SF State News {University Communications}

Image: Photos of SF State students and scenes from around campus

SF State ranks No. 21 all-time in producing Peace Corps volunteers

March 9, 2010 -- When Sarah Rappensperger boarded a flight bound for Costa Rica on March 2, she joined a large and growing group of SF State alums to have served in the Peace Corps.

A photo of a mountain in Costa Rica.

A mountain in central Costa Rica.

Rappensperger, who majored in Childhood and Adolescent Development and graduated in 2007, will spend two years in Costa Rica working with small rural villages on community development projects and teaching English. She will join 23 other SF State alumni currently serving in the Peace Corps around the world.

"A lot of those small towns don't experience a lot of diversity," Rappensperger said. "Almost all my classes at SF State discussed issues of diversity, so I can take that knowledge of cultural diversity in my work."

According to recently announced figures, 1,267 alumni from SF State have served in the Peace Corps since the program was  founded in 1961, placing SF State 21st in the nation for the number of volunteers produced to date. In 2008, the University received an award from the Peace Corps for its long-time commitment to the organization and its ideals.

While Rappensperger adjusts to Latin America, other SF State graduates are making similar arrangements. Doreen Hopkins, who earned a master's degree in marketing from SF State in 1969, is preparing to leave at the end of March for a two-year stint in the Ukraine.
Hopkins, who is 72 and lives near Riverside, spent her career working in banking and finance. She said is eager to see what she will encounter. When she was at SF State, she said she was busy working to finish her degree and putting herself through school.

"At that time, the emphasis on service was something new," Hopkins said. "I think people like me would not have volunteered for the Peace Corps. You had to have leisure time, or people supporting you."  

After retiring, Hopkins said she began to explore the Peace Corps. She and her 77-year-old husband will likely be working on community development projects.

For more information on the Peace Corps, visit www.peacecorps.gov/

-- Michael Bruntz


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