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Josef Korbel School of International Studies

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Students Celebrate Peace Corps Week as Denver Retains Number One Spot

By Brent Forgues, MA Candidate, Global Finance, Trade, and Economic Integration  

DENVER—March 1, 2015—The Josef Korbel School of International Studies is enjoying Peace Corps Week this year as the University of Denver once again holds the top spot for graduate alumni currently serving as volunteers.

With 18 volunteers in service as of late September, Susan Rivera, director of student affairs, said the emphasis on Peace Corps involvement has created a real niche for the Josef Korbel School.

“I think the Peace Corps students have made a big difference in a lot of different ways,” she said.

One of those ways includes raising awareness about the Peace Corps throughout the University this week from March 1st to the 7th in commemoration of President John F. Kennedy’s establishment of the organization 54 years ago.

During Peace Corps Week, students from the University of Denver Peace Corps Community will be hosting several activities, such as a screening of the 1985 comedy "Volunteers" starring Tom Hanks and John Candy as Peace Corps volunteers in Southeast Asia, social events at establishments near the Denver campus, and an information table on Driscoll Bridge for anyone interested in learning more about the Peace Corps.

Many of the students engaged in the Peace Corps Community also build on their volunteer experience by participating in the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program. The fellowship provides returned volunteers with a scholarship and the opportunity to apply the experience they’ve gained from their service in to action around the Denver community.

Examples of locations where Coverdell Fellows have put their unique talents to use have ranged from the African Community Center to the Rocky Mountain Microfinance Institute.

Courtney Burum, an MA candidate in International Development graduating this quarter, is a Coverdell Fellow who volunteered at the African Community Center as part of the program. Burum, who was a Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova prior to studying at Korbel, said the center appealed to her because of its prominence with assisting refugees in Denver.

“It also gave me a chance to serve a community in the U.S. like I had done in Moldova,” she said.

Rivera, who also oversees the Coverdell Fellows program at the Korbel School, said that examples, such as what Burum has brought to the School, have helped build the largest returned Peace Corps volunteer community at Denver than any other university.

“They bring so much into the classroom, we’re always looking for people that have international experience,” Rivera said. “Who have a goal to go out and work.
“These Peace Corps students, we say, ‘Bring ‘em on!’”