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New Peace Corps and Penn Nursing Partnership

The Peace Corps and University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) announced the launch of a new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program that will provide graduate school scholarships to returned Peace Corps volunteers.

All program Fellows will complete internships in underserved American communities while they complete their studies, allowing them to bring home and expand upon the skills they learned as volunteers.

“We are delighted to partner with Penn Nursing to support our returned volunteers as they pursue higher education and continue their commitment to service,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Communities are moved forward by the selflessness of volunteers, and returned Peace Corps volunteers have unique skills and experiences to offer their local communities.”

Fellows selected for the program will receive a $10,000 one-time scholarship for the second degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing option and an $8,000 one-time scholarship for the Master of Science in Nursing option.
“We are excited to be a part of the Coverdell Fellows program and for the opportunity to recruit more Peace Corp volunteers,” said Penn Nursing Dean Antonia Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Their global experience and commitment to underserved communities are congruent with Penn and Penn Nursing’s mission to prepare leaders and impact local communities.”

Through their internships, Coverdell Fellows apply what they learn in the classroom to a professional setting. They not only gain valuable, hands-on experience that makes them more competitive in today’s job market, but they also further the Peace Corps mission. By sharing their global perspective with the communities they serve, Fellows help fulfill Peace Corps’ Third Goal commitment to strengthen Americans’ understanding of the world and its people.

Students will complete their required internship in greater Philadelphia, Lancaster, PA or the neighboring states of New Jersey and Delaware. Internship placements in Appalachia or the Indian Health Services may also be available.

In 2007, Peace Corps signed its initial Coverdell Fellows agreement with the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to the new Nursing options, the university host Coverdell Fellows in the Fels Institute of Government, the International Educational Development Program, and the School of Medicine—Public Health option.

The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program began in 1985 at Teachers College, Columbia University and now includes more than 90 university partners across the country, from the District of Columbia to Hawaii to Alaska. The program is specifically reserved for students who have already completed their Peace Corps service abroad. Since the inception of the program, more than 4,500 returned volunteers have participated and made a difference across the country. For more information, visit

To learn more about the Coverdell Fellows Program at Penn Nursing, contact: Nancy Biller, Assistant Dean of Global Health Affairs, or 215-573-3050.