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.”

 

Meet Your Recruiter: Patrick Starr

The “Meet Your Recruiter” series helps prospective Peace Corps applicants discover more about the Peace Corps recruiter for their region. Recruiter Patrick Starr works with applicants in Ithaca, NY.

Patrick Starr left the corporate world behind to serve in the Peace Corps. As a Volunteer in the West African nation of Benin, he hoped to “bring some international flavor” to his resume while making a difference in a community overseas.

When he arrived in Benin, Patrick realized that he would need to overcome language and cultural barriers in order to ensure the success of his projects.

“I was stationed with a newly-formed association of farmers who farmed a local plant called Moringa,” said Patrick, who served from 2010 to 2012. “My counterparts did not understand why we should spend money printing out brochures, attending national festivals, or traveling around the country doing a roadshow.”

After overcoming the language obstacles and working with the farmers to develop a marketing plan for the organization, Patrick found that his service in Benin surpassed his grandest expectations. “It was a fantastic experience,” he said as he grinned from ear to ear. The organization became so successful as a result of Patrick’s collaboration that the members were able to invest in a farm dedicated to Moringa production.

As a Peace Corps representative at Cornell University, Patrick comes straight to the point when he’s talking with Cornell students about Peace Corps service.

“Do it now,” he said. When it comes to the application process, “it makes sense to get started earlier rather than later.”

If you have questions about Peace Corps service and the application process, contact Cornell University representative Patrick Starr at peacecorps@cornell.edu

Meet Your Recruiter: Carey Clinton

The “Meet Your Recruiter” series helps prospective Peace Corps applicants discover more about the Peace Corps recruiter for their region. Recruiter Carey Clinton works with applicants in New York City.

Although he was assigned to work with a museum during his Peace Corps service in the Eastern European nation of Bulgaria, Carey Clinton found that the greatest satisfaction came from working with children at the local orphanage.

Told that he didn’t need any experience and should just treat the youngsters “like kids,” Carey threw himself in to his unexpected assignment.  “Working at the orphanage was equally the most gratifying experience and the most heart-rending experience,” Carey explained.

Carey served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bulgaria from 2005 to 2007. As a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Development Volunteer, he made a difference in his community through advising an Archeological and historical museum. His work with Turkish and Romanian youth at an orphanage was a secondary project, the term used to describe activities that a Peace Corps Volunteer takes on in addition to their primary assignment.

“Secondary projects are vital, not just for the Volunteer but for Peace Corps in general,” he said. “You can find your own passion without even realizing it.”

Today, Carey is a Peace Corps recruiter in New York City. He discusses his experiences living and working in Bulgaria with men and women who are interested in pursuing Peace Corps service. At the end of the day, he believes the passion for service drives the most qualified applicants.

“The thing that makes you the strongest candidate isn’t necessarily what you put in the application but what you’ve done before the application and what you’ve done to prepare yourself and the research you’ve done for Peace Corps service. That desire to serve is essential.”

For questions about Peace Corps service and the application process, contact Carey Clinton at cclinton@peacecorps.gov