WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Most of them are sprinkled throughout the Americas, south of the equator, and along both coasts of the African continent. A handful are scattered around other faraway places -- Russia, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Nepal and Tonga.

There are 19 of them, all Whitman College graduates, and all currently serving in the Peace Corps. Collectively, they are the reason why Whitman ranks No. 4 nationally on the latest Peace Corps list of small colleges and universities generating the greatest number of volunteers for overseas service.

With 19 of its graduates in active service (see list below), Whitman is tied for fourth place among schools with an undergraduate enrollment of less than 5,000 students. Whitman was tied for sixth place on last year's list, and it occupied the No. 7 spot two years ago.

Nearly half of Whitman's current volunteers are working as teachers in the fields of health, English, science and math. Other volunteers are helping with agricultural, forestry and environmental projects, in most cases in a teaching capacity. Two Whitman volunteers are assisting with projects for urban youth and community service development. One volunteer is helping with general construction projects.

This year's "top ten" list of volunteer-producing schools was released by the Peace Corps earlier this month. Vermont's Middlebury College is No. 1 with 32 graduates in service, followed by Tufts University (Medford, Mass.) with 22 volunteers and Colby College (Waterville, Maine) with 21.

Also tied for fourth place, along with Whitman, are Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Md.) and Darmouth (Hanover, N.H.).

Other schools from the Northwest and western United States join Whitman in the latest top ten list. Willamette University (Salem, Ore.) with 17 volunteers is tied for sixth place, while Pomona College (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Colorado College are among the schools tied for seventh place with 16 volunteers.

Schools tied for ninth place with 14 volunteers include the University of Puget Sound, Olympia's Evergreen State College, and Santa Clara (Calif.) University. Schools in the 10th spot with 13 volunteers include the University of San Francisco and Seattle University.

More than 200 Whitman graduates have served in the Peace Corps since the program was established by President Kennedy in 1961. Since then, the Peace Corps has sent over 161,000 trained volunteers to 134 countries.

In 2001, more than 7,300 volunteers and trainees -- the highest number in 26 years -- are serving in 78 countries around the world, working to help fight hunger, bring clean water to communities, teach children, help start small businesses, and stop the spread of AIDS.

A listing of Whitman graduates currently serving in the Peace Corps, according to the agency's most recent records, follows below. The hometown (if known) of each graduate also is given. The list includes 20 rather than 19 names because one volunteer, Brady Hamilton, is serving in the Crisis Corps, a Peace Corps program for volunteers who have recently completed a regular assignment. Crisis Corps volunteers are given short-term assignments to disaster recovery areas.

  • Sara Alexander (Atherton, Calif.), Ecuador, urban youth development.

  • Natalia Bonilla, Nicaragua, crop extension.

  • Martha Brinck (Helena, Mont.), Tanzania, secondary education-science.

  • Elizabeth Brinck (Helena, Mont.), Ghana, agriculture extension.

  • Gwenyth Crabtree (Chugiak, Alaska), Moldova, English language instruction.

  • Taylor Dale (Crested Butte, Colo.), Dominican Republic, environmental education.

  • Sheilagh Diez (Portland, Ore.), Guatamala, agriculture extension.

  • Julieanna Elegant (Dallas, Ore.), Uzbekistan, English language instruction.

  • Tanja Englberger (Tonga), Niger, health extension.

  • Keri Enright (Bothell, Wash.), Tonga, health extension.

  • Adam Graham-Squire (Seattle, Wash.), Nepal, secondary education-math.

  • Brady Hamilton (Pullman, Wash.), Nicaragua, Crisis Corps.

  • Ted Lawrence (Pueblo, Colo.), Senegal, forestry.

  • Stewart Matthiesen (Nordland, Wash.), Russia, English language instruction.

  • Anna Monders (Corvallis, Ore.), Gabon, community service & development.

  • Jessica Neff (Shoreline, Wash.), Nicaragua, agriculture extension.

  • Jerusha Neill (Fair Oaks, Calif.), Nicaragua, health extension.

  • Matthew Nelson (Lake Oswego, Ore.), Eastern Caribbean, general construction.

  • Kaitlyn VanSant (Canby, Ore.), Tanzania, secondary education-science.

  • Lucas Ward (Sisters, Ore.), Paraguay, agriculture extension.


    Dave Holden, Whitman News Service, (509) 527-5902
    email: holden@whitman.edu