Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) was ranked among the top volunteer-producing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) in the nation, the Peace Corps announced this month.
To qualify for HSI designation, a higher education institution must have an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25 percent Hispanic students, according to the release. CSULB ranks eighth among all universities, with 12 alumni currently serving in the Peace Corps, while 793 alumni have volunteered since the organization’s establishment in 1961.
“Service in the Peace Corps is such an enriching opportunity, and I am proud of our many Beach alumni who are committed to bettering the lives of others and making a difference in the world,” said President Jane Close Conoley in a statement.
Tabitha Komathy, who graduated from CSULB in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a minor in Classics, returned home from the Peace Corps in 2012, where she volunteered specializing in HIV/AIDS education in Ecuador for two years. She then graduated in 2014 with a master's degree in Applied Anthropology from CSULB.
“It’s true when they tell you that Peace Corps is the toughest job you’ll ever love,” Komathy told the Long Beach Post. “I decided to become a Peace Corps volunteer because it gave me an opportunity of a lifetime to learn and give back to one particular community out of 60 participating countries in the world for 27 months. After graduating with my Bachelor’s degree, I felt that I had finally acquired the adequate amount of skills, adaptability and cross-cultural understanding that was necessary from my CSULB mentors to go out and successfully do my own fieldwork outside of the classroom.”
CSULB has ranked among the top HSIs for volunteers for three consecutive years, while the state is home to 10 of the top HSIs in this year’s rankings, according to the release. California produces more Peace Corps volunteers than any other state nationwide, with more than 29,899 California residents having served overseas as Peace Corps volunteers and 915 residents currently serving, according to his release.
College graduates with Peace Corps volunteer experience gain cross-cultural, leadership, language and community development skills that make them more competitive in today’s job market. Volunteers develop a wider, global perspective that helps enrich the lives of those around them and strengthens international ties.
“Graduates of Hispanic-Serving Institutions come to Peace Corps with a strong educational background and the flexibility and curiosity needed to make an impact in communities around the world,” said Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet in a statement. “Volunteers with different talents, viewpoints, experiences and backgrounds demonstrate to people across all corners of the world what it means to be an American.”