a more global campus, and involvement with the Peace Corps is a natural extension of this movement. Our students are well prepared for the independent nature of service abroad, through their many opportunities to take leadership positions, do independent research, and participate in various volunteer efforts.”
Morales also credits various programs that promote international studies and working with international students for creating interest in studying abroad. One example is the university’s Center for International Studies and Programs, which works with international students, including immigrants and permanent resident students, who come to Cal State San Bernardino.
Other examples are the university’s Model United Nations and Model Arab League teams, which have successfully competed with universities from around the country and world. Students participating in both competitions represent a county and meet with fellow delegates to address issues that real-life diplomats often encounter.
At the 2013 National Model United Nations conference in New York City, the two CSUSB teams won Outstanding Delegations Awards, giving the university 18 Outstanding Delegation Awards over the past 20 years.
Soon after, CSUSB’s Model Arab League student delegation participated in the Southern California Model Arab League Conference and earned the university its 21st Outstanding Delegation honor in 21 years, making it one of the more successful programs in the nation.
Cal State San Bernardino has also created and nurtured a culture of service, Morales said. The university was recognized earlier this year for its commitment to meaningful community partnerships and outstanding service to the community with its inclusion on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for a seventh straight year, which is every year since the honor was established in 2006.
Other CSUSB alumni in the Peace Corps include:
- Melissa Nicks of Riverside, who graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. Nicks is serving in Namibia, and
- Sairah Jahangir of Rancho Cucamonga, who graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Jahangir is serving in Morocco.
Currently, more than 615 Peace Corps volunteers self-identify as Hispanic. The Peace Corps works to ensure that its volunteers represent the best of America. Peace Corps’ Office of Diversity and National Outreach implements tailored outreach strategies for the recruitment of applicants from historically under-represented communities and those with specialized skills in order to enrich and strengthen Peace Corps programs abroad.
Currently, more than 8,000 volunteers are working with communities in 76 host countries on projects related to agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth development. After 27 months of service abroad, Peace Corps volunteers with four-year degrees return home as global citizens with cross-cultural, leadership, language, teaching and community development skills that position them for advanced education and professional opportunities in today’s global job market. After returning from service, volunteers receive support from the Peace Corps in the form of career services, graduate school opportunities, advantages in federal employment, readjustment allowances, and loan deferment and cancellation opportunities.
For more information on the Peace Corps, contact Jeremiah McDaniel, Public Affairs, West Coast Region at (310) 356-1119 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.