Mount Holyoke College has teamed up with the Peace Corps to launch a new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program partnership, an initiative that provides graduate school scholarships to Peace Corps volunteers.
Selected fellows will now have an opportunity to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) from Mount Holyoke’s Extension Program. These fellows will receive an award covering half the cost of tuition and complete a degree-related internship in an underserved American community, allowing them to expand upon the skills they learned as Peace Corps volunteers.
"Mount Holyoke is thrilled to be joining the group of prestigious institutions that are members of the Coverdell Fellows Program," said MHC President Lynn Pasquerella. "The objectives of the program are in perfect alignment with our mission of using liberal learning for purposeful engagement in the world and fostering the next generation of women leaders. We are very proud to work together to achieve our common objectives."
The Coverdell Fellows who become M.A.T. candidates at Mount Holyoke will participate in an intensive, 11-month, state-approved teacher licensure program that has been designed in collaboration with Expeditionary Learning, said program director and Professor of Psychology and Education Lenore Reilly. The fellows will complete their student teaching in local urban schools, allowing them to bring the skills they acquired during their Peace Corps service back home to make an impact in the United States.
Mount Holyoke has long had an active connection with the Peace Corps. The College ranks eighteenth on the Peace Corps’ 2013 Top Colleges list for small schools—and regularly ranks high on the annual list, which recognizes the highest volunteer-producing U.S. colleges and universities. There are currently 15 alumnae from Mount Holyoke serving as volunteers in Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Malawi, Nicaragua, Paraguay, South Africa, Ukraine, and Zambia; they work in areas including agriculture, education, health, and youth development. Since the agency was founded in 1961, a total of 174 alumnae have served in the Peace Corps.
“The Peace Corps is delighted to have Mount Holyoke as a partner in the Coverdell Fellows Program,” said acting Peace Corps director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “This new partnership enables returned Peace Corps volunteers to continue their work in public service through meaningful internships in underserved American communities . . . (and) to launch a career by combining course work with service.”
The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program started in 1985 at Columbia University’s Teachers College 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 tenure abroad with the Peace Corps. More details can be found on the web site.