Peace Corps and SHU launch fellows program

Seton Hall has partnered with the Peace Corps to launch a new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program that provides financial assistance to returned Peace Corps volunteers who want to pursue graduate school.

“The Coverdell program emphasizes service by returned Peace Corps volunteers in underserviced American communities, while returned Peace Corps volunteers study in Master’s programs,” Andrea Bartoli, dean of the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, said in an email interview.

Bartoli said the School of Diplomacy and the Peace Corps partnership started after the October 2014 visit to the school of the Peace Corps’ former Associate Director, Helen Lowman. The program is set to begin in fall 2016, according to Bartoli.

Emily Webb, Peace Corps public affairs specialist, said the Coverdell fellowship is, “a valuable opportunity for volunteer students and residents,” that offers “a wide range of community service and educational opportunity.”

Fellows will work in public health, youth development, nonprofit management, literacy and education. Fellows are eligible for internships such as ESL tutoring with adults and children, giving medical case management and helping to bring in donations, Bartoli said.

Fellows selected for the program will receive waived graduate program application fee and a scholarship in the amount of $6,800 per year for two years.

“The School selected the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program because it is a natural fit for the School of Diplomacy,” Bartoli said. “The School of Diplomacy requires academic internships as part of the M.A. curriculum and holds internship partnerships with organizations that fulfill this work.”

Bartoli added these factors were crucial to the approval of the proposal for a partnership with the Peace Corps through the Fellows Program.

A press release regarding the launch of the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program at SHU, provided by Webb, said the Fellows Program began in 1985 at Teachers College, Columbia University.

The program partners with more than 90 universities around the country, and more than 4,500 returned volunteers have participated, according to the press release.

The fellowship allows for students to undergo graduate studies at the University and partake in internships in underdeveloped communities, Webb said.

The Diplomacy School’s proposal was approved last November, according to Bartoli. The approval process, planning and proposal writing took one year, he said.

Webb said those who return from the Peace Corps can share what they have learned and, “expand on their skills and put them into practice.” This allows for returned volunteers to build on their communication and critical thinking skills, she said.

Bartoli said Coverdell fellows are full-time Master of Arts students at the School of Diplomacy and will participate in dedicated internships offered by the School’s partner organizations, the International Rescue Committee and the American Red Cross.

One of the school’s partner organizations will be selected by Coverdell Fellows for the internship.

In addition to the IRC, The American Red Cross is providing internships to Coverdell Fellows in its home fire preparedness initiative, according to Bartoli.

These internships will count for academic credit toward a master’s degree, Bartoli said. All returned Peace Corps volunteers can apply to the program in which the School of Diplomacy is currently reviewing applications for fall 2016.

According to the Peace Corps website, the next preferred deadline for the spring 2016 Coverdell program for SHU is October 31. Graduate applications are considered on a rolling basis, according to the website.

The website stated that an application form, resume and description of service from Peace
Corps is required for the program. Additionally, transcripts, a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation and standardized test scores, such as the GRE, GMAT or LSAT are needed.

Interested students can volunteer for the Peace Corps by filling out an online application on the Peace Corps website.

Students can also reach out to local recruiters, Webb said. Students, “Get to choose where and how to serve,” and are matched with a program that best fits their qualifications and needs, Webb added.

Samantha Todd can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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