Son’s Peace Corps service inspires retiree parents to make a difference as volunteers

Elsa and Jeff Shaver wash clothes in Botswana.


Elsa Shaver had walked by a stack of mail nearly 50 times before the headline on a magazine jumped at her: “My two years in the Peace Corps as an electrical engineer.” Her son Lee was approaching his graduation from LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, where he studied electrical engineering, and unsure about his next step. As she read the article, she was more convinced that Peace Corps was the right fit for her son.

That article would launch a path to Peace Corps for not only Lee, but for Elsa and her husband, Jeff, as well. The three Shavers, originally from Syracuse, N.Y., but now living in Madison, Wis., are all returned Peace Corps volunteers, with Lee serving in El Salvador from 2007-09 and Elsa and Jeff serving in Botswana from 2012-14. Continue reading “Son’s Peace Corps service inspires retiree parents to make a difference as volunteers”

Returned Peace Corps volunteer paves path to career in environmental policy with Coverdell Fellows program

Ciciretti.Rebecca_ElSalvador2Rebecca Ciciretti is one of more than 4,000 returned Peace Corps volunteers who have been able to continue their education through the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program. The Fellows program offers graduate school financial assistance and internships in undeserved American communities to returned volunteers, allowing them to bring home and expand upon the skills they acquired as volunteers.

Ciciretti, a Fellow at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, is working toward a master’s in public affairs with a concentration on environmental policy and natural resource management, and a master’s of science in environmental science, focusing on environmental chemistry, toxicology, and risk assessment. She served as an environmental education Peace Corps volunteer from 2010-12 in El Salvador after graduating from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and sociology. Below, she answers a few questions about her Peace Corps service and experiences in the Fellows program.

Continue reading “Returned Peace Corps volunteer paves path to career in environmental policy with Coverdell Fellows program”

St. Louis resident begins Peace Corps service in El Salvador

Ragan Dueker, 26, of St. Louis, Mo., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for El Salvador July 15 to begin training as a community organization and economic development volunteer. Dueker will make a difference working on education, youth development, health, environmental, and business projects based on the needs of her community.

“I would like to help the world’s poor gain more control of their lives and gain much needed development experience,” she said. Continue reading “St. Louis resident begins Peace Corps service in El Salvador”

Academics, community connection prove fulfilling for Coverdell Fellow at Mizzou

Peace Corps Volunteer Venus Reyes with community members in El Salvador.

Returned Peace Corps volunteer Venus Reyes of California shares how her experience as a Coverdell Fellow at the University of Missouri has continued the personal and professional development that began with her service in El Salvador.

The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program has transformed my life. I am a second-year fellow at the University of Missouri’s Truman School of Public Affairs, and have received three critical things through my participation in this fellowship: First, financial support, entailing a full cancellation of all university tuition and fees, plus extra stipends for books and living expenses; second, a service-learning program model including weekly service with a local nonprofit that aligns with my professional interests and leverages the knowledge and skills I am gaining in the classroom; finally, a community of Fellows, namely, nine other returned Peace Corps volunteer students who have provided deep personal and professional support as I have made my way through the program. Continue reading “Academics, community connection prove fulfilling for Coverdell Fellow at Mizzou”

Minnesota Peace Corps Volunteer will video chat from El Salvador with students at her alma mater high school in U.S.

Peace Corps volunteer Anne Ruelle in El Salvador.

Greenwood, Minn., resident Anne Ruelle is more than 2,000 miles away from home, serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador. But a unique event will soon bring her back to her old high school, and no international flight will be required.

Using Skype, Ruelle will video conference into a special Peace Corps event at Minnetonka High School on Tuesday, Feb. 18, featuring Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet and U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen (3rd-Minn.). Anne and several teachers who have served in Peace Corps and will be at the event in person will share highlights from their global adventures with high-schoolers who may one day make a difference themselves as volunteers. The acting director and congressman will tell their own career stories, explaining how public service can be fulfilling both personally and professionally. Continue reading “Minnesota Peace Corps Volunteer will video chat from El Salvador with students at her alma mater high school in U.S.”

Illinois State University Ranked a Top Peace Corps’ Master’s International Graduate School

Peace Corps Volunteer and Illinois State Master’s International student David Becker

CHICAGO – Illinois State University ranks No. 8 on Peace Corps’ list of the top Master’s International schools nationwide. With 15 Master’s International students currently making a difference as Peace Corps Volunteers, ISU returns to the 2013 rankings of Peace Corps Master’s International and Paul D. Coverdell Fellows graduate schools after a one-year absence.

The Master’s International program allows students to incorporate Peace Corps service as credit into their graduate degree, and the Coverdell Fellows Program provides returned Peace Corps volunteers with scholarships, internships in underserved American communities, and stipends to earn an advanced degree after they complete their Peace Corps service.

“Every year, hundreds of Peace Corps Volunteers make a difference by combining meaningful service with graduate studies through Peace Corps’ Master’s International and Coverdell Fellows programs,” Peace Corps Deputy Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “After completing Peace Corps service, volunteers return to the United States as global citizens, with leadership, cross-cultural understanding, and language and technical skills that position them for success in today’s global job market.” Continue reading “Illinois State University Ranked a Top Peace Corps’ Master’s International Graduate School”