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Advancing Educational Opportunities for Those Who Serve

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Cal State Fullerton has partnered with the Peace Corps to offer advanced educational opportunities to those who have served in the Peace Corps. As part of the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, the University will provide financial assistance and professional experience — via internships in underserved communities — to former Peace Corps volunteers accepted into the graduate degree program in anthropology.

Fellows admitted to the CSUF program will receive graduate assistantships and/or paid internships and up to six units of credit based on their volunteer experience. Non-California residents accepted in the program will have their out-of-state-fees waived, explained John Patton, professor of anthropology and coordinator of the evolutionary anthropology program.

“We value the cross-cultural experiences of returning Peace Corps volunteers,” said Patton. “An appreciation and respect for other cultures and peoples, and participating in cross-cultural experiences, are fundamental to graduate work in anthropology. Our faculty members are actively engaged in research in non-Western cultures, and encourage all of our students to design their master’s research to include fieldwork in other cultures when possible.

“Coverdell Fellows will be expected to incorporate and build upon their Peace Corps experiences in their studies and research projects,” he added. “They will be able to include observations, experiences and data from their Peace Corps service in their thesis or project. They also can apply what they learned as a Peace Corps volunteer to service in underserved communities in Southern California as part of our Urban Agriculture Community-Based Research Experience (U-ACRE) program.”

The two-year graduate program also will provide faculty mentors for up to five fellows per year, Patton noted.

Since 1961, nearly 400 graduates from Cal State Fullerton have taken part in the program and 10 are currently serving in the field. California was the No. 1 state in total volunteers; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana were ranked third in the Top Metropolitan Areas/total volunteers for 2016, according to a ranking last month by the Peace Corps.