The Peace Corps today announced the launch of a new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program in partnership with the Drexel University School of Law. The program will provide graduate school scholarships to returned Peace Corps volunteers who complete a degree-related co-op or clinic placement in an underserved American community while they pursue their studies.
“The Peace Corps is excited to extend this opportunity to returned volunteers in partnership with Drexel University School of Law to support continued public service and education,” Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “The Coverdell Fellows Program gives returned volunteers the chance to build on their classroom experience by sharing their unique knowledge and skills with local organizations in need.”
Selected Coverdell Fellows will have an opportunity to earn a Juris Doctor degree and will receive a 75 percent tuition discount. This is Drexel University’s first such partnership with the Peace Corps.
“I can’t think of a better partnership,” said Roger Dennis, Dean of the Drexel University School of Law. “Returned Peace Corps volunteers already have demonstrated tremendous commitment to community service that will enable them to work as very effective attorneys. Drexel Law’s co-op, clinic and pro bono service programs provide an uncommonly rich variety of opportunities that allow returned Peace Corps volunteers to gain firsthand experience advocating for vulnerable members of society.”
Co-op or clinic placements in underserved communities are an integral part of each Fellow’s degree. By sharing their Peace Corps experience and global perspective with the communities they serve here in the United States, returned volunteers are supporting the Peace Corps’ Third Goal commitment to strengthen Americans' understanding of the world and its people.
Professional placements at non-profits and government organizations also help students further develop their skills. Drexel University School of Law has over 100 co-op program partners including the Homeless Advocacy Project, Community Legal Services, Nationalities Service Center, Regional Housing Legal Services, the SeniorLAWCenter, and Women Against Abuse Legal Center. The law school also offers clinic placements with the Defender Association of Philadelphia, which represents indigent criminal defendants, and the Family Law Unit of Philadelphia Legal Assistance, which represents victims of family violence.
The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program began in 1985 at Teachers College, Columbia University and now includes more than 80 university partners in 31 states and the District of Columbia. The program is specifically reserved for students who have already completed their Peace Corps service abroad. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov/fellows.