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    Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Fellows Program

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    Monmouth University is a Peace Corps partner school. Upon joining, Monmouth became the 50th institution to offer the Peace Corps Fellows option to returned Peace Corps volunteers. Peace Corps Fellows, conceived at Columbia University Teacher's College in 1985, allows returning Peace Corps volunteers to pursue subsidized masters and doctoral degrees while using the skills garnered during Peace Corps service in underserved communities here in the U.S.

    Monmouth’s program, housed in the School of Social Work, will grant successful Fellows Master of Social Work (MSW) degrees with concentrations available in clinical practice with families and children, as well as international and community development. A joint master of arts in public policy degree is also available, as is a joint master of divinity degree in association with Drew University.

    Dr. Robin Mama, dean of the School of Social Work, said, “We are thrilled to partner with the Peace Corps in the Fellows program. We enjoy having the returning Peace Corps volunteers in the Monmouth community as graduate students in our Master of Social Work program. Their experience will benefit the classroom as well as the community where their Peace Corps experience will definitely be put to use in their field internships.” Volunteers who have satisfactorily completed their Peace Corps service will be eligible for the program which, besides class work towards the degree, will include internships geared toward assisting individuals, families, and communities in New Jersey to address social issues. Fellows will be awarded either a Resident Assistantship which will cover room and board or a Graduate Assistantship which will provide 6 credit hours tuition remission.

    When Monmouth University first became a partner school, Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter said, "I am enthusiastic about our new partnership with Monmouth University. With this partnership, the Peace Corps will have the opportunity to further develop the skills of volunteers in the area of social work. I am confident that Monmouth University will be a strong [Peace Corps Fellows] partner.”

    An integral part of the Peace Corps Fellows program is a substantive, degree-related internship in a high-need community. With their cross-cultural skills, adaptability, and desire to work for improvement, returning volunteers are valuable assets at their universities. The program has established partnerships with more than 50 universities nationwide. As one of Peace Corps’ domestic programs, Peace Corps Fellows enables returning volunteers to pursue graduate degrees at a reduced cost while aiding underserved U.S. communities through internships.

    Monmouth University and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

    •  Sharda Jetwani served as a Children, Youth and Families Program volunteer in Costa Rica from 2003-2005. Sharda chose to seek an MSW at Monmouth University because of the program's focus on human rights through both global and local perspectives. After completing the International Community Development track, she worked for different organizations, eventually landing at Lunch Break in Red Bank, a soup kitchen that works to alleviate hunger and lead its clients to self-sufficiency and healthier lifestyles. As Program Director, she currently oversees all programming, food pantry sign ups, and clothing operations, in addition to supervising interns. 
    • Bobbie Arrington is an RPCV who served in South Africa from 2002-2004 as a Community Resource volunteer. Upon returning from South Africa, Bobbie continued to immerse herself in social justice related community work. She chose Monmouth University School of Social Work as a place to continue her education due to its Peace Corps Fellows Program and its dedication to social justice and human rights. After working as a clinical social worker she returned to work full time at Monmouth as an instructor where she still serves as a specialist professor.
    • Tom Sunchuk served as a Youth Development volunteer in the Philippines. Tom chose to go to Monmouth University because of their Peace Corps Fellows Program as well as their international field work opportunities. While getting his MSW at Monmouth, he was able to do field work in Da Nang, Vietnam with East Meets West Foundation. After graduating, he served as a Peace Corps Response volunteer in Suriname. He currently works as a Program Manager for City Year in Jacksonville, FL. Tom says that his Monmouth education provided him "with the skills to look at the world with a constant lens of social justice and human rights". 
    • Mary Horn served as a Water and Sanitation volunteer in Mali from 2010-2012. Mary worked on improving sanitation practices in her community, as well as helping organize the building of 35 latrines. She is currently working towards her MSW degree at Monmouth University. She chose Monmouth because of its focus on human rights and social justice. Although she plans on becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, she understands the importance of social justice to the field of social work.
    • Brandon Green served as a Non-Formal Education volunteer in Burkina Faso from 2011-2012. Brandon chose Monmouth University to pursue his MSW for its focus on human rights and social justice, its International Community Development track, as well as its Peace Corps Fellows Program. He believes that social work is rooted in social justice and human rights and that these issues are relevant throughout the diverse profession. Upon graduation, Brandon is looking forward to taking what Monmouth University and his Peace Corps experience have taught him and begin his career as a social worker in the Charlotte, NC area. 

    Support provided for Fellows

     What will be provided to Fellows in fellowships, reduced tuition, or stipends? What are the sources for each type of support? 

    Monmouth University is proud to offer two Peace Corps Fellow positions: 

    Peace Corps Fellow Resident Assistants will receive room and board. Training for this position will be provided by the Office of Residential Life before and during each semester. Resident Assistants are required to respond to residents' needs and ensure that Monmouth University's rules and regulations are being upheld. They are also expected to develop and assist in programming in the residence halls. Programing is designed to build community and foster diversity and educational, social and emotional growth.

    Peace Corps Fellow Graduate Assistants will receive 6 credits of remitted tuition, as well as a stipend. Graduate Assistants' responsibilities within the School of Social Work will be determined based on the skills and expertise they developed during their Peace Corps experience. They can vary from working in the School's community garden to developing and managing content for its website. (NB: Graduate Assistantships are renewed on a semester by semester basis provided the student maintains an eligible graduate GPA of 3.000 or better)


    Application Procedures

    Former Peace Corps volunteers who are interested in pursuing their MSW at Monmouth and applying to be a Peace Corps Fellow must first apply to the MSW program at Monmouth. This application can be completed online. All applicants must provide transcripts, an essay and three letters of recommendation. The applications are read on a rolling basis beginning in January and continuing until the program is full. The applications are read by a faculty admissions committee and interviews are requested if faculty have questions about the application. For more information on applying to the MSW program please see the Monmouth University Graduate Admissions homepage.

    In order to be considered for the Peace Corps Fellow programs, all applicants must also apply for a Graduate Assistantship before May 1st. They must make a deposit to Monmouth University before they are offered a Graduate Assistantship. Peace Corps Fellow applicants are also required to have an interview as their acceptance equals an appointment for an assistantship. The interview will include representatives from the faculty, field staff and Residential Life staff. All parties must agree that the applicant is appropriate for the program and the Residential Life Program Assistantship in order for the person to be offered the Peace Corps Fellow position.

    At this time, the Peace Corps Fellows Program at Monmouth University is only open to single adults as campus housing cannot accommodate families.

    For more information about Peace Corps Fellows, please visit the Peace Corps Web site at www.peacecorps.gov/fellows.

    For questions about the MSW Program and the Peace Corps Fellows at Monmouth University, please contact Robin Mama, dean of the School of Social Work, at rmama@monmouth.edu.