MACON – The Peace Corps announced today that Mercer University ranks fourth nationally among Peace Corps Prep certificate-issuing institutions in 2021.

Mercer’s Peace Corps Prep program aims to prepare students for intercultural fieldwork and potential Peace Corps service. Together with the Peace Corps, the University has created a streamlined path for students to complete the program in all of its undergraduate programs. No matter their major or school, all Mercer students can complete the necessary requirements to earn a certificate from the Peace Corps Prep program.

Mercer, which ranked fifth among Peace Corps Prep institutions in 2020, issued 33 Peace Corps Prep certificates to the graduating class of 2021, trailing only Virginia Commonwealth University (114), the University of South Florida (58) and the University of Florida (37).

Mercer had a total of 71 students enrolled in the Peace Corps Prep program for the 2020-21 academic year. 

“I am so proud of our students here at Mercer for all of the hard work that they put in over the course of this past year, even in the midst of a pandemic. Their perseverance, dedication to service and desire to learn about the world they live in is truly inspiring,” said Rebekah Anaya, associate director of study abroad and Peace Corps Prep program coordinator at Mercer. “After graduation, many of our Peace Corps Prep alumni found ways to go out and serve both at home and abroad, overcoming setbacks and obstacles they faced during this global crisis. I cannot wait to see what they will do next and look forward to sharing their stories with our upcoming Peace Corps Prep cohort.”

Established in 2007, Peace Corps Prep aims to meet the demand for Peace Corps volunteers with broad and relevant areas of expertise and to support schools’ efforts to provide substantive, globally focused experiences for their students. Through the program, students learn about leadership, intercultural competencies, foreign language and a professional sector of their choice such as education, health or the environment. While having a Peace Corps Prep certificate does not guarantee acceptance into the international service agency, enrolling in the program helps them be more competitive during the selection process.

“At this pivotal time in our history, young people have a crucial role to play,” said Peace Corps Acting Director Carol Spahn. “Through the Peace Corps Prep program, these schools have equipped students with the skills and understanding necessary to help communities near and far recover from the multidimensional and global shocks of the pandemic.”

Peace Corps works with more than 150 partner institutions nationwide to deliver programming that underscores a commitment to global citizenship, intercultural competencies and a sense of service among students. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic causing a global evacuation of Peace Corps volunteers, more than 700 undergraduate students completed the Peace Corps Prep program during the 2020-2021 academic year.

“Peace Corps Prep is an opportunity for all undergraduate students to develop competencies that will fortify their aspirations to serve abroad,” said La’Teashia Sykes, Peace Corps director of University Programs. “Congratulations to the top 10 Peace Corps Prep certificate-issuing schools and a special thanks to all of our partner institutions for cultivating students’ interest in Peace Corps service.”

About the Peace Corps

The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, Volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a lifelong commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 240,000 Americans of all ages have served in 142 countries worldwide.

Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​