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Peace Corps program attracts volunteers

Returning Peace Corps volunteers looking for a graduate school have had their eyes on the University, as the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program gives monetary assistance to returning Peace Corp members.

The Peace Corps is an organization in which people volunteer to participate in humanitarian efforts around the world.

Dorothy Mayne, a graduate student studying cross-cultural and international education, is a member of the fellows program.

Mayne taught English in Madagascar from 2008 to 2011 during her work with the Peace Corps.

Mayne said she stumbled upon the University while searching for universities in Ohio.

“I kind of found out [about the University] by accident, I wasn’t looking for it,” she said.

She noticed the University had the Fellows program and enrolled because of it.

“I wouldn’t have come here if there weren’t a Fellows program,” she said.

To be eligible for the program, volunteers must serve a full term, which is 27 months, said Annabel Khouri, Peace Corp recruiter for northern Ohio.

Although people do have to serve the full 27 months to enter the program, there are exceptions for those who face complications beyond their control, such as family emergencies and medical issues.

“[The Peace Corps] is a great way to gain practical, real world work experience and … make a difference abroad,” Khouri said.

When the program started at the University in 2008, it only allowed degrees in art and education, Khouri said. This year the program expanded to include five more degrees: Spanish, business administration, cross-cultural and international education, food and nutrition, public administration and American culture studies.

The Fellows program is a scholarship that falls under the Master of Arts in Cross-Cultural and International Education programs, said Brian Childs, assistant director of Graduate and Executive Programs.

The MACIE program deals with graduate students and helps them learn how to educate people around the world.

The University looked into expanding the program by working with the Peace Corps, Childs said. The University wanted to explore this option more and eventually adopted the Fellows program, he said.

There are currently 20 students who are members of the Fellows program, Khouri said.

These students are from all over the country, Mayne said.

“[The Fellows program] is bringing a lot more diversity,” she said.

The Fellows program covers her tuition and gives her a monthly stipend of roughly $830.

Mayne said the stipend amount tends to change every year depending on the University’s budget. All members of the program also get a graduate assistantship in their field of study.

Although graduate students do get benefits, they must also do volunteer work, Childs said.

Mayne works at a YMCA summer day camp in Dayton, Ohio, for her volunteer work.

The volunteer work brings a positive impact to the community, Childs said.

“It gives [Fellows program members] a chance to learn this new field and apply their Peace Corps service back to the American community,” he said.

The program also is a positive thing for the University, Mayne said. She thinks it’s good for the University because it helps to bring people in who normally would not have enrolled.

“It’s an exciting way for us to bring students who otherwise wouldn’t have come to BGSU,” Childs said.

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