Peace Corps and the University of Missouri Announce New Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program

CONTACT: Heather Mangan – Public Affairs Specialist –

[COLUMBIA, MO] – The Peace Corps and the University of Missouri 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 American 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 the University of Missouri 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.”

The Coverdell Fellows program at Mizzou will be housed in the Department of Geography and offered to students pursuing a master of art’s degree in geography. Fellows selected for the program will receive a full tuition waiver and work part-time as a graduate assistant.

“The Department of Geography at Mizzou offers a disciplinary perspective that complements the Peace Corps mission and provides the infrastructure, which will position returned Peace Corps Fellows for success through participation in our established programs of research, teaching and service in the geographical sciences,” Soren Laresn, associate professor of geography. “We are excited to be moving forward in partnership with the Peace Corps through our participation in the Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship program”

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.

The Fellows program is a piece of the renewed partnership between Peace Corps and Mizzou. The two institutions launched the first Fellows program at Mizzou during the 2006-2007, but the program was later suspended in January 2016 due to administration restructuring. The Department of Geography is the first department to reestablish the Coverdell Fellows program.

The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program began in 1985 at Teachers College, Columbia University, and now partners with 98 universities across the country. The program is specifically reserved for students who have already completed their Peace Corps service abroad. For more information, visit

To learn more about the Coverdell Fellows Program at the University of Missouri – Columbia, contact: Soren Larson, Department of Geography, at

About the Peace CorpsThe 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 and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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