Once again the College of St. Benedict has been cited for the international scope of its education for producing a high number of Fulbright scholars and of Peace Corps volunteers.
For the second consecutive time, CSB earned a place on the Peace Corps’ list of the top 25 volunteer-producing small colleges and universities in the nation. It ranked number 20 for the number of students currently serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers. There are nine CSB students currently serving. “Currently” means those who were serving on Sept. 30, 2014 as self-reported by Corps volunteers.
In just one year, CSB moved up one spot, from 21 to 20.
Small colleges and universities are defined as those with less than 5,000 undergraduate students.
Since the Peace Corps was established by President John Kennedy in 1961, 145 CSB graduates have served in the Corps. Overall, nearly 220,000 Americans have served in 140 countries worldwide.
For the third consecutive year, Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. ranked first among small colleges and universities, with 20 volunteers. Two other Minnesota schools made the list – No. 2 Carleton College (17 volunteers) and No. 5 Macalester College (15 volunteers).
CSB was also cited by the Institute of International Education for ranking 29th among bachelor’s institutions for having the most Fulbright scholars. Last year, the college was awarded four Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Awards, the most the school has ever received.
Those who received those awards are Heather Beckius, currently an English teaching assistant in Brazil; Melissa DeOrio, an ETA in Turkey; and Rachel Mullin, an ETA in Malaysia. Those three are all 2014 graduates of CSB. The fourth is Sarah Reisdorf, an ETA in Brazil, who was a 2013 graduate of CSB.
The Fulbright ETAs place U.S. students as English teaching assistants in schools and universities overseas. They improve foreign students’ English abilities and knowledge of the United States while enhancing their own language skills and knowledge of the host country. ETAs may also pursue individual study/research plans in addition to their teaching responsibilities.
Beckius, an English major from Avon, hopes to obtain a graduate degree in speech pathology as a bilingual provider.
DeOrio, a political science major from Verona, Wis., plans to use her Fulbright scholarship to gain more international experience. She previously worked for the SETA Foundation, a Turkish think tank, during an internship in 2013 in Washington, D.C.
Mullin, a history and political science double-major from Humboldt, S.D., took a study-abroad trip to China, where her research project on the Chinese education system fueled her passion for the topic. Mullin also received a Truman Scholarship while attending CSB.
Reisdorf, who received a degree in Hispanic studies from CSB, took an English as a second language class her final semester, sparking her interest in pursuing work with English-language learners.
The Fulbright Program, established in 1946, is the flagship international educational program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between people of the U.S. and people of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.