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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA ranks top in recruits

In addition to commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps this year, the UA set another milestone last week, becoming the university with the most Peace Corps Fellows.

There are 58 fellows enrolled at the UA studying in various departments and colleges including public heath, education and agriculture.

“”We’re really proud of the community we have here in Tucson,”” said Grace Rice, an assistant of the UA Peace Corps Fellows. “”It’s nice being recognized as the number-one fellows program in the nation.””  

A fellow is a former Peace Corps volunteer who has returned to the United States and is pursuing a graduate or doctoral degree. It is estimated that about 200 fellows have been enrolled in the UA’s program since it began taking applicants in 2000.

The UA’s Peace Corps Fellows program remains one of the most viable in the nation to attract former volunteers by offering tuition assistance for fellows pursuing degrees. In the last few years, the program has been able to cover full base tuition for all its participants.

“”We are really competitive in that respect,”” Rice said. “”A lot of schools have different awards that they offer for being a returning Peace Corps volunteer and ours is actually one of the best.””

A quarter of the fellows who are enrolled at the UA are seeking degrees in public health.

Rice, who is also a graduate student in the College of Public Health, thinks this is because of former volunteers who want to help their community even after their time in the Peace Corps is completed.

“”I think a lot of people come out of the Peace Corps wanting to continue their service, and want to keep working for the non-profit or human services field,”” Rice said.

Ashley Raasch, a fellow seeking a Master of Fine Arts degree in photography, served as a volunteer in Paraguay from 2006 to 2008 before returning to school. Raasch choose to join the fellows program because she decided she wanted to continue her education after ending her stint with the Peace Corps.

“”A lot of the reasons why I like it here is because of the fellows program,”” Raasch said. “”It’s nice to know that you are surrounded with people who have gone through similar experiences.””

In order to remain an active member in the program, fellows are required to intern at various nonprofit or human service organizations for the duration of their studies. Each fellow must complete as least 450 service hours per year. These hours do not include service projects run through the fellows program.   

“”We have done service projects with a huge variety of organizations in Tucson, and we really appreciate and value those connections,”” Rice said.

The Peace Corps Fellows also host a few events on campus every year including the Peace Corps Fair that takes place the first week in March. This year for the fair, the Fellows created an art exhibit that showcased the time they spent in the Peace Corps. The exhibit is currently on tour at various library locations in Tucson. 

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