St. Lawrence Named Top Peace Corps Source

Sydney Fallone ’17

For the first time, St. Lawrence University is listed among the top 10 small schools on the Peace Corps 2017 Top-Volunteer Producing Colleges and Universities list. With 11 alumni currently volunteering worldwide, St. Lawrence ranks No. 7, jumping seven spots from their previously No. 14 ranking in 2015 and 2016. In the 56 years following the Peace Corps inception in 1961, a total of 265 St. Lawrence alumni have served as volunteers. 

Kelly Burke ’17 joins the ranks of dedicated St. Lawrence alumni who have served abroad. Starting in July 2017, she will serve as a secondary education science teacher in Guinea, located in northwest Africa. Completing a major in chemistry and a minor in mathematics, Burke is well equipped to teach chemistry and physics to classes ranging in size from 25 to 100 middle school students. 

“At St Lawrence, we really emphasize being active members of the community and volunteering. Throughout my time here, I have had the opportunity to do both,” she says. 

As a member of St. Lawrence’s Habitat for Humanity, Burke’s participation in alternative spring break trips and local builds have shown her the impact one person can have on the surrounding community. Her role as a tutor and teaching assistant at St. Lawrence has also prepared her for her teaching job in Guinea. 

“I realized I really enjoy helping people and exploring problems or different concepts, which inspired me to volunteer with the Peace Corps. It has given me the confidence that I can make a positive impact while abroad,” she says. “I have also realized that we take for granted our education system in the United States. In different countries, women don’t have the same opportunity to go to school.”

While serving in Guinea, Burke will participate in the Peace Corps program, which strives to improve educational opportunities and to empower women. “I hope to provide opportunities to the students and teach them how to use science in their everyday lives and how important it can be in their futures,” Burke says. “Ultimately, I’m hoping to contribute to sustained change and to improve opportunities for all.”

Recent graduate McKenzie Goodwin ’16 is currently a volunteer in a small village in northeast Botswana near the Zimbabwe border. “I have been working in a local day care, HIV testing center, health clinics and secondary schools in my host village to help with health and HIV capacity-building within my organizations and the community,” she says.

McKenzie says St. Lawrence University helped prepare her for this experience by fostering growth, determination, and passion in her life. “SLU provided me many opportunities, but I specifically remember participating in the summer Health Care Program in Kenya and thinking ‘this is what I want to do with the rest of my life,’” she says. “The volunteers here are also so dedicated to making a change, which motivates me to want to help.” 

“The St. Lawrence experience, both in the classroom and beyond, aligns with the values and actions of those who take on these volunteer leadership roles in the global community,” says Ron Albertson, director of Career Services. “We’re proud of our graduates for their firm commitment to make a difference as they enhance their understanding of the world through Peace Corps service.”

Kelly Burke â17