Peace Corps Fellows/USA Establishes Second Program in Missouri

June 23, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 23, 2006 Returned Peace Corps volunteers will soon be swelling the ranks of service-learning graduate students at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU), as the Peace Corps Fellows/USA program announced a new partnership with the university. The partnership will strengthen MUs commitment to address real needs within its local community. MU joins the University of Missouris Kansas City campus, which also launched a Fellows/USA program this year.

It is encouraging to witness the rapid growth of the Fellows/USA program, stated Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez. The increase in the number of programs on college campuses is a testament to the willingness of todays students to embrace social responsibility as part of their educational growth.

A major contribution of the Peace Corps from its inception in the early 1960s was the contribution that returned volunteers would make in their role within the U.S., says University of Missouri-Columbia Chancellor Brady J. Deaton. The Peace Corps Fellows/USA program is a welcome partnership for MU and helps fulfill that promise in a way that contributes to a vigorous educational environment at our University. As a former volunteer, I am very pleased to find ways that strengthen the mutual goals of the Peace Corps and the University of Missouri-Columbia. Chancellor Deaton served in Thailand from 1962 to 1964.

Upon completion of their service, returning Peace Corps volunteers will enroll as Fellows in a wide array of masters-level academic programs. Options include: public affairs, geography, social work, and agricultural economics. Both masters and doctoral degrees will be available in rural sociology, and political science.

Service-learning, a major initiative at MU with more than 2,800 students taking part in the 2005-2006 school year, is also a key component of the Peace Corps Fellows/USA program. Fellows will work in underserved communities as a way to enhance their education while giving back to the citizens of the greater Columbia area.

Peace Corps volunteers are problem solvers who are able to work with people of varying backgrounds. We couldnt ask for a better combination of skills to address the challenges in our community, says Vicky Riback Wilson, service-learning and fellowship coordinator at MU and a returned Peace Corps volunteer (Uganda 1968-1970). As one of the largest service-learning programs in the country, we welcome the addition of Peace Corps Fellows in addressing the challenges of our 200 community partner agencies and the people they serve.

As one of the Peace Corps domestic programs, Fellows/USA enables returned volunteers to pursue graduate degrees at reduced cost while aiding underserved U.S. communities through internships. The program has established partnerships with more than 40 universities nationwide. For more information about Fellows/USA, please visit the Peace Corps Web site at www.peacecorps.gov/fellows.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 45-year legacy of service at home and abroad, and a 30-year high for volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 182,000 volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 138 countries where volunteers have served. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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