The Peace Corps announced that Florida A&M University (FAMU) ranked No. 3 on the 2017 list of top volunteer-producing historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). This is the second consecutive year that FAMU has placed among the top five HBCUs in the nation.
There are currently seven Rattlers volunteering around the world in Ukraine, Ethiopia, Morocco, Benin, Zambia, and Rwanda. Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, 83 FAMU alumni have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers.
“Historically Black colleges and universities cultivate a commitment to community-oriented education that inspires their graduates to pursue international service and make an impact abroad with the Peace Corps,” Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley said. “Each year, a growing number of HBCU alumni join the Peace Corps with important experiences and perspectives that give communities overseas a better understanding of the diversity of the United States.”
Service in the Peace Corps is a life-defining, hands-on leadership experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel to a community overseas and make a lasting difference in the lives of others. College graduates with Peace Corps volunteer experience gain cross-cultural, language and community development skills that build upon their education and give them a competitive edge for career and advanced education opportunities.
“I attended the best HBCU in the world, Florida A&M University,” said Jeremy Hannah, a 2015 graduate who is currently serving as a volunteer in Ukraine. “Finding my place to help, wanting to put myself in new territory to grow, and taking a leader’s poise for the things I want to do has all been an asset for me here thanks to Florida A&M University.”
The Peace Corps has recruiters across the country that visit HBCUs and work closely with prospective volunteers. By hiring dedicated diversity recruiters and hosting diversity-focused recruitment events, the agency aims to build an inclusive volunteer force and ensure that all Americans know about service opportunities with the Peace Corps.
Q&A with FAMU’s Jeremy Hannah (serving in Ukraine)
Where are you living and working?
I live in the Western part of Ukraine. I work at a Center of Tourism Information and Services.
What is your main project? Do you have a secondary project?
Right now my main project is focusing on this multimedia training grant for the center. It is a multi-stage project that will provide youth with project design and management training, along with a practical application of this training in the form of creating media for the center as a project. A secondary task is helping my manager with the COMUS project. The COMUS project is a program tied to other nations like Poland and France to revitalize the rich ancient districts in certain cities. Lutsk happens to be one of them in Ukraine.
What college did you attend and what year did you graduate? How did your college education and experience prepare you for Peace Corps service?
I attended the best HBCU in the world Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and I graduated in the Summer of 2015. I was fortunate to study abroad in France during my tenure at FAMU and that helped me broaden my horizons of what I can see and do in this world. It made me want to see the world. I joined Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated and doing the many community service projects I knew I wanted to make a difference at the grassroots level. Lastly, I was an Orientation Leader for my university, so that helped prepare me to take more initiative in the moves I make as I person. I use all of that in my Peace Corps service. Finding my place to help, wanting to put myself in new territory to grow, and taking a leader’s poise for the things I want to do has all been an asset for me here thanks to FAMU.
How are you making a difference in your host community?
I am making a difference by hitting the marks the Peace Corps goals established. Every day I hit at least one goal or I hit them all simultaneously. But from dancing in the community, to having English clubs and even being able to teach at two different universities here, the difference I am making cannot be measured on paper. The difference I make is showing how you can be an outsider from a different place, come to a new place and be open to grow by exchanging differences and similarities that we all share as people living on this earth.