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Coverdell Fellows Join INTL in Fall 2019

Three Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) will make their Eugene their new home in Fall 2019 – as newly admitted graduate students, joining the International Studies M.A. Program (INTL). The program is looking forward to this new collaboration in learning and serving.

While these are the not the first RPCVs INTL has admitted as graduate students, they are the first official Paul D. Coverdell Fellows.

In 2018, International Studies became an official Coverdell Program, joining more than 200 universities nationwide who offer Coverdell Fellowships. The INTL department commits to providing 1-2 Coverdell Fellowships per year, providing RPCVs the opportunity to do fieldwork serving rural areas of need within the U.S., using skills they learned during their Peace Corps service. Admitted Coverdell Fellows are offered two years of support including: a Graduate Employment Fellowship at .40 FTE, which covers tuition (up to 16 credits per term), a GE salary, and health benefits. Our Coverdell Fellows are assessed a portion of mandatory fees each term.

Welcome the 2019 INTL Coverdell Fellows
Lydia Caudill – Paraguay
“As the granddaughter of immigrants from Colombia and Mexico,” writes Lydia, “I was drawn to food systems within Latin American communities, and in 2011, I became an Agriculture Extension Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in Paraguay, where I learned the most impactful and lasting change is community initiated and driven.”  Following Peace Corps, she was Program Manager of Sherwood Trust, a private foundation that awarded grants to build capacity and ensure local people felt a sense of belonging. Lydia helped create and teach courses for adult learners, making sure they were offered in English and Spanish.

Neti Gupta – Namibia
Neti Gupta completed her Peace Corps service in Namibia, living with a local family and teaching English in rural areas of Namibia. She “worked alongside local counterparts in developing community-based clubs and camps such as: Youth Exploring and Achieving in Health.” Her Peace Corps mentor described her as “an experienced leader and manager, working alongside and inspiring her community to accomplish fantastic results.”

Ellen Ziesenhene – Guinea
Ellen Ziesenhene spent the last two years working on home garden projects with the Peace Corps in Guinea. Ellen was key in developing a tool library for women farmers. Her passion is food security, motivated by her natural curiosity and her drive to solve problems. When an Ebola outbreak threatened, Ellen provided extra support close to the outbreak’s epicenter. After a STOMP Malaria training in 2017, Ellen and other volunteers compiled a malaria volunteer handbook aimed at prevention. And Ellen assisted in a program on sexual rights for teenage girls.

The cumulative experience of these and future RPCVs will add a depth and breadth to the International Studies M.A. program, even as they gain knowledge and skills to apply to new careers once they graduate.

Past RPCV INTL MA Graduates
International Studies has long enjoyed the benefits of admitting internationally experienced graduate students. Some have arrived in Eugene as: 1) international students from countries outside the U.S., 2) U.S. students who have traveled or worked abroad during or after their undergraduate work, and 3) RPCVs.

Katie Holder – Zambia
Katie Holder (INTL M.A., 2017) entered the International Studies M.A. program, after completing her Peace Corps work in Zambia. She was able to use the language she studied while in her Peace Corps assignment, Kiikaonde, for her University of Oregon second language competency.