Peace Corps and the University of Missouri Announce New Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program

The Peace Corps and the University of Missouri 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 under-served 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 the University of Missouri to support our returned Volunteers as they pursue higher education and continue their commitment to service,” said Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “Communities are moved forward by the selflessness of volunteers, and returned Peace Corps volunteers have unique skills and experiences to offer their local communities.”

The Coverdell Fellows program at Mizzou will be housed in the Department of Geography and offered to students pursuing a master of art’s degree in geography. Fellows selected for the program will receive a full tuition waiver and work part-time as a graduate assistant.

“The Department of Geography at Mizzou offers a disciplinary perspective that complements the Peace Corps mission and provides the infrastructure, which will position returned Peace Corps Fellows for success through participation in our established programs of research, teaching and service in the geographical sciences,” said Soren Larsen, associate professor of geography. “We are excited to be moving forward in partnership with the Peace Corps through our participation in the Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship program.” Continue reading “Peace Corps and the University of Missouri Announce New Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program”

Columbia ranks No. 4 on Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Metro Areas Per Capita in 2015

Alan Strathman lived in Colubmia, Mo., for 25 years before beginning his Peace Corps service in the East Caribbean.
Alan Strathman lived in Colubmia, Mo., for 25 years before beginning his Peace Corps service in the East Caribbean.

CHICAGO –  Columbia, Mo., ranks No. 4 on Peace Corps’ list of the top volunteer-producing metro areas per capita in 2015, the agency announced today. With 12 residents currently serving worldwide, Columbia generated 6.95 Peace Corps volunteers for every 100,000 residents in 2015. By comparison, the state of Missouri produced 2.3 Peace Corps volunteers per capita.

Volunteers hailing from Columbia are among the more than 220,000 Americans who have served around the world as agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development volunteers since the agency was founded by President John F. Kennedy. Since 1961, 3,344 Missouri residents have served as Peace Corps volunteers, with 141 currently in the field.   Continue reading “Columbia ranks No. 4 on Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Metro Areas Per Capita in 2015”

The simple life: Mizzou Peace Corps recruiter’s service inspires students

Daniel Zozaya (far right), is the new on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at the University of Missouri - Columbia. He served as a secondary English teacher facilitator in Ecuador from 2012-14.
Daniel Zozaya (far right), is the new on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at the University of Missouri – Columbia. He served as a secondary English teacher facilitator in Ecuador from 2012-14.

It’s the simple things that Daniel Brown Zozaya misses the most about his Peace Corps service in Ecuador.

It’s the afternoon guitar sessions after a day’s work. Or the memory of breaking the icy exterior of the Punguayco River, a river so cold only the taunting from his new-found friends could get him to plunge into the frigid water. Continue reading “The simple life: Mizzou Peace Corps recruiter’s service inspires students”

St. Louis couple’s love for art, English fuels projects in Peace Corps Rwanda

Doug's Art Club
Doug’s Art Club

Doug and Kirsten Weaver, of St. Louis, are currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers in Rwanda and make a difference teaching English as a foreign language. Kirsten earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and English from the University of Missouri –Columbia in 2010 and then graduated from the University of Missouri –St. Louis with a master’s degree in social work in 2013. Doug has a bachelor’s in painting from Columbia College and masters in painting and drawing from Fontbonne University, graduating in 2011 and 2013. They arrived in Rwanda in 2013 and will end their service later this year. Below Doug describes how they use their skills to help and enrich others in Rwanda.

It was initially Kirsten’s idea to join the Peace Corps, but we decided together that after we finished school and before we had jobs or children we wanted to dedicate our time to a service where our skills could be best utilized to meet the greatest need. When Peace Corps gave us our assignment, we were thrilled to have been placed in Africa. We knew little about Rwanda outside of the 1994 genocide, but we couldn’t wait to move there. Continue reading “St. Louis couple’s love for art, English fuels projects in Peace Corps Rwanda”

Mizzou grad begins Peace Corps service in Panama

Gerth.Jody_Panama

Jody Gerth, 23, of Gerald, Mo., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Panama Feb. 24 to begin training as a secondary English education volunteer. Gerth will live and work at the community level teaching conversational English and English as a Foreign Language in addition to co-teaching, sharing resources, developing instructing materials with local teachers.

“I was motivated to join the Peace Corps because I really want to immerse myself in another culture for an extended period of time,” Gerth said. “I want to use my language skills and make an impact on a community.” Continue reading “Mizzou grad begins Peace Corps service in Panama”

Third Goal Film Festival brings Peace Corps’ experiences to big screen

Film Fest logo_2014

All Peace Corps volunteers return to the U.S. with stories that they can tell for the rest of their lives. Film allows them to preserve these stories and share with others back home.

The Central Missouri Returned Peace Corps Volunteers group is hosting the ninth annual Third Goal International Film Festival Jan. 31 in Columbia, Mo. The free event showcases documentaries and narratives about and made by volunteers, as well as films that explore global issues relevant to volunteers. Concluding each film will be a panel discussion with filmmakers, returned volunteers from the countries highlighted and local experts on the issues discussed in the film. The festival begins at 12 p.m. at the Missouri Theater. Continue reading “Third Goal Film Festival brings Peace Corps’ experiences to big screen”

Doctor’s passion for public health developed while serving in Peace Corps

Dykens.Andrew

Andrew Dykens has committed his life to improving health care in communities across the world. He is an assistant professor of family medicine and the director of the Global Community Health Program at the University of Illinois-Chicago Center for Global Health. But his career began as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mauritania.

“The amount that I learned during my Peace Corps experience has had more impact than any of my other experiences,” said Dykens, who served as a health and water sanitation volunteer from 1997-99.

His freshman calculus professor at Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., talked about her experiences as a volunteer, and the idea of joining the Peace Corps stayed with Dykens as a pre-medical student until he graduated in 1997. He thought it would be a good opportunity to speak a new language and see other parts of the world. Continue reading “Doctor’s passion for public health developed while serving in Peace Corps”