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How Illinois State’s Peace Corps programs can change everything

Illinois State, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois


Lloyd Banwart, M.S. ’12, uses data to make a difference.

Whenever a private foundation or the U.S. government sends money to help fight hunger in Africa, for example, they want to know if the money was well spent. That’s where Banwart comes in.

He had global development credentials long before he joined TANGO International as a research associate, working from 2005-2007 in the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteer, followed by a 3,000-mile bike ride across Southeast Asia.

But he needed more than a stamped passport to jump-start his career. He needed hard skills and job experience. So he enrolled in Illinois State’s Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows Program, specifically built for former Peace Corps volunteers like him.

Banwart is one of 117 graduates of Illinois State’s two Peace Corps master’s programs, Fellows and Master’s International, which date back to 1994. Politics and Government Professor Emeritus Robert W. Hunt worked with Western Illinois University to launch the Fellows program—the first in the country to focus on community and economic development. It was followed three years later by Master’s International.

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