Peace Corps Announces New Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Partnership with the School of Visual Arts, NYC

MFA Design for Social Innovation Department will provide scholarships to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

The Peace Corps launched a new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program in partnership with the MFA Design for Social Innovation Department at the School of Visual Arts, New York (SVA). The program will provide graduate school scholarships to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who complete a degree-related internship in an underserved American community while they pursue their studies.

SVA will offer selected Fellows a Master in Fine Arts in Design for Social Innovation degree. This is the inaugural partnership between the Peace Corps and the School of Visual Arts. MFA in Design for Social Innovation at SVA is the first such Master of Fine Arts program in the country and has quickly demonstrated a notable ability to attract social innovators from around the world and train them to use the skills and process of design to become creative problem solvers in business and society.

“For over fifty years the Peace Corps has put into practice values that are vital to us at MFA Design for Social Innovation. We are honored to offer this scholarship to Peace Corps Volunteers, to help them turn those values into a career using design to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world,” said Cheryl Heller, Founding Chair of MFA Design for Social Innovation at SVA.

“The School of Visual Arts has a long tradition of combining advanced design education with fostering social responsibility, so I couldn’t be happier to welcome Coverdell Fellows to the SVA community,” said Jeffrey Nesin, Provost, SVA NYC.

A Fellow, who will be selected yearly for the program, will receive a $20,000 scholarship toward two years of graduate study. 

Internships in underserved communities are an integral part of each fellow’s degree. By sharing their Peace Corps experience and global perspective with the communities they serve here in the United States, returned volunteers are supporting the Peace Corps’ Third Goal commitment to strengthen Americans’ understanding of the world and its people. Professional placements at non-profits and government organizations also help students further develop their skills.

Students in MFA Design for Social Innovation in a design workshop

Students in MFA Design for Social Innovation in a design workshop

To learn more about the Coverdell Fellows Program at the School of Visual Arts, contact: Hila Mehr, Director of Operations at MFA Design for Social Innovation, hmehr@sva.edu.

Peace Corps Announces New Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Partnership with Drexel University School of Law

The Peace Corps announced the launch of a new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program in partnership with the Drexel University School of Law. The program will provide graduate school scholarships to returned Peace Corps volunteers who complete a degree-related co-op or clinic placement in an underserved American community while they pursue their studies.

 “The Peace Corps is excited to extend this opportunity to returned volunteers in partnership with Drexel University School of Law to support continued public service and education,” Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “The Coverdell Fellows Program gives returned volunteers the chance to build on their classroom experience by sharing their unique knowledge and skills with local organizations in need.”

Selected Coverdell Fellows will have an opportunity to earn a Juris Doctor degree and will receive a 75 percent tuition discount. This is Drexel University’s first such partnership with the Peace Corps.

“I can’t think of a better partnership,” said Roger Dennis, Dean of the Drexel University School of Law. “Returned Peace Corps volunteers already have demonstrated tremendous commitment to community service that will enable them to work as very effective attorneys. Drexel Law’s co-op, clinic and pro bono service programs provide an uncommonly rich variety of opportunities that allow returned Peace Corps volunteers to gain firsthand experience advocating for vulnerable members of society.”

Co-op or clinic placements in underserved communities are an integral part of each Fellow’s degree. By sharing their Peace Corps experience and global perspective with the communities they serve here in the United States, returned volunteers are supporting the Peace Corps’ Third Goal commitment to strengthen Americans’ understanding of the world and its people.

Professional placements at non-profits and government organizations also help students further develop their skills. Drexel University School of Law has over 100 co-op program partners including the Homeless Advocacy Project, Community Legal Services, Nationalities Service Center, Regional Housing Legal Services, the SeniorLAW Center, and Women Against Abuse Legal Center. The law school also offers clinic placements with the Defender Association of Philadelphia, which represents indigent criminal defendants, and the Family Law Unit of Philadelphia Legal Assistance, which represents victims of family violence.

Drexel University is a major research university located in Philadelphia’s urban core. The university has 25,500 undergraduate and graduate students, 14 colleges and schools, and a 74-acre main campus in the University City district of Philadelphia. For nearly a century, since 1919, cooperative education has been a hallmark of Drexel University. Committed to joining theory and practice, Drexel now operates one of the largest cooperative education programs in the nation, providing students with real-life experience in their chosen fields and enabling employers to hire graduates with prior experience and good professional skills.

The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program began in 1985 at Teachers College, Columbia University and now includes more than 80 university partners in 31 states and the District of Columbia. The program is specifically reserved for students who have already completed their Peace Corps service abroad. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov/fellows

To learn more about the Coverdell Fellows Program at Drexel University School of Law contact: Issa DiSciullo, mariaisabel.disciullo@drexel.edu.

Meet Your Recruiter: James Kostenblatt

Following the September 11th attacks, New York native James Kostenblatt felt compelled to take action.

“I was studying abroad in Ecuador,” he explained. “I decided I wanted to work long-term toward world peace, and…the mission of the Peace Corps is to promote world peace and friendship, so it fell right in line.”

James served as a Teaching English as a Second Language Volunteer in the African nation of Mozambique from 2005 to 2009. While he was assigned to teach English to high school students from grades nine through twelve, James let his students dictate the kinds of projects he would help facilitate.

“They wanted to do English drama, they wanted to write plays in English and present them to the school,” he said. “Then that grew into an English newspaper that we published weekly. We hand-wrote everything and we posted it on a wall where once a week students could read the newspaper.”

Now the Peace Corps representative at New York University, James still believes in the power of Peace Corps.

“You live, you learn, and you work in the community. You’re shopping at the same markets, you’re taking the same public transit, you’re eating the same food, you’re having conversations every day at the water pump…there’s nothing quite like Peace Corps.”

If you have questions about Peace Corps service and the application process, contact NYU campus representative James Kostenblatt at peacecorps@nyu.edu

Peace Corps Volunteer Promotes Service to Hometown Crowd

Peace Corps Volunteer Haleigh Duggan recently had a unique opportunity to tell a hometown audience in Pennsylvania about her service in Mozambique. Appearing via Skype at a forum atLehigh University, she described her life as a Volunteer and her work as an English teacher at a secondary school in her rural community.

Local college and high schools students attended the noontime presentation, which also featured Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet and U.S. Congressman Charlie Dent (PA-15).

Haleigh explained that, in her village, most of the homes are built of mud and straw and have no running water – she lives in one of the few with electricity. But the Lower Macungie Township resident also said that, as a single woman with a career, she has become a role model for the young women in her community.

Haleigh hopes to pursue international development or human rights in Africa following her Peace Corps service.

The Lehigh event also included Returned Volunteer Ryan Ruggiero, who completed three years of service in South Africa in April 2013. The Lehigh alumna discussed her work to promote HIV prevention among out-of-school youth and rural women through peer education, awareness campaigns and skills development. She now works for the General Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Federal Government.

Haleigh Duggan speaks to the audience at Lehigh University

Haleigh Duggan, appearing on the large screen, listens to Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet speak at Lehigh University

The Acting Director, who served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Western Samoa from 1981-1983, told the students to consider Peace Corps service as a resume builder. “The Peace Corps is not just a chance to make a difference in some of the most forgotten corners of our world, it is also a training ground unlike any other and a launching pad for a 21st century career,” she insisted. “The Peace Corps experience is a pathway to unlocking potential you may not even know you have.”