Peace Corps Announces New Master's International Partnership with Western

Western has partnered with the Peace Corps to launch a new Master’s International partnership. The partnership will offer students the opportunity to integrate Peace Corps service with a Master's in Environmental Management.

“The Peace Corps is pleased to announce this new partnership with Western State Colorado University to enable students to gain important hands-on work experience as they pursue their graduate studies,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “In today’s interconnected world, employers are looking for more highly trained and culturally competent professionals now more than ever.”

Selected Master’s International students will have the opportunity to choose between concentrations in sustainable and resilient communities and integrative land management.

Students in Peace Corps Master’s International programs typically finish one year of graduate school in the U.S. before earning additional academic credit as a Peace Corps volunteer abroad. When they return, Master’s International students complete any remaining academic degree requirements necessary for graduation.  

“This injection of an international perspective and outreach doesn’t just refocus the Western campus,” says Dr. John Hausdoerffer, director of the MEM program and a professor of both Philosophy and Environment & Sustainability. “Our students will help the entire Gunnison area and Western Slope as they embark on projects here, with an eye toward replicating them around the world.”

Established in 1987, the goals of the Master’s International program are twofold: to meet the   demand overseas for Peace Corps volunteers with high levels of education and technical expertise; and to allow universities to provide substantive, internationally focused experiences for their students. Participants develop cross-cultural, leadership, language and community development skills that give them a competitive edge for job opportunities in today’s global economy.

Dr. Jessica Young is the MEM program’s global coordinator. She says Masters International is a perfect fit for MEM – the first residential graduate program in Western’s recent history.

“Our goals include bringing diverse cultural perspectives to our students and the Gunnison community,” she explains. “I’m thrilled we can extend opportunities for our students to learn with humility from other cultures while using their MEM coursework and training to help developing countries around the world.”

The Peace Corps has Master’s International program partnerships with more than 80 leading academic institutions nationwide that offer more than 150 degree programs ranging from TESOL to soil science and public health. Many partner schools also offer volunteers financial benefits such as scholarships and reduced tuition. To learn more, visit

MEM applications for the 2015-2016 academic year are free through Oct. 1, with a $50 fee thereafter.

To learn more about the Peace Corps Master's International program, click here. 

About the Peace Corps: As the preeminent international service organization of the United States, the Peace Corps sends Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Peace Corps volunteers work at the grassroots level with local governments, schools, communities, small businesses and entrepreneurs to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. When they return home, volunteers bring their knowledge and experiences – and a global outlook – back to the United States that enriches the lives of those around them. President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961 to foster a better understanding among Americans and people of other countries. Since then, more than 215,000 Americans of all ages have served in 139 countries worldwide. Visit to learn more. 

About Western State Colorado University: Located in Gunnison, Colo., Western is a public university unlike any other in the West and unique nationwide – with the faculty focus and feel of a private college; a commitment to access, excellence, and student success; and a strong tie to the land, our local natural resources and our surrounding community. With an enrollment of 2,400 students, Western offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate academic programs, along with unlimited opportunity to shape your identity, customize your education and chart your course for a meaningful life. 

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Friday, August 8, 2014 - 8:45am