Peace Corps Master's International Program Expands Presence in Michigan and North Carolina

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 26, 2006 Michigan State University and Appalachian State University are the newest Peace Corps Master\'s International university partners, working to train graduate students as volunteers in scarce skills areas.

For the first time, MSU, located in East Lansing, Mich., will offer master\'s of science programs to Peace Corps Master\'s International students through its College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Degree options will include crop and soil sciences, agricultural economics, and community, agriculture, recreation, and resource studies—disciplines in which MSU already offers strong, internationally-focused graduate programs. Students will also have the option to add specializations in international development and environmental science and policy.

Appalachian, located in Boone, N.C., will offer master\'s of arts programs to Peace Corps Master\'s International students through the College of Arts and Sciences and the Reich College of Education. Degree options will include elementary, mathematics, and English education.

Students in the Master\'s International program will spend a year on campus before going overseas to serve for two years with the Peace Corps. All of the students in the program will serve in areas in which demand exceeds the supply of skilled volunteers. After returning to the U.S., students will spend another one to two semesters completing a research project and courses before graduating.

MSU joins Western Michigan University and Michigan Technological University as the third Michigan school to incorporate a Master\'s International program into their curriculum. This year, 71 volunteers are serving from MSU, making the university the eighth highest producer of Peace Corps volunteers for large universities.

"This exciting new program builds on MSU\'s long history as one of the leading institutions in recruiting Peace Corps volunteers and as an institution committed to problem-solving engagement around the globe," said International Studies and Programs Acting Dean Jeffrey Riedinger. "This program will better equip Peace Corps volunteers from MSU to make a difference in working to address problems such as environmental degradation, hunger, infectious diseases, limited educational opportunities, and poverty."

Appalachian joins North Carolina State University and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, bringing to three the number of universities in the state training graduate students through the Master\'s International program. This year, 13 volunteers are serving from Appalachian.

"The institution is excited about becoming a Master\'s International university partner. Among the goals of Appalachian\'s graduate school are student participation in international programs and the incorporation of meaningful internships or service learning into the appropriate programs. The MI program will help us to achieve these goals as well as train teachers who have international experience and a global perspective," said Edelma Huntley, Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at Appalachian.

Master\'s International, one of the Peace Corps\' domestic programs, enables individuals to pursue graduate degrees while serving in the Peace Corps. The program has established partnerships with 50 universities nationwide. For more information, please visit the Master\'s International section.

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.

service is a 27-month commitment.

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