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 up to full tuition plus a $22,000 stipend). Coverdell Fellows are named after intent to matriculate decisions are made.

For more information on the Coverdell Fellows Program, visit the Peace Corps website.


Meet our current Coverdell Fellows:

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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Liam Comer-Weaver

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Liam joined the Peace Corps in 2017, and he spent the two years serving as a Teaching English, Leadership, and Life Skills volunteer in western Panama’s indigenous reservation, comarca Ngäbe-Buglé. There, he worked with teachers and university students to improve English-teaching methodology within his community of service. He also partnered with Panama’s Ministry of Health and the NGO Hands for Global Health to expand access to HIV treatment and other medical care on the Ngabe-Bugle reservation. 

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Deanna Johnson

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Deanna served in Ecuador with the Peace Corps as an English Education Volunteer, where she worked alongside Ecuadorian English teachers at public schools to improve their methodologies and increase teaching efficacy in the classroom. While in Ecuador, Deanna also worked to promote leadership, health, and gender equity amongst teens by collaborating with other volunteers to plan and institute Ecuador’s first-ever national project following the Peace Corps’ Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) and Boys Respecting Others (BRO) initiatives. She also began to study firsthand the ways in which community ideology and social media impact the lives of refugees moving into new countries and communities.

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Emily Schiller

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Emily served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia, where she worked with the Dilijan Community Center and helped create a profitable women’s empowerment social enterprise from the ground up. 

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