The Peace Corps and University of Massachusetts Boston 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 Massachusetts 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 UMass Boston 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.”
UMass Boston’s Fellows Program will be housed at the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development, offering graduate degrees in rehabilitation counseling (MS) and global inclusion and social development (MA and PhD).
Fellows selected for the program will receive in-state tuition – even if they are residents of other states – as well as academic credits for their Peace Corps service. Depending on the program, they may also be eligible for tuition remission via graduate assistantships, or for additional federally funded scholarships through the Rehabilitation Services Administration.
“The mission of these graduate programs is to empower excluded populations, both here in the United States and internationally,” UMass Boston Provost Winston E. Langley said. “This mission fits perfectly into the work Peace Corps volunteers do around the world. Bringing returned Peace Corps volunteers to UMass Boston as graduate students will elevate the stature of our programs in global inclusion and social development to an even higher level.”
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.
“Our programs prepare students for leadership roles in the nonprofit and government sectors,” said William Kiernan, dean of the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development. “As interns, the Coverdell Fellows will translate the knowledge they’re gaining in their graduate studies to the real-world challenges facing people who are excluded here in Massachusetts. They’ll also learn how issues of exclusion play out in other states, across the country, and internationally.”
The Greater Boston metropolitan area was recently recognized as a top producer of Peace Corps volunteers. It ranked No. 6 among regions with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers currently serving overseas. To see the complete 2014 rankings of Peace Corps’ top states and metro areas, visit https://www.peacecorps.gov/news/library/peace-corps-announces-top-volunteer-producing-states-and-metropolitan-areas-in-2014.
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 https://www.peacecorps.gov/volunteer/university-programs/coverdell-fellows.
About UMass Boston
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city’s history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research addressing complex issues, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve more than 16,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit www.umb.edu.
About the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development
In our interconnected world, understanding the causes of social exclusion is crucial. People worldwide are excluded from their communities for reasons including race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, or other factors. Classes at the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development (SGISD) focus on research-supported practices that increase inclusion regionally, nationally, and around the world. Instruction is delivered on campus, online, and through international exchange programs. To learn more, visit www.umb.edu/sgisd.
About the Peace Corps
The 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.