Peace Corps and Iowa State University Announce New Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program

Darrin Vander Plas served as a Peace Corps volunteer in The Gambia and is a graduate of Iowa State University.

Darrin Vander Plas served as a Peace Corps volunteer in The Gambia and is a graduate of Iowa State University.

[AMES, Iowa] – The Peace Corps and Iowa State University today announced the launch of a new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program that will provide graduate school scholarships to returned Peace Corps volunteers. All program Fellows will complete internships in underserved American communities while they complete their studies, allowing them to bring home and expand upon the skills they learned as volunteers.

“We are delighted to partner with Iowa State University to support our returned volunteers as they pursue higher education and continue their commitment to service,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Communities are moved forward by the selflessness of volunteers, and returned Peace Corps volunteers have unique skills and experiences to offer their local communities.”

Fellows selected for the program will receive a stipend of $25,000 per year over a 10 month period.

“We look forward to welcoming Peace Corps volunteers to ISU,” said Dr. Carla Peterson, the associate dean for Research and Graduate Education in the College of Human Sciences. “We are confident that they will engage in high-quality educational experiences and enrich campus life and internship opportunities with their wealth of experiences.”

Through their internships, Coverdell Fellows apply what they learn in the classroom to a professional setting. They not only gain valuable, hands-on experience that makes them more competitive in today’s job market, but they also further the Peace Corps mission. By sharing their global perspective with the communities they serve, Fellows help fulfill Peace Corps’ Third Goal commitment to strengthen Americans’ understanding of the world and its people.

Degrees offered through Iowa State University’s Fellows program include a Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences and a Master of Science in Education, both programs apart of the College of Human Sciences. Students of these programs of study will have the opportunity to intern with community-based organizations that provide education and support to diverse groups and allow students to interact with children and adults.

Iowa State University is establishing the first Coverdell Fellows program in partnership with the Peace Corps in the state of Iowa.

The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program began in 1985 at Teachers College, Columbia University and now includes more than 90 university partners across the country, from the District of Columbia to Hawaii to Alaska. The program is specifically reserved for students who have already completed their Peace Corps service abroad. Since the inception of the program, more than 4,500 returned volunteers have participated and made a difference across the country. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov/fellows.

To learn more about the Coverdell Fellows Program at Iowa State University, contact: The College of Human Sciences at (515) 294-7800

About the Peace CorpsThe Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Okemos, Mich., resident begins Peace Corps service in Tanzania

Abuzar.Alishanov_TanzaniaAbuzar Alishanov, 24, of Okemos, Mich., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Tanzania July 5 to begin training as a secondary science education volunteer. Alishanov will live and work at the community level to teach general science, biology, chemistry, and physics to secondary students in under-resourced schools. In addition, he will work on secondary projects related to HIV/AIDS, malaria, food security and technology.

Alishanov graduated from Okemos High School in 2009 and then earned a bachelor’s degree in human biology in 2014 from Michigan State University. Continue reading

Master’s International allows Ohio native to pursue graduate degree, serve with Peace Corps

LorekEmily_CostaRica_07.06.2015Emily Lorek, 23, of Troy, Ohio, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Costa Rica July 6 to begin training as a youth development volunteer. Lorek will live and work at the community level to co-design and co-implement activities that focus on youth development, life skills, leadership, sexual and reproductive health, physical activity, arts, and parenting skills.

Lorek is the daughter of Wayne and Donna Lorek of Troy and a 2010 graduate of Troy High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2014 from Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio. She is currently enrolled in Peace Corps’ Master’s International program at the University of Montana, which allows her to simultaneously earn a master’s  degree in global youth development and serve with the Peace Corps.

“I decided to join the Peace Corps because I wanted to invest in service while also continuing my education,” Lorek said. “The Master’s International program through Peace Corps allows me to gain technical skills for my education and degree, while also immersing into a new culture. I’m eager to learn and work alongside a community, as we build new relationships and grow together.” Continue reading

Springfield, Ill., native reaches goal to teach abroad with Peace Corps

Kimberleigh Griffin, center, with her friends Hannah and Kate.

Kimberleigh Griffin, center, with her friends Hannah and Kate.

Kimberleigh (Kimber) Griffin, 23, of Springfield, Ill., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Ethiopia June 29 to begin training as a secondary education English volunteer. Griffin will live and work at the community level to improve students’ English through classroom instruction, computer lab work and clubs, as well as foster professional development for English teachers.

“I was attracted to the Peace Corps with the idea that I would be able to pursue a lifelong dream of teaching English abroad,” Griffin said. “Our mission of world peace and friendship is a goal I deeply believe in and am excited to promote. I was attracted to the diversity and cultural differences that each sector has, and to be able to expand my understanding of human relations. I am looking forward to first-hand experiencing a new culture, meeting new people, and immersing myself in a new environment.”

Griffin is the daughter of Michael Griffin of Springfield and a 2010 graduate of Springfield High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English with minors in gender studies, educational studies and psychology in 2015 from Lindenwood University.

“Lindenwood at its core is a liberal arts university that focuses on the talents and interests of each student,” Griffin said. “Lindenwood provided me with cultural enrichment through the community and sets of coursework. To succeed in my courses at Lindenwood, I used adaptive thinking and developed good problem-solving skills. Lindenwood believes in dignity of work and a purposeful universe, which I have carried over into both my personal and professional life.”

During the first three months of her service, Griffin will live with a host family in Ethiopia to learn the local language and integrate into the local culture. After acquiring the language and cultural skills that will help her make a lasting difference, Griffin will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Ethiopia where she will serve for two years.

Griffin will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Ethiopia and help Griffin develop leadership, technical and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge when she returns home. Peace Corps volunteers return from service as global citizens well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.

“I hope my time spent in Ethiopia opens opportunities for my students to be successful in the future,” Griffin said. “I want to show each student that their own talents, interests, and dreams are worth pursuing. Apart from facilitating English in our classroom, I want my community to see me as their friend and promote a positive American image.”

Griffin joins the 284 Illinois residents currently serving in the Peace Corps. More than 8,460 Illinois residents have served as volunteers since the agency was created in 1961.

Ohio native hopes to share American culture as Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia

Doss.Dara_Ethiopia

Dara Doss, 26, of Aurora, Ohio, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Ethiopia June 29 to begin training as an English language facilitator volunteer. Doss will live and work at the community level improving secondary students’ English skills through classroom instruction, computer lab work and clubs, as well as fostering professional development for English teachers.

“The Peace Corps provides me with the opportunity to teach young people and continue my international educational experience,” Doss said. “I have chosen to serve in the Peace Corps in order to give back to my global community while having the support of an organization that is known worldwide for service.” Continue reading

Retired Missouri native joins Peace Corps to expand her world

Stewart.Linda_Ethiopia

Linda Stewart, 66, of Florissant, Mo., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Ethiopia June 29 to begin training as an English language specialist volunteer. Stewart will live and work at the community level to improve students’ English through classroom instruction, computer lab work and clubs, as well as foster professional development for English teachers. She will also work with teachers and student teachers to strengthen ties between schools and colleges where teachers are being educated.

Stewart received her bachelor’s in English in 1988 from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and then her master’s in communications in 2000 from Lindenwood University. Previously, she worked for the University of Missouri-St. Louis as a coordinator for alumni relations, Urban Strategies as director of communications and training, and St. Louis Community College as interim manager of continuing education. She retired in 2011 but teaches part-time at St. Louis Community College.

“I spent most of my working life in jobs that required extensive travel, primarily in the U.S. and sometimes in Europe and Canada,” she said. “Though I love my part-time retirement job as college faculty, I needed to expand my world. The Peace Corps gives me an opportunity to live another culture and see the world from another perspective.”   Continue reading

Detroit native immerses into Chinese culture as Peace Corps volunteer

Daniel Hayes is a secondary education English teacher trainer in China.

Daniel Hayes is a secondary education English teacher trainer in China.

Daniel Hayes is a Peace Corps volunteer in China, 2014-16, and works as a secondary education English teacher trainer at a teachers’ college. The Detroit native is participating in Peace Corps’ Master’s International Program, which allows him to serve and complete his master’s degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages from Eastern Michigan University at the same time. Below, he describes living and working in China. Interested in serving in China? Search our current openings in China and apply by July 1 to depart in 2016. 

When I first stepped off the plane in China and walked through a sparkling airport it certainly didn’t feel like a typical Peace Corps experience. The airport was grand in scale and welcoming guests with an artificial panda display. As I walked through the air conditioned transportation hub, I saw numerous people taking out their iPhones to check messages. After securing my baggage and hopping on a bus, my fellow volunteers and I departed for the hotel where we would stay for two weeks. My face was glued to the window as a whirlwind of tall buildings passed my field of view. When we reached the hotel we were taken to a nice meeting room and given a brief orientation and schedule for the next few weeks. Continue reading