The Reynolds School of Journalism is now offering a new assistantship to graduate students who have served in the Peace Corps. The Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship will allow returned Peace Corps volunteers to more affordably earn their master's degree in journalism and will bring diverse experiences to the graduate work created at the Reynolds School.
The program was implemented by the director of Graduate Studies, Howard Goldbaum, to usher in a new wave of multimedia professionals at the University of Nevada, Reno. With their Peace Corps "America abroad" experiences, Coverdell Fellows will offer unique perspectives on the future of the journalism and communications industries.
"The fellowship will add a dimension of commitment and maturity to the journalism community," Goldbaum said. "These volunteers are a great addition because of their personal characteristics that will add a depth of maturity to our student makeup."
The Graduate Program provides fellows with financial benefits such as a monthly stipend in exchange for their role as teaching assistants during the fellowship. Coverdell Fellows at the Reynolds School will experience the same curriculum as other Reynolds School graduate students, but their practicum experiences will differ. They will participate in practicums where they will apply what they learned in their volunteer work and in their graduate program to a local, underserved community.
"Returning Peace Corps volunteers bring a humanitarian concern and a willingness to adapt to new situations," Goldbaum said.
Having experience in the Peace Corps helped one Reynolds School faculty member recognize the important role news can play in places around the world. Professor Sheila Peuchaud served in the Peace Corps overseas in Turkmenistan from 1999 to 2000.
"Living in places that don't have democracy or freedom of the press has made me appreciate the importance of both the news media and civic community but also how fragile both are," Peuchaud said.
The Reynolds School is not the only college on campus gaining the perspectives of students in the Coverdell Fellowship; the University's School of Community Health Sciences implemented the Coverdell Fellowship into its Master's of Public Health degree in 2017.
"From our school's perspective, it is community engagement and service oriented. It focuses on engagement, community orientation and discipline," Sung-Yeon Park, associate professor at the School of Community Health Sciences, said.
For those returned Peace Corps volunteers who have a journalism, writing, communication or digital media background, the Reynolds School Graduate Program could be an ideal fit. If accepted, Coverdell Fellows will start their education in the three-semester intensive program in fall 2019.
For first-round consideration to the Reynolds School Coverdell Fellowship, the application deadline is Feb. 1, 2019. Visit the Reynolds School Graduate Program for more information about the Coverdell Fellows program.