Tag Archives: Peace Corps

Graduate Student’s VISTA Broadens as She Earns a Degree Through Volunteer Service

A graduate student at Michigan Tech, Rhianna Williams, is earning a master’s degree far from the ivory tower of the classroom. She’s working as a volunteer with the US Office of Surface Mining VISTA program, helping residents of the Uncompahgre Watershed learn about protecting their water resources.

“I joined for the opportunity to practice what I’d learned in the class out in the field,” she says.

Williams conducts watershed education programs in the schools and monthly water sampling for Riverwatch, a group that monitors the river’s conditions along a 10-mile stretch of the Upper Uncompahgre River.

“I’ve enjoyed working with kids,” she says. “We work with local third-grade teachers to take the class out water sampling every month. They were really excited to know that the data they collected would be used to make decisions about their river.”

VISTA, originally Volunteers in Service to America, was founded in 1965 as a national service program designed to fight poverty in the US. In 1993, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs.

The OSM/VISTA and Peace Corps Coverdell programs offer graduate students the opportunity to combine academic study with supervised, practical field experience and research. Michigan Tech has partnered with OSM/VISTA programs since 2012

For the full story, see Michigan Tech News.



Michigan Tech’s Peace Corps Masters Internation Program Tops in Nation-Again

For the ninth year in a row, Michigan Technological University ranks as the number one university nationwide for the number of Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) students currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers. Michigan Tech has 32 graduate students overseas, earning the University top spot on the Peace Corps’ annual ranking of PCMI and Paul D. Coverdell Fellows graduate schools.

Michigan Tech has 10 different PCMI programs in three colleges and schools. The Peace Corps said that is the largest number of PCMI programs at any university in the nation.

In the PCMI program, students incorporate Peace Corps service as credit toward their master’s degree. The Coverdell Fellows Program provides returned Peace Corps volunteers with scholarships, internships in underserved American communities, and stipends to earn an advanced degree after they complete their Peace Corps service.

“One of Michigan Tech’s primary goals is to conduct innovative research and education that promotes sustainable economic and social development worldwide,” said Tech President Glenn Mroz. “Our Peace Corps Masters International Program is clearly achieving that goal. It speaks to Michigan Tech’s commitment that a school the size of ours is consistently first in the nation in the number of Peace Corps volunteers.”

For the full story, see Peace Corps.

Published in Tech Today by Jenn Donova, director of news and media relations


Alumna named American Geosciences Institute/Schlumberger Geoscience Communication Fellow

Stephanie Tubman, an alumna of the Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) program, has been named American Geosciences Institute/Schlumberger Geoscience Communication Fellow. Tubman will be working with AGI’s Critical Issues Program to disseminate geoscience information to help support decision-making at the federal, state and municipal levels.

Following her undergraduate degree at Colgate University, she completed an internship at the US Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory and enrolled in the PCMI program in geohazards mitigation.

During her two-year tour in Guatemala with the Peace Corps, she was assigned to a municipal environmental office, collaborating with local officials on water management, environmental science education and ecotourism projects.

Published in Tech Today.


PCMI graduate’s paper published in Journal

Peace Corps Masters International Environmental Engineering Program graduate Cara Shonsey has published a paper titled, “Quantifying available water supply in rural Mali based on data collected by and from women,” in a special issue of the Journal of Cleaner Production on Water, Women, Waste, Wisdom and Wealth. Her advisor, John Gierke (GMES), co-authored the paper. See online.

Published in Tech Today.


Belote to Speak on Ecuador

Hosted by student organization Global City, local resident and former Peace Corps Volunteer (and Dean of Students) Linda Belote will present “La Mega Cooperativa Artesanal:  How Ecuadorian Indian Women Found Economic Success through Hand-Woven Beadwork” on Monday, Nov. 18, in Fisher 133 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Belote will tell the story of five indigenous women’s organizations from highland Southern Ecuador who joined together in 2010 in order to bring their handwoven beadwork jewelry to an international market. Aided by Belote and other American friends, their communities’ folk art and the story it tells has reached the US and beyond via the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.

Pizza and snacks will be provided, and the cooperative’s beadwork will be available for purchase following the presentation. The public is welcome.

Global City is a student organization dedicated to providing a forum to address critical issues of human development such as economic development, resource distribution, and sustainability. Visit http://global.students.mtu.edu for more information.

Posted in Tech Today



Peace Corps MS Student Tackles Water, Waste, Volcanoes, Earthquakes in Panama

To the people of Peña Blanca, Panama, Chet Hopp must seem like a godsend. He’s helping them get cleaner water, improve sanitation and understand their local volcanic hazards.

“I’m an environmental health extensionist, which means that my main responsibilities to my community of Peña Blanca deal with sanitation,” says Hopp, a Peace Corps Master’s International student in geology at Michigan Tech. “Specifically, we work to improve access to potable water through development and construction of gravity-fed aqueducts, as well as improving sanitation practices through education and access to various types of latrines.”

From the beginning, Hopp says, the priority has been latrines, although the water system does concern many in the community. He gives talks on sanitation practices, as well as how to properly construct and maintain the latrines they are building.

And, there’s buy-in, literally, from the locals.

“Each participating family is required to make a $5 deposit, to be returned upon successful completion, and they must pay for half the cost of corrugated metal roofing,” Hopp says. “There are other roofing options, though, so they can opt out of this.”

Read the full story.

Published in Tech Today by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor


Michigan Tech’s Peace Corps Program Ranked Number 1 in the Nation

Michigan Tech ranks as the top Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) university nationwide for the eighth consecutive year. With 35 PCMI graduate students currently serving as Peace Corps Volunteers, Michigan Tech has earned the top spot in the 2013 rankings of PCMI and Paul D. Coverdell Fellows graduate schools. Tulane University placed second.

The PCMI program enables graduate students to incorporate Peace Corps service for credit as part of their master’s degree curriculum. The Coverdell Fellows program provides returned Peace Corps volunteers with scholarships, internships in underserved American communities and stipends to help them earn an advanced degree after they complete their Peace Corps service.

For the whole story, see http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2013/may/story88794.html

Also: http://midwestpcvs.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/michigan-technological-university-remains-top-peace-corps-masters-international-graduate-school-nationwide/

Published in Tech Today by Jenn Donovan, public relations director


Peace Corps Informational Meeting Thursday

Brett Heimann, the regional recruiting representative for the Peace Corps, will hold an informational meeting at Michigan Tech at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, March 21, in Fisher Hall 125. He will talk about the Peace Corps overall and the Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) program. The session is free, and everyone is welcome.

Michigan Tech has eight PCMI programs in four different Colleges and Schools. Graduate students earn a master’s degree with a combination of classes and Peace Corps service overseas. For more information, contact PCMI campus director Kari Henquinet (SS), kbhenqui@mtu.edu, 7-1843.

Published in TechToday