Leecox Omollo ’02 Creates Kikwetu Coffee with Lessons Learned at Hope

“Awaken your senses.” That is the goal of Leecox Omollo, a 2002 Hope College graduate and software engineer turned coffee entrepreneur.

When he arrived at Hope from his hometown of Nairobi in the fall of 1998, he didn’t like coffee but loved the excitement and “vibe on campus” among international students. That is, until winter. Classes became harder, the weather harsher and the stress of second semester began to overwhelm. He found solace in the Fried Center on campus.

As a sophomore, he drew energy, if not yet inspiration, from coffee. At first he concealed its “unwelcome taste” using sugar. He embraced it purely as a stimulant to propel him through a rigorous schedule of work and school.

He tells the story of how that all changed when he stopped at a new coffee shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He finished his first cup of what he called the most flavorful and aromatic coffee before hurrying back to the counter for a refill. “Where is this coffee from?”,  he asked the owner behind the counter. “It’s from Kenya,” came the reply. He was dumbfounded. Strangely, leaving Kenya had allowed him to fully appreciate Kenyan coffee.

He went on to graduate with a major in computer science from Hope College in 2002, a masters in computer science from Grand Valley State University and a MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago, where he resides today.

Leecox and Martha during their visit to campus in February of 2018.

By the time he met his wife, Martha, in 2004, he could share with her his interest in coffee. They visited many coffee shops in many cities, met lots of interesting people and witnessed first-hand the power of coffee shops to connect people and elevate communities. The idea of starting a coffee business slowly began to form in each of their minds. Kikwetu Kenya Coffee Company was finally born in 2014.

Kikwetu is a Swahili word that  translates to “our home”. During a recent visit to campus for a presentation at a Global Coffee Hour hosted by the Fried Center for Global Engagement, Leecox shared how the values of Kikwetu were informed from the home and foundation he found at Hope:

Invigorating
He shared that the experience he had at Hope, while not without challenges, was full of passion and energy. It was invigorating in mind, body and spirit. At Kikwetu, he hopes to build on the values of quality, invitation and the experience of being fully alive as a human.

Global
He believes that differences between cultures and people should not be viewed as threatening, but should rather be highlighted and celebrated. The importance of global connections and a broad worldview are values he says he learned at Hope and wants to continue in his work.

Kikwetu hosts Kenyan runners at the Chicago Marathon in 2016.

Connecting
He also shared that he wants to build a company around the understanding that real connections between human beings matter. He believes that coffee and tea, when properly unleashed, have a unique power to connect individuals and communities around the world. He draws inspiration around the connections he made with his host family at Hope and the relationships he has developed with local farmers in Kenya.

To learn more about Kikwetu and their single origin coffee from central Kenya, follow them on Facebook or check out their website.

Book on Forgotten African American History Puts Author Anna-Lisa Cox ’94 in the Spotlight

 

Anna-Lisa Cox ’94

As a scholar of 19th-century U.S. history, Anna-Lisa Cox ’94 isn’t accustomed to being in the spotlight. With the forthcoming publication of her book The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America’s Forgotten Black Pioneers and the Struggle for Equality, however, she’s found herself the subject of numerous media interviews, recipient of multiple invitations to discuss her work and soon to begin a month-long book tour starting on the East Coast with a June 11 preview in Holland. Amazon named The Bone and Sinew of the Land a June Best Book of the Month in history, and well-known scholar Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard University has described it as “a revelation of primary historical research that is written with the beauty and empathic powers of a novel.”

It’s all an adjustment, but she’s glad for the interest in her topic and the opportunity it presents to share a rich history long lost.

“I am a little stunned by the advance interest in my book,” said Anna-Lisa, who is a nonresident fellow with Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, “but I am relieved that the response has been warm.”

Focusing on the Northwest Territory (modern Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin) between 1800 and 1860, Anna-Lisa found that African Americans played a larger role in settling the frontier than previously believed. She identified more than 300 African American farming settlements that were home to land-owning farming families in the region, before the Civil War. There were tens of thousands of these free African American pioneers who came to settle this early American frontier in what was the nation’s first Great Migration.

“Loren Schweninger points out in Black Property Owners in the South, by the mid-1800s a farmer with property worth between $2,000 and $5,000 was in the top 13 percent of wealthy landowners in the United States at that time, regardless of skin color,” she said. “Many of these settlements included farmers with such wealth, and some were even wealthier.”

“It is amazing how these histories have been lost, but there is a lot of richness in the past for us still to learn,” she said. “From a local history perspective, Ottawa County had some very early African American settlers before the Civil War, including a successful blacksmith.”

Anna-Lisa, who is currently based in Michigan, has been conducting research on race relations in the 19th-century Midwest for several years. Her award-winning publications also include the 2007 book A Stronger Kinship: One Town’s Extraordinary Story of Hope and Faith (Little, Brown), which tells the history of the southwest Michigan community of Covert, which became integrated in the 1860s. She has also recently helped create two historical exhibits based on her original research at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, including one on black pioneers. She was back at Hope this past spring semester as a visiting faculty member, teaching a course on Michigan history.

She explains that the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 provided the impetus for thousands of African Americans to relocate to the wilderness lands in what she describes as the nation’s first Great Migration. It forbade slavery in the region, and offered equal voting rights to men regardless of their skin color. With the territory largely unsettled, it also meant that the African American pioneers could build new lives away from racial prejudice.

As the decades passed, Anna-Lisa noted, the opportunities for African Americans declined as the region became more heavily settled and they found themselves facing familiar biases as the frontier receded. As the publisher’s description of the book explains, “Though forgotten today, in their own time the success of these pioneers made them the targets of racist backlash. Political and even armed battles soon ensued, tearing apart families and communities.”

With the U.S. of the present day continuing to wrestle with <<equality>>, she feels that remembering is essential.

“The Northwest Frontier was the largest piece of land set aside as free from slavery in the New World,” she said. “This was a truly revolutionary frontier. What’s been lost is not only this first Great Migration, but all the settlements that were part of it.”

“These African American pioneers who came out to settle the frontier long before the Civil War are an integral part of our American past, but their history has been buried for far too long,” she said. “If we lose who helped settle the frontier, who was essential in these states’ histories, we lose a sense of who belongs.”

The book-tour events will provide multiple opportunities to learn more or to connect with Anna-Lisa. They include:

Monday, June 11: Maple Avenue Ministries, Holland, Michigan, 427 Maple Ave., 7 p.m.

Tuesday, June 19: Harvard Book Store, co-sponsored by the Hutchins Center; Boston, Massachusetts

Thursday, June 21: Politics & Prose; Washington, D.C.

Friday, June 22: Solid State Books; Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, June 26: Seminary Co-op; Chicago, Illinois

Wednesday, June 27: Anderson’s Bookshop; Naperville, Illinois

Sunday July 8, 2 p.m.: Allen County Public Library; Fort Wayne, Indiana

Monday, July 9: Literati Bookstore; Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tuesday, July 10: Pages Bookstore; Detroit, Michigan

Tuesday, July 24: Wisconsin Historical Society; Madison, Wisconsin

In addition, more about the book is available online at https://www.publicaffairsbooks.com/titles/anna-lisa-cox/the-bone-and-sinew-of-the-land/9781610398114/ or https://www.amazon.com/Bone-Sinew-Land-Americas-Forgotten/dp/1610398106 .

 

Reunion In A Box

The Idea
A few years ago, a group of alumnae met up at a lake house on the shores of Lake Michigan for a weekend of laying out on the beach, eating popcorn and sharing updates on life and memories of their time sharing a cottage Senior year. When they arrived at the house, they were greeted by a Hope College glass for each of them and orange and blue pom poms, gifts from the Alumni Association after being notified of the gathering. The weekend was a success and the glasses were a hit. Everyone returned to their corners of the country with new tan lines, new laugh lines, new memories and a little piece of Hope.

This simple event planted the seed of an idea to create a program supporting smaller alumni-planned reunions. We love having our alumni join us for our two big events of the year on campus – Homecoming & Alumni Weekend – but we know it’s not always possible to coordinate schedules and travel plans to make it back at the same time as your former fraternity brothers, suitemates or ultimate frisbee squad. So we wanted to create a way for our alumni to connect with the College, no matter where or when they gather.

So we turned to our amazing graphic designer to create a design for an exclusive t-shirt, available only to alumni who participate in these “mini-reunions.” Then we gathered all of our favorite Hope goodies (mints! playing cards! pens!) and created passes for a meal at Phelps and use of the Dow. It turned out to be a pretty great pile of Hope swag, but we had to figure out a way to get to the location of the little reunions. Thanks to our love of online shopping, we fully recognized the joy receiving a box full of clothing in the mail can bring. We circled back to that same amazing graphic designer who whipped up a super cool box to ship off our goods in, and Reunion in a Box was born!

The Program
Whether the venue be Universal Studios, a cabin in the mountains of Colorado, the fairway of a golf course or a backyard full of babies and barbeque, we can help turn it into a Hope reunion!

Once you’ve made your plans to reconnect with your Hope crew, sign up to receive a Reunion in a Box using this form. We’ll need to know the date and location of your event, as well as the name, email address and t-shirt size of each of the alumni participants. Be sure to give us at least ten business days before your event to ensure we can get you the box in time.

We’d love for you to share photos and memories of your reunion on social media using #HopeReunions. Hopefully, other alumni in your networks will be inspired to participate in the program as well!

The Fine Print
Each alumnus is eligible to participate in a Reunion in a Box one time. The minimum number of attendees (including organizer) is three with a maximum of 20. Have more than 20 alum who want to get together? Email us and let us know!

We will either ship the box to you or hold it here in our office for you to pick up if your reunion happens to be in Holland. Quantities are limited, so order yours today!

Reunion in a Box materials are intended to be used at events whose primary focus is a gathering of Hope alumni.

A Tradition of Travel Gets a Boost

Alumni tour the streets of Vienna during a travel program in 1965.

Hope College began hosting educational tours for alumni and friends in the 1960s. The integration of learning with Hope faculty and the opportunity to connect with friends from the Hope community have always set these programs apart.

Over the past few years we have had increasing momentum for lifelong learning and travel. After two recent sell-out trips and wait lists almost as large as the trips themselves, we have decided to officially expand our offerings and launch a new Hope College Global Travel Program.

In addition to responding to the interests of alumni and friends, there are other strategic reasons to grow this program. Hope’s strategic plan calls for programs to expand faculty and staff cross-cultural perspectives, increase access to off-campus study for students and build a stronger network of lifelong relationships among alumni and friends of the college.

If you are a Hope graduate, parent, Hope Academy of Senior Professionals (HASP) member or friend of the college and have a desire to travel, learn, expand your worldview and connect with the Hope community — then this Global Travel Program is for you!

Every single traveler on our last program said that they would travel with Hope College again and that they would recommend the program to a friend.

UPCOMING TRIPS

Happy Travelers
Happy travelers at the end of their recent adventure in Tanzania.

We custom-design our programs relying on the expertise of our faculty, alumni hosts and staff.  Just like Hope College students studying abroad, you will gain new insights about the places to which you travel and return home with greater knowledge and understanding of our world.

We are moving from a program every few years to 2-3 programs each year. Destinations in the next year include: a Tanzania Safari (back by popular demand), a Discovering the Balkans River Cruise (in partnership with HASP but open to all) and a New Zealand Adventure.

MEET THE TEAM

Pat Van Wylen, pictured with her husband Dave, on an international adventure.

Pat Van Wylen recently joined the Alumni and Family Engagement team as the global travel coordinator. Previously, Pat worked in St. Olaf’s College’s International and Off-Campus Studies Office, organizing and co-leading a variety of international study abroad programs for St. Olaf College students and alumni. More recently she co-led alumni and family travel programs. In addition to having a passion for learning through travel, she also promotes health and wellness and has taught Health Dynamics at Hope.

100% of travelers on our last program said that the experience met or exceeded their expectations.

GLOBAL SCHOLARS FUND

A group of Hope students hike on the Iberian Peninsula during a recent off-campus study program.

Participants in this program will also be supporting today’s Hope students as they step beyond borders and connect with the global community. Proceeds from the Global Travel Program, as well as gifts from individual donors, support the Global Scholars Fund for student off-campus study grants.

SIGN UP AND SHARE YOUR IDEAS

If one of these trips doesn’t fit your travel goals or schedule, you can sign up to receive updates on future programs and share ideas for new times of the year and new destinations. You can also share photos from past trips if you have already traveled with Hope. Email your photos and suggestions to vanwylenp@hope.edu. We will use the feedback to plan for the future and we will share photos on our new online gallery.

At Hope College, we understand that the world is much bigger than the few blocks our campus sits on. Join us and become a student of the world.

What Comes Next? A Snapshot of Life After Hope

On Sunday, May 6, nearly 700 members of the Hope College Class of 2018 will walk across the stage at Commencement and begin the “lives of leadership and service” the mission of their alma mater beckons them to. But what exactly does this look like? Where do all these graduates go? What do they do?

Anecdotally, we know that Hope College alumni live out their callings in ways as unique as they are. From writing about race to eradicating polio. From winemaking in NYC to brewing in Michigan. From performing at the Oscars to Inventing America. From baseball strike zones to Superbowl flags thrown. From Peace Corps placements to global health equity. From cyber spying to wildlife photographing. While these individual stories are powerful examples of Hope graduates making a difference in the world, a quantitative analysis of life after Hope tells a powerful story as well.

Members of the Class of 2017, encouraged by faculty, prepare to walk in Commencement.

Take the Class of 2017 for example. Within six months of graduating from Hope:

  • 94% were in the workforce or graduate school.
  • 86% of those employed full-time were employed in their field of study.
  • 80% said they had a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams.
  • 96% participated in experiential learning opportunities, including internships, off-campus study and research.
  • Of those in graduate school, 85% were in their first choice.

Read a full report of the 2017 Graduate Survey.

Members of the Class of 2007 are led by faculty through campus on graduation day.

While it is important to get a great start right after college, we know that the true value of a Hope education is how it influences lives over a longer period of time. In this spirit, we also study graduate outcomes for alumni a decade after Commencement. Our ten-year graduate survey, most recently conducted with the Class of 2007, shows that:

  • Ten years after graduating, alumni report that the top three factors that have helped them secure employment are academic major, the value of a Hope degree and work experience. Only 1.2% are not employed and looking for a job.
  • 94% said their professors cared about them as a person and 64% said they had a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams.
  • 94% report being satisfied or very satisfied with their social well being, 93% with what they feel their purpose is in life, 89% with their job and 87% with their health.
  • The average salary of $69,500 is in the top 20% for annual income of 32 year olds in the United States.
  • 45% have completed a graduate degree. 86% of those that went to graduate school attended their first choice school.

We look forward to celebrating at Commencement this weekend and can’t wait to see how each member of the Class of 2018 turns their own Hope College education into a unique and meaningful life after college. Now and in the future,  they are agents of hope who live faithfully into their vocations. They make a difference in the world.

 

Alumni and Students Find Kinship through Turbulence and Hope

Each spring, as tulips begin to emerge and before tourists descend on Holland, alumni from around the world return to their alma mater for Alumni Weekend (photos from April 27-28 coming soon).

There are many highlights. Reunions for five classes and the Fifty Year Circle reconnect classmates on a campus where much has changed, but somehow much as stayed the same. Alumni applaud student accomplishments on playing fields and in concert halls. Distinguished alumni return to be honored for lives of leadership and service. And, in the sacred space of Dimnent Memorial Chapel on Saturday afternoon, Allison Utting, a Hope College senior, addressed the 50th Reunion Class of 1968 with the following speech:

People like to say that history repeats itself. However, I am a part of the small, but correct minority that believes history does not repeat itself. Rather, it rhymes. Certain themes and attitudes cycle through the generations, manifesting themselves over and over again, but never in the same way twice. As a history education major here at Hope, I am accustomed to tracking these rhythmic cycles and exploring them with my students. Perhaps, as a result of this, or of my “old soul”, I feel a certain kinship with your generation. Both the 1960s and the 2010s, the decades in which your generation and mine came of age, will be remembered as turbulent times in our nation’s history. The year of 1968 in particular, the year of your graduation, fits this description well. In 1968, university students across the nation protested the Vietnam war. Today, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and others are marching on the nation’s capitol calling for an end to school shootings. In 1968, athletes raised their fists atop the Olympic podium in Mexico City during the National Anthem. Today, athletes are choosing to kneel on football fields across the nation. In 1968, riots erupted at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Today, oratorical riots are commonplace in cyberspace and on cable news. In 1968, you suffered through the assassinations of not one, but two prominent leaders. Today, thankfully, we have not seen such violence, but do continue to see the increasing vilification of the “other side.” Both you and I entered our adult lives at a time of uncertainty and change. Regardless of your political leanings, this has undoubtedly shaped the way we came to view the world and our role in it. In this, we are similar.

But, there is another thing that binds us inextricably together and that is Hope’s firm foundation in the historic Christian faith and its unwavering commitment to producing globally minded citizens who are ready to go out and use their education to be of service to the world. Amidst the changing times, I am thankful for the steadiness of Hope. This is not to say that Hope is stagnant, in fact, much has changed since you were here. Van Wylen Library opened in 1989 thereby replacing Van Zoeren which has been converted into an academic hall I frequent often. The beautiful Lubbers Hall became home to humanities and social sciences while the A. Paul Schaap Science Center was completed to reflect and support Hope’s outstanding reputation in the sciences and undergraduate research. The demolition of Nykerk Hall (may it rest in peace) helped make way for the beautiful Bultman Student Center where students fifty years from now may continue to join together in fun and fellowship at Hope. Chapel services are no longer required, but every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, you will hear the joyous sounds of hundreds of Hope students and faculty bursting forth from these walls in worship, just as they have always done.

Today, Hope is as committed to its founding principles as it has ever been. And that is the magic of Hope. That is what allows every student of Hope, young and old, odd year and even year, to find common ground in their shared experience. It is a place where mistakes can be made and forgiveness can be learned. It is a place where hard conversations can be had and ideas can be challenged. It is a place where loves are found and passions are pursued. It is place where all students can explore their calling and their faith in an environment that is nurturing and personal. Like many that came before me, I discovered who I am, and whose I am along the shores of Lake Michigan, under the pine grove trees, and in these pews. And for that, I will forever be thankful to Hope.

So, as history continues to roll through its rhythmic cycles, let us all find comfort in the steadiness of Hope, the lessons we learned here, and in the never-changing love and grace of God to whom we owe everything. For, we are the people of hope and people of hope. Spera in Deo. Thank you.

 

Hope Students and Alumni Connect in Japan

Classrooms may have been quiet on campus last week during spring break, but learning continued around the world. Specifically, experiential learning and alumni networking as part of a series of events in Japan.

On March 24, Hideo Yamazaki ’76, Alumni Association Board of Directors member,  worked with staff and volunteers to host 76 guests at a Hope College Tokyo regional event.  The outreach is part of a continued tradition of building community in Japan, with four major events in the last few years. At the events, former Japanese exchange students are welcomed into the Hope community with the presentation of an Alumni Association certificate. Twenty joined the ranks at this particular event.

Also present at the event were parents, friends and students, including the Baker Scholars. Led by professor Steve VanderVeen, the Baker Scholars connected with a variety of companies, including Amway Japan, during a nine day visit in the country. These relationships have been a continuing tradition as well, with multiple student groups connecting with alumni at the company through the years.

“Their engagement and questions showed that they were truly the best of the best – not only at Hope, but among U.S. college students.   Thank you for sending them our way.” -An Amway Japan executive following the student visit.

If you are interested in learning more about recent international alumni connections, please contact Jim Van Heest, Senior Regional Development Director.

Cheers to international travel and experiential learning!

Ten Under Ten Awards

Visionaries. Risk Takers. Creators. Dreamers.

Our recent alumni are changing the world and we are dedicated to celebrating these rising stars and emerging leaders. Help us find them by nominating a Hope graduate within the past ten years for the inaugural Hope College 10 Under 10 Awards. This program will honor young alumni who exemplify what it means to be anchored in Hope. They will be presented at a special event open to all during Homecoming & Family Weekend on October 19, 2018.

Use the following criteria to nominate a 2008-2017 Hope graduate deserving of this recognition. Nominations made through April 13 will be considered for 2018. The nomination form will remain open to collect submissions for subsequent annual awards. All nominations are anonymous and we will send you a Hope College t-shirt if your nominee is selected (and the form is super short)!

10 Under 10 Award Criteria

  • Emerging leader making significant contributions by living out their calling
  • Engaged in the local or global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement
  • Serves as an outstanding young role model for current and future students and alumni by showcasing the attributes of a graduate anchored in Hope:
    • Using their education to think about important issues with wisdom & clarity
    • Communicating effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities
    • Acting as an agent of hope who lives faithfully into their vocation
    • Making a difference
  • A member of the Hope College Alumni Association within 10 years of graduation
    • Note: All Hope graduates and those who have earned 45 credits or more are automatically members of the Alumni Association

Make a nomination today!

Questions? Email awards@hope.edu.

Sufjan Stevens ’98 to Perform during Oscars

Although he’s had songs featured on other soundtracks, singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens ’98 had never written specifically for film before being asked to contribute work for Call Me by Your Name.

The result has earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song for “Mystery of Love,” which he will also be performing during the 90th Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, March 4.

“Mystery of Love” is one of three songs that Stevens has in Call Me by Your Name. The others are “Visions of Gideon,” which he also wrote for the film, and a remix of “Futile Devices,” which is from his 2010 album The Age of Adz.

Through the years, his work has been featured in multiple films and television series, including Little Miss Sunshine, Veronica Mars, Demolition, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, The O.C., Nurse Jackie, iZombie and This Is Us.

Among the articles about “Mystery of Love’s” nomination is a Feb. 20 question-and-answer interview by Variety in which Stevens reflects on providing music for Call Me by Your Name. Here, also, is a link to a feature published in News from Hope College earlier in his career, in April 2006 (back cover, page 20), that includes reflections on his time at the college.

I’m incredibly honored that so many people appreciate and receive what I’m doing . . . but I also acknowledge that they are being moved not by me, but by my music. That’s what’s exciting about it – that it really has nothing to do with me.” -Sufjan Stevens ’98 in NfHC 2006

A total of five songs have been nominated for the best original song Oscar, and all will be featured during the ceremony. The other four are “Remember Me,” from Coco, which will be performed by Gael Garcia Bernal, Natalia LaFourcade and Miguel; “Mighty River,” from Mudbound, which will be performed by Mary J. Blige; “Stand Up for Something,” from Marshall, which will be performed by Common and Andra Day; and “This is Me,” from The Greatest Showman, which will be performed by Keala Settle.

Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the 90th Oscars will be broadcast live on ABC at 8 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m. Pacific on Sunday, March 4. The Oscars will also be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

Hope College Among Peace Corps 2018 Top Volunteer-Producing College And Universities

Lindsey Hall
Lindsey Hall

By Peace Corps

Today, the Peace Corps announced that Hope College ranked No. 22 among small schools on the agency’s 2018 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list. There are 10 Hope alumni currently volunteering worldwide.

This is the first year since 2009 that Hope College has appeared in the rankings.

“Peace Corps service is a profound expression of the idealism and civic engagement that colleges and universities across the country inspire in their alumni,” said Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley. “As Peace Corps Volunteers, recent college and university graduates foster capacity and self-reliance at the grassroots level, making an impact in communities around the world. When they return to the United States, they have new, highly sought-after skills and an enterprising spirit that further leverages their education and strengthens their communities back home.”

Alumni from more than 3,000 colleges and universities nationwide have served in the Peace Corps since the agency’s founding in 1961. Since 1961, 198 Hope alumni have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers. In 2017, the state of Michigan ranked No. 9 among states with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers with 266 volunteers currently serving worldwide.

One Hope alumna currently making a difference is Big Rapids, Michigan native Lindsey Hall. After earning her bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies at Hope College in 2007 and a master’s from the University of Colorado Denver in 2011, Hall began service as an education volunteer in Uganda.

“The guidance and support I received from my professors at Hope was the best preparation for the Peace Corps,” said Hall. “I always felt cared about, supported, inspired, and challenged to see myself as a capable, articulate, and dedicated individual who was needed in the global community.”

As an education volunteer, Hall has worked in various positions during nearly four years of service including as a literacy specialist, teacher trainer and a Peace Corps volunteer leader. She currently works with the “Save the Children” program as an education support specialist.

“I remember my freshman year, the focus was on discussion of vocation and how vocation was where your personal passions and aspirations joined with the world’s pressing needs,” said Hall. “This really impacted me and inspired me to ensure that whatever work I do needs to be rooted in meeting the needs of our world.”

In Uganda, Hall has supported literacy efforts at the primary school level, and facilitated professional development sessions to teach effective education methods and ways to create safe, friendly learning environments for children. She has also provided technical support for Uganda’s “Primary Literacy Project,” trained local women on menstrual health and re-usable menstrual materials, and worked with “Save the Children” in response to the South Sudanese and Democratic Republic of Congo refugee crisis.

“My professor and mentor, Dr. Jane Dickie, inspired me to pursue education as a career pathway to promoting a better world,” said Hall. “My professor, Dr. Boyd Wilson, inspired me to celebrate and reflect upon the diversity that exists in the world. My mentor, Dr. Rebecca Cordova, inspired me to pursue inquiry and sharing my ideas with others. My parents inspired me to pursue my passions wherever they might lead me and know that I’d be supported in my choices along the way.”

After she completes her Peace Corps service, Hall plans to pursue a second master’s degree or a doctorate in education.

“I am very interested in the effects of migration on education,” Hall said. “I am interested in English-language acquisition as a social justice issue, because it enables globally underserved populations to access social and political structures and pursue future opportunities within structures of power.”

The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. Below find the top five schools in each category and the number of alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers. View the complete 2018 rankings of the top 25 schools in each category here and find an interactive map that shows where alumni from each college and university are serving here.

LARGE COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES – TOTAL VOLUNTEERS:

More than 15,000 Undergraduates

  1. University of Wisconsin-Madison – 85
  2. University of Washington – 74
  3. University of Minnesota – 72
  4. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill – 70
  5. University of Florida – 68

MEDIUM COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES – TOTAL VOLUNTEERS:

Between 5,000 and 15,000 undergraduates

  1. George Washington University – 50
  2. American University – 49
  3. College of William and Mary – 35
  4. University of Montana – 34
  5. Tulane University – 33

SMALL COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES – TOTAL VOLUNTEERS:

Fewer than 5,000 undergraduates

1. St. Mary’s College of Maryland – 17
2. Macalester College – 15
2. St. Lawrence University – 15
4. University of Redlands – 14
4. University of Mary Washington – 14.
4. Evergreen State College – 14
4. Hobart and William Smith Colleges – 14
4. Whitworth University – 14
4. Spelman College – 14
10. Willamette University – 13
10. Denison University – 13
10. Agnes Scott College – 13
13. Carleton College – 12
13. Bucknell University – 12
13. Eckerd College – 12

GRADUATE SCHOOLS – TOTAL VOLUNTEERS:

1. Tulane University – 27
2. American University – 19
3. University of South Florida – 16
4. George Washington University – 15
5. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor – 14
5. Columbia University – 14
5. University of Denver – 14

HISTORICAL, SINCE 1961 – TOTAL VOLUNTEERS:

  1. University of California, Berkeley       3,671
  2. University of Wisconsin–Madison       3,279
  3. University of Washington                   3,027
  4. University of Michigan                        2,720
  5. University of Colorado Boulder           2,504

 

*Rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2017 data as of September 30, 2017, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.

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 life-long 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 230,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide. For more information, visit peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.