Virginia Tech ranks 22 among large schools in the Peace Corps’ 2014 rankings of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities across the country, according to a statement issued by the international service organization this week.

Virginia Tech has 39 alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers worldwide.

The last time Virginia Tech ranked on the list was in 2009, when it ranked 24 in the large school category. Since the Peace Corps was established in 1961, almost 640 Virginia Tech graduates have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers. The university is also one of the top-producing schools in Virginia, along with the University of Virginia (44 volunteers), and James Madison University (30 volunteers).

“The same passion that launched the Peace Corps more than 50 years ago fuels progress in developing countries today thanks to the leadership and creativity that college graduates bring to their Peace Corps service,” Peace Corps acting director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “The unique Peace Corps experience helps recent graduates cultivate highly sought-after skills that will launch their careers in today’s global economy.”

Virginia Tech alumnus Alex Nussbaum, who received his degree in environmental policy and planning in 2012, is an environmental volunteer in Tanzania. A student in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, he has been working with his community to improve water sanitation and purification, construct improved cookstoves, and teach basic agricultural techniques such as crop rotation and diversification as well as efficient water usage and retention.

“My education at Virginia Tech was a huge asset for my Peace Corps service. Virginia Tech helped me gain the skills, knowledge, and know-how to think critically in foreign situations,”  Nussbaum said. “The inner drive and self-confidence that I gained at Virginia Tech has allowed me to try and try again in different ways. This has proven to be successful in getting innovative ideas across to my local community. I would recommend the Peace Corps to anyone, at any age, and at any point in their life, because it is an amazing experience which helps you discover yourself, opens your eyes to a new culture or way of life, and is an exceptionally rewarding opportunity.”

Service in the Peace Corps is a life-defining, hands-on leadership experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel and make a lasting difference in the lives of others. Peace Corps volunteers live and work at the community level and promote a better understanding between Americans and the people they serve.

Virginia Tech’s on-campus Peace Corps recruiter, Rachael Kennedy, is hosting a panel on gender issues on Feb. 18 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Graduate Life Center and will be at the career fair that day.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.