The Coverdell Fellowship

Awarded to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

The Jackson Institute for Global Affairs participates in the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program. The fellowships are awarded to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who apply as a Coverdell Fellow.

To be considered, interested RPCVs upload a 500 word-max Peace Corps Fellowship Statement to the online application, indicating how the fellowship fits into their academic and professional plans, and how they plan to fulfill the Coverdell internship requirement.

During their graduate studies, Coverdell Fellows complete a degree-related internship in an underserved American community, allowing them to bring home and expand upon the skills they learned as Peace Corps volunteers. 

At Jackson, Coverdell Fellows receive full tuition (and may receive an additional stipend). Coverdell Fellows may be named after intent to matriculate decisions are made.

For more information on the Coverdell Fellows Program, visit the Peace Corps website or attend an upcoming Jackson webinar for prospective Coverdell Fellows.


Meet our current Coverdell Fellows:

Darryl Alexander

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Darryl served as an Americorps VISTA in Allentown, Pennsylvania, managing a coalition of businesses, nonprofits, and municipal governments focused on engaging girls and minorities in the STEM fields through mentoring programs. He later went on to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia, where he advised NGOs and municipal governments on project planning, grant writing, and program management. He also led a series of environmental activism camps throughout the country and advocated for the needs of fellow volunteers as the chair of the Volunteer Advisory Council. During the protests following the murder of George Floyd, he pivoted to co-found Mutual Aid Houston, an abolitionist organization focused on providing support to black and brown Houstonians most affected by the pandemic.

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Abigail Cohen

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Abby served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a rural community in southwestern Paraguay. As a community economic development volunteer, Abby worked closely with local youth to develop their leadership and entrepreneurship skills, and she facilitated various community development projects with local counterparts, including two capacity building workshops for more than 100 students and teachers. In addition to her work in her community, Abby served on the steering committee for Peace Corps Paraguay’s national entrepreneurship initiative, and she was the regional representative for volunteers in her department.

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Piper O'Keefe

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Piper taught English in a rural Sierra Leonean high school as an education volunteer with the Peace Corps. She additionally worked with local counterparts to implement projects to meet community identified needs for improved literacy, test-taking skills, and gender equity for their middle and high school students. She extended her service in Sierra Leone for a third year to work as Peace Corps’ Volunteer Leader, supporting administration and staff in improving post-wide programming, training, and volunteer support.

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Nellie Petlick

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Nellie served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a small town in south-central Ukraine, where she co-taught English to middle and high school students with her Ukrainian counterparts and worked with them to increase use of communicative methods in the classroom. She also worked on youth development projects, including co-founding a summer camp that taught teenagers from around the country the fundamentals of theatrical art, as well as working on smaller projects to educate youth about gender equality, diversity and acceptance, and HIV/AIDS.

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Sarah Ullom-Minnich

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Sarah became interested in international development while studying abroad in the Ecuadorian Amazon with the Pachaysana Institute, an organization committed to decolonizing study abroad through equitable participatory development partnerships. She later joined the Peace Corps as a Community Organizational Development Volunteer in post-conflict Kosovo, where she served in a Serb minority community. There, her focus was on building employability, project management, and English language capacities for women, youth, and local organizations. She has also worked with non-profits in the U.S. that strive to empower people to escape the cycle of poverty.

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