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Current Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows

Photo of Stephen AddisonSTEPHEN ADDISON     Graduate Program: Public Administration, M.P.A.

Stephen Addison served as a community economic development volunteer with Peace Corps Peru from 2016 - 2018. There, he primarily collaborated with business owners, individuals, and schools to support a national initiative- business plan development. In addition, he organized groups to form community banks, a microfinance initiative to increase financial stability. Stephen grew up in Pennsylvania and received his Bachelor of Science in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. As a Coverdell Fellow at the University of Arizona, he is pursuing a Master of Public Administration. His research interests include stakeholder management, ecological economics, shared land use planning, relief efforts, and sustainable tourism. 



Photo of Heather AltherrHEATHER ALTHERR    Graduate Program: Development Practice, M.D.P.

Heather Altherr served in Zambia in the Linking Income Food & the Environment (LIFE) program from 2011 to 2014. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia, she worked with her community on agroforestry and gardening projects that resulted in planting over 3,500 trees and working with young women to improve gender equality through healthcare and education and even developed an educational and cross-cultural radio program with other volunteers. She was selected to extend for a third year with the World Food Programme in the Mobile Development & Technology Unit, leading projects that utilized mobile technology to improve the quality and distribution of agricultural commodities with rural framers and school feeding programs. More recently, Heather has worked in communications and digital media for NGOs and social enterprises in South Africa, Zambia, and the US. Her focus has been on merging data and storytelling to reach local and international audiences to enact behavior change for the protection of natural resources while increasing fundraising capacity. Currently, Heather is pursuing a Masters in Development Practice with a focus on natural resource management and GIS.



Photo of Rhiannon AndersonRHIANNON ANDERSON     Graduate Program: Speech Pathology, M.S.

Rhiannon Anderson grew up in Minnesota. She graduated with a degree in Psychology but took more classes in the Modern World Languages department. She also studied Cognitive Neuroscience of Language in the Basque country (in Spain) to combine her love of languages, research, and the brain. She served in Peace Corps Guatemala as a Maternal and Child Health Educator from 2017-2019. Her experience working with families and children confirmed her desire to work directly with people. Rhiannon is currently pursuing an M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology and a Bilingual Certificate in Speech-Language Pathology.  She is passionate about ensuring that bilingual children with speech or language disorders receive appropriate therapy and diagnoses.



Photo of Ramzy Bejjani

RAMZY BEJJANI     Graduate Program: Landscape Architecture, M.L.A.

Ramzy Bejjani served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia from 2016 - 2018. In his primary role as an Education volunteer, Ramzy taught English to 360 ninth graders and created a Girls English Education and Empowerment club with a local teacher. While not teaching, he partnered with his local hospital to create a model home garden that showcased efficient water use, high nutrient foods, and provided seeds for the local community.  Ramzy received his B.A. from New York University, studying Global Liberal Studies with a concentration in Politics, Rights, and Development. He spent half of his undergrad abroad, and studied in Paris, London, Tel-Aviv Jaffa, and Beirut. He also has a TEFL certification through Seattle Pacific University.  Between his time as an undergrad and a Peace Corps Volunteer, Ramzy saw a lot of cities. And he’d like to make them better for everyone. As a Coverdell Fellow at the University of Arizona, Ramzy is pursuing a Masters in Landscape Architecture. He is interested in green infrastructure to mitigate the effects of extreme weather, new pedestrianism, creating accessible and abundant public parks, and the interplay between public space and democracy.



Photo of Maiya BlockMAIYA BLOCK     Graduate Program: Health Behavior Health Promotion, M.P.H.

Maiya Block grew up in Rio Rico, AZ, attending Nogales High School. She did her Bachelor of Arts in Biology at Hendrix College in Conway, AR with a minor in Philosophy. Since then, she has traveled throughout the USA, Europe and parts of Africa doing outdoor education and volunteering. Maiya served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon from 2016-18 in the role of a science educator. During her first year as a teacher, the Anglophone Crisis started in her region with a teacher’s strike. As a consequence, Maiya’s secondary projects became her primary projects. She began to do leadership, literacy and health workshops in the community. This led to the Ndu Reproductive Health Campaign, conducted with 10 other facilitators from the community, training 100 peer educators and sensitizing the community at large about contraceptives and other means of family planning, and how to avoid STDs through radio programs. After moving to a new site upon the escalation of the crisis, Maiya continued the work in sexual and reproductive health in her next post, on the side of her Biology, Chemistry and Math classes. She also applied for a grant through Peace Corps and fundraised to produce a well and toilet for the school’s girls, to improve their menstrual hygiene and attendance. After the two years in Peace Corps, Maiya stayed for another year in Cameroon to work as a Teaching Intern, teaching IB Chemistry and Integrated Science to 8th, 10th and 11th grade at the American School of Yaoundé. In this position, she was also tasked with advising half of the 7th grade class and co-organizing a 3-week program on cultural exchange for the entire school. Maiya is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health in Health Behavior Health Promotion at the University of Arizona. She would like to one day work abroad in a non-profit organization, continuing to improve the efficacy of health behavior programs around the world.



Photo of Keyania Campbell

KEYANIA CAMPBELL     Graduate Program: Applied Intercultural Arts Research – Ethnomusicology, M.A.

Keyania Campbell was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, and received her B.S. in Liberal Studies from Texas A&M University-Commerce in 2013. She served in Divjake, Lushnje, Albania as an Education volunteer from 2016-2018. She taught English lessons and life skills to young adults by using American pop and hip-hop to practice speaking and encourage critical thinking. She is currently studying in the Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in the Applied Intercultural Arts Research department. Keyania's research interests include community music programs, intangible cultural heritage, and sustainable archiving. She likes science fiction and ferrets.



Photo of Gaby CoronelGABRIELA CORONEL     Graduate Program: Policy and Management, M.P.H., and Latin American Studies, M.A.

Gabriela Coronel served as a Health Promoter on the rural coast of Ecuador from 2017-2019. Throughout her service, her main projects focused on sexual and reproductive health among adolescents, HIV education and promotion among hacienda workers, and hospital quality improvement projects with the local professionals. She is from right outside Nashville, TN, but graduated from East Tennessee State University with a B.S. in Public Health, including a semester field experience at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is pursuing her passions for public health administration and working with underserved communities at the University of Arizona by getting a dual Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Management and a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies. Her research interests include Border Health and Health Disparities among Latinx Americans.



YEMI DEBELA     Graduate Program: Development Practice, M.D.P.

Prior to joining University of Arizona, Yemisirach (Yemi) Debela attended The Pennsylvania State of University to purse a dual degree in International Politics and African Studies. Since graduating, Yemi’s focus is grounded on capacity building training, program management, and M&E in response to the high HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy rates in Zambia. Yemi served in Peace Corps Zambia as a Rural Education Specialist in Serenje from 2017-2020.  She designed and implemented weekly programs to improve English comprehension, life skills and health education at Kabamba Primary and Secondary School. While in Serenje, Yemi collaborated with NGO’s, Ministry of Education, and Ministry Health to develop and coordinate programs that focus on HIV/AIDS, Gender-Based Violence, and Sexual Reproductive Health. Most recently, Yemi worked as a HIV/AIDS Education Coordinator in Ndola, Zambia under the USAID DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, And Safe) where she led capacity building trainings to strengthen Comprehensive Sexual Education integration the Zambian Education Curriculum for over 220 teachers. Her goal is to build a career in field of international development working directly on designing, implementing, and managing effective health education programs in Sub-Saharan Africa in order to create positive and lasting change.



JACK DEBOER     Graduate Program: Development Practice, M.A.

Jack DeBoer is pursuing a Master’s in Development Practice in the School of Geography, Development and Environment at the University of Arizona. He holds a B.A. in Global Security from The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Before moving to Tucson Jack has worked and studied in Ecuador, Ghana, Lebanon, and Ethiopia, where he served in The Peace Corps from 2015 to 2018. His studies are focused on the development of agricultural livelihoods in The Middle East and Africa. Jack currently interns for an international humanitarian aid organization and works at The Pima County Cooperative Extension. 



ABRAM FARLEY     Graduate Program: Hydrology, M.S.

Abram Farley served in northern Tanzania (2016-18) as a mathematics teacher at a secondary school. Through his role as a teacher in the community, he also taught computer literacy, helped complete a school library, facilitated student leadership conferences, and organized a female empowerment and reproductive health training (through Huru International). Prior to serving in the Peace Corps, he studied Physics at Kalamazoo College and then spent one year serving with AmeriCorps through City Year Milwaukee. At University of Arizona, he is now pursuing a Master’s in Hydrology and Water Resources after being inspired by the water development projects being completed in Tanzania.



ISABELLA FASSI     Graduate Program: SBS, Public Administration, M.P.A.

Isabella graduated from the University of Missouri - Kansas City in 2013 with a dual B.A. in Spanish and sociology. Subsequently, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Chikwawa, Malawi from 2013-2015, teaching English literature and language to secondary school students and coordinating education-related secondary projects. Following her time in Malawi, Isabella moved to Guatemala where she taught at Panajachel Colegio Internacional for two years. She is pursuing a dual M.A. degree in Latin American studies and public administration.




Photo of Emily FreedEMILY FREED     Graduate Program: CALS, SNRE, Wildlife & Fisheries, M.S.


Emily Freed is from Michigan and studied Anthropology and German at Western Michigan University. Emily served as a health volunteer in Madagascar from 2016-2017. During her Peace Corps service Emily worked with the local hospital and community health workers to increase the health of children under 5 and pregnant or nursing mothers. Emily also implemented a Grassroots soccer Skillz Girls program to educated 13-18 year olds about confidence, healthy relationships and sexual health. Currently Emily is pursuing her master of science in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation.



CONOR GRAVES    Graduate Program: SWES, M.S.

Conor Graves served as an agriculture volunteer in Peace Corps Tanzania from 2017-2019. His service was filled with projects focused in the agricultural realm; the projects ranged from beekeeping to post harvest management to conserving the local environment with trees and water harvesting. Conor loves plants as well as laughing. He will be pursuing his Master’s degree in soil and water sciences to add on to his B.S in horticulture production from Oregon State University. Conor is a free soul who claims to be from Earth since he has called many geographical locations home at some point in his life. In the future he hopes to spread the joys of a more connected form of agriculture through whatever means necessary.



Photo of Lauren Jaeger, Current FellowDEXTER GULICK   Graduate Program: Public Health Policy & Management, M.P.H.

Dexter served in Peace Corps Madagascar as a Community Health Volunteer, where he primarily worked on nutrition education and neonatal vaccination drives. Upon returning to the U.S., he worked for an organic farm in rural Washington and was a SNAP Educator through the Washington State University Cooperative Extension Office. His research and policy interests include expanding healthcare and health insurance access to all Americans, and developing policy solutions to remove disparities between underserved minority and rural populations.

Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Dexter completed his B.S. in Molecular Biology at the University of Pittsburgh in 2012. After graduating, he lived abroad in Germany before returning to Pittsburgh for a laboratory research position. When he's not studying, he can generally be found drinking an unsafe amount of coffee or using his two dogs to befriend other canines at the dog park.


Photo of Lauren Jaeger, Current FellowBRANDON GUSTAFSON   Graduate Program: Teach Arizona, M.Ed.

Brandon Gustafson served in Paraguay’s Environmental Conservation sector from 2017-2020.  In a small pueblo on the northern shore of the Río Paraná, Gustafson worked extensively with local schools to design comprehensive systems of solid waste management, and to educate youth in the principles of environmental stewardship. Gustafson received his B.A. in Spanish and Russian languages from Baylor University in 2014, and is currently enrolled in Teach Arizona’s M.Ed program with aspirations of becoming a certified language educator.



Photo of Katherine HerderKATHERINE HERDER   Graduate Program: Biostatistics, M.P.H.

Katie Herder served in the Peace Corps as a Youth in Development volunteer in the rural countryside of the Dominican Republic from 2017-2019.  She primarily worked with teenagers and adult educators at the local high school to help students develop goal-setting and decision making skills as tools to help face the numerous limitations, social-threats, and economic challenges for youth in the Dominican Republic.  She led youth groups promoting gender equity and life skills training for positive identity, healthy communication, conflict resolution, goal setting, and leadership behaviors and trained students in reproductive/sexual health and STI/HIV prevention.  Katie earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a major in Psychology and a minor in Biology. As a Coverdell Fellow at the University of Arizona, Katie is pursuing a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Biostatistics.  Katie was born and raised in Evanston, IL.



Photo of Diana HsiehDIANA HSIEH   Graduate Program: Hydrology, M.S.

Diana was born and raised in Ohio. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2011 with a BS in Biology and Environmental Studies. She then joined Peace Corps and served in a small village in Northern Ghana as an agriculture volunteer from 2011-2014. She worked closely with her community to improve food security, financial literacy, water quality, and access to education. While in Ghana, Diana gained a strong appreciation for the importance of water and this would eventually lead her to the University of Arizona to pursue an MS in Hydrology. Prior to becoming a graduate student, Diana worked at the Environmental Protection Agency. In her free time, Diana loves to do anything outdoor related (backpacking, climbing, biking, canyoneering, etc.) and is always ready for an adventure! 




Photo of Lauren Jaeger, Current Fellow

LAUREN JAEGER     Graduate Program: Health Behavior Health Promotion, M.P.H. and Marketing,  M.B.A.

Lauren Jaeger is pursuing dual degree in Public Health and Business Adminsitration at the University of Arizona. From 2015-2017, Lauren served with the Peace Corps as an English Education volunteer in Moldova. Her secondary projects included serving as the director of Moldova Anti-Trafficking in Persons, where she developed and facilitated educational programs on human trafficking and gender based violence prevention. Lauren currently serves as a student Ambassador for the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and as the Graduate Program Coordinator of the Peace Corps Coverdell Program.




Photo of Briauna JonesBRIAUNA JONES     Graduate Program: Teach Arizona, M.Ed.


Briauna was raised in the small mountain town of Sunriver, Oregon. She graduated with a dual Bachelors of Arts in Comparative Literature and Spanish with a minor in Latin American Studies from the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon. After university, she began her Peace Corps service as a Youth Development Volunteer in Peru; Briauna lived in Oxapampa, a mid-size town with three living cultures: indigenous yáneshas and asháninkas, Andean, and Austro-German. She worked in the area of tutoría – life skills courses including sexual education, vocational orientation, and personal development – in the primary and secondary school levels as well as with the Parque Nacional Yanachaga-Chemillén’s youth ecological brigade in the areas of leadership and environmental education. Briauna is now studying for her Masters of Education through the TeachArizona Program at the UA; she will begin student-teaching 8th grade language arts at Lauffer Middle School in the fall term. In her personal life, Briauna enjoys getting outside with camping, hiking, and climbing.





Photo of Angell KimANGELL KIM     Graduate Program: Public Administration, M.P.A.


Angell Kim is a Korean-American born and raised in Texas. She received her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Global Studies with a Minor in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. During her undergraduate studies, she interned for Texas congressman Michael C. Burgess and for Project Vote Smart, a legislative research organization. Angell also volunteered extensively with Rotary International. After graduation, she worked for an international medical device consulting firm in project management for the Asia-Pacific region before joining the Peace Corps as an education and community development volunteer in the northern coast of Colombia. She remained in Colombia after her service and worked as a legal assistant for an NGO that advocates for women’s reproductive rights in Bogotá. Angell enjoys playing badminton and volleyball, baking sweet treats, and spending time with her family and friends. She will pursue a master’s degree in Public Administration with a Geographic Information System (GIS) certificate and aspires to be a Program and Project Development officer for USAID.


PAUL LA FARGA     Graduate Program: Urban Planning, M.A.


Born and raised in Thousand Oaks, California Mr. La Farga first left Southern California to pursue his interdisciplinary undergraduate degree in International Affairs at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Inspired both through his college internship at a refugee relocation center in Denver and through his refined understanding of political economy, Mr. La Farga joined the United States Peace Corps in 2017 as a Community Economic Development Promoter. There he successfully completed his two year service in the South American Republic of Paraguay where he served in an urban settlement outside of the country's capital of Asunción, working especially close with the community's youth to fund and construct a community park. After completing his Peace Corps service in 2019, Mr. La Farga began pursuing his two year Master's of Science degree in Planning at the University of Arizona where he is also a Graduate Assistant at the University's Water Resources Research Center.




ELISE LAMBERT   Graduate Program: Teaching English as a Second Language, M.A.

Elise Lambert served as a Peace Corps Education Volunteer in Sichuan, China from 2017 to 2019. She primarily taught English to university students of varying language levels and backgrounds during the main school semesters. However, she also had the opportunity to help lead teacher workshops in rural southern Sichuan during the summer, which fostered an open exchange of language learning methods with host country teachers. After finishing service with Peace Corps Elise went on to complete an advanced TESOL diploma in Canada. She is now pursuing a Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language at The University of Arizona.




MICHELLE LANDRY  Graduate Program: Art Education & Visual Communication, M.F.A.

Michelle Racca-Landry was born in raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Michelle served in Thailand as a Teacher Trainer-Community Outreach Volunteer from 2011-2013. In her primary role as an Education Volunteer Michelle taught grades 3-6 at two different schools in the northern province of Issan. She also served on the volunteer led committees of TYT-Thai Youth Theater, and an environmental education and awareness team “ROOT”. Michelle received her BA in Visual Art at McNeese State University and as a Coverdell Fellow at the University of Arizona she is pursuing a Masters degree in Art & Visual Culture Education. Michelle is proud of her Cajun (Acadian) Ancestry and enjoys cooking savory Cajun dishes and playing cajun music with her family.




RUSS LEVESQUE       Graduate Program: Nursing, M.E.P.N.

Russ Levesque served as a Peace Corps volunteer in mountainous Xalapán, Guatemala from 2004-2006.  Working within the  Appropriate Technology (AT) volunteer program, he enjoyed making water tanks, latrines, cooking stoves, and other simple and affordable projects to support rural family health.  Growing up in Massachusetts, he received his undergrad degree in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Massachusetts In Amherst.  Russ is excited to be a part of the Masters Entry to the Profession of Nursing (MEPN) cohort of 2021.  He will enjoy Tucson’s unique and beautiful desert setting while building upon his rich Peace Corps experience with the Coverdell Fellows program.    




HUNTER LOHSE     Graduate Program: Landscape Architecture, M.L.A.

Hunter Lohse served a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines from 2017-2019 as an Education volunteer. With the assistance of a USAID Let Girls Learn grant, he developed a technology and research hub for the national high school in his community. He designed and implemented the formation of two student groups: the Research Hub Management Team and the Reading Buddies Club. The RHMT consisted of 18 students (3 from each grade level) that manages and catalogues hub inventory and equipment. The RBC cultivated leadership and reading skills by pairing up Grade 11 and Grade 8 students for bi-weekly tutoring sessions. Hunter received his B.S. in Textiles & Apparel from the University of Texas at Austin. After graduation, he received his TEFL certification and taught English in Seoul, South Korea for two years. After returning to Texas, he worked in the film and fashion industry until finding his way back to education teaching adult education at Trinity Valley Community College. While living on the Blackland Prairie, Hunter began cultivating his love of native plants through garden design and public service projects in his spare time. As a Coverdell Fellow, Hunter is pursuing a Masters in Landscape Architecture. He is interested in urban ecology and promoting public awareness of the relationships between humans and native flora & fauna through interactions within public spaces.



SEAN MACCABE     Graduate Program: CAPLA Landscape Architecture, M.L.A.

Originally from Merrimack, New Hampshire, Sean Maccabe has spent much of his adult life in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Fort Collins, Colorado. While in Colorado, he pursued his undergraduate degree at Colorado State University and received a B.S. in Rangeland Ecology. During and after school, Sean worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a Range Technician, then served with the Peace Corps in The Gambia, West Africa as an Environment and Agriculture Extension Volunteer. While in The Gambia, he worked with women's groups teaching agricultural improvement techniques such as; composting, mulching, beekeeping, perma-garden construction, and marketing agricultural products. Besides helping to train villagers in agriculture, Sean helped the village to secure grant funds to construct a new well system with a solar powered pump and several taps distributed throughout the village. At the University of Arizona, Sean will be pursuing a Master's in Landscape Architecture where he hopes to integrate his knowledge in the Natural Resources and agricultural to design sustainable systems in underserved communities to help address issues in food security.



SEHDIA MANSARAY     Graduate Program: SBS, Development Practice, M.D.P.

Sehdia Mansaray was an Agroforestry Specialist in Kaolack, Senegal, from 2016 - 2018. In her primary work, she collaborated with farmers, women’s groups, and students in fruit tree and live fence propagation and management. She explored relationships between culture, economy, and the environment, particularly through a grant for a woman’s garden and as a regional Cashew Point of Contact and Work Zone Coordinator. Sehdia’s secondary work with volunteers and staff was mainly conducted during her tenure as a coordinator of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Before joining the Peace Corps, she graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science, Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, and French minor. Currently, Sehdia is pursuing a Master’s in Development Practice. As an MDP student, her interests include stakeholder identity and decision making, natural resource management, collaborative development, and neocolonialism. Her ultimate goals are to create spaces for more culturally appropriate and informed development programs alongside educational resources that give youth a more balanced view of the world.



HANNAH MARTIN     Graduate Program: Health Behavior Health Promotion, M.P.H.

Hannah Martin is originally from Omaha, NE where she attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln receiving a BA in Psychology and French. She then served in Benin as an English Education Volunteer from 2016-2018. Besides teaching English, Hannah organized teacher trainings, created an English club, facilitated events focused on health and gender equality, and co-led youth development camps. At the University of Arizona, Hannah is pursuing a Master of Public Health and serving as the Peace Corps Campus Recruiter.




HENNESSY MILLER     Graduate Program: Graduate Program: University of Arizona South, Education, Secondary Education, M.Ed.

Hennessy Miller's journey to teaching has been slightly circuitous, buts she is glad to have found her way back to Tucson in a field she is passionate about. Following her Peace Corps service as an Environmental Health volunteer in Panama from 2013-2015, Hennessy earned her M.S. in Watershed Management and Ecohydrology from the School of Natural Resources at the University of Arizona in 2017. After a two year stint in San Diego working on coastal wetland restoration and sea-level rise adaptation, Hennessy decided to follow her heart and passions and change careers. Currently an 8th grade science teacher in the Sunnyside Unified School District, she is pursuing a Master’s in Education through the University of Arizona South's Borderland/Alternative MED program, which emphasizes culturally responsive and relevant pedagogy along our border region. When she has a spare minute, Hennessy enjoys baking sourdough bread, playing pick up soccer, or volunteering as a birth doula.



ALIZABETH POTUCEK     Graduate Program: Landscape Architecture, M.L.A.

Alizabeth served in Cameroon from 2013-2015 as an Agricultural Extension volunteer. In the rural village of Mbang-Mboum she collaborated on various community projects related to food security, youth empowerment and public health.  Since returning from Cameroon, Aliz has worked as a program coordinator at a native plant restoration non-profit in Moab, Utah and as a campus garden coordinator at the University of Utah. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. Aliz is thrilled to pursue her Masters in Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona as a Coverdell Fellow. Her research interests include the intersection of ecological resilience and social infrastructure through community-based design.  In her spare time she likes to explore the landscape and the desert biota on her bicycle. 



MICHAEL QUIRING     Graduate Program: One Health, M.P.H.

Michael Quiring was born and raised in the central valley city of Fresno, CA. He received his B.S. in Biology and Minor in Philosophy from California State University, Chico. Michael served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania’s southern region of Mtwara. In his primary role as an Education volunteer, Michael taught secondary students the disciplines of biology and chemistry, while also facilitating conferences and outreach events aimed at increasing the use of hands-on science in the classroom. Outside of his primary project, Michael also was very involved in secondary projects within the sectors of health education, malaria awareness, gender empowerment, and sustainable agriculture. After returning to America, Michael spent time assisting with research of Chinook salmon with California Fish and Wildlife and, later on, implemented nutrition programming with child welfare agency, Holt International. Michael is pursuing a Master of Public Health degree to continue to make an impact in the nexus of global health, climate change, and international development. In his free time, Michael enjoys being outdoors either rock climbing, fly fishing, or hiking.



Photo of Rae RichardsRAE RICHARDS     Graduate Program: Teach Arizona, M.Ed.

Rae Richards (she/her) served as an education volunteer in Thailand from 2017-2019 where she co-taught English to grades 1st-4th in a rural, government school. Working closely with her counterpart teachers, she implemented school-wide positive behavior management techniques and developed the school’s English curriculum. Interested in sustaining the school’s growth, she collaborated with school staff and international organizations to secure donations for an English learning library for the school. Beyond life at site, Rae also enjoyed membership in the Gender and Development committee as well as the Volunteer Advisory Council, where she was able to pursue interests in gender studies, consensus-building, and facilitation of important conversations. Rae earned her B.A. in International Studies with a minor in International Development from Colorado State University in 2016. Since finishing her service with the Peace Corps, Rae has completed a service year with AmeriCorps Colorado, where she supported a caseload of 10th grade students with efforts to engage them in school and improve their attendance. As a Coverdell fellow at the University of Arizona, Rae is pursuing a Master’s in Education in the TEACH program and will be student-teaching in an 8th grade civics classroom Fall 2020. Her interests include reading (sci-fi, non-fic, YA), knitting socks, and playing frisbee.


Photo of Rebecca RoederREBECCA ROEDER     Graduate Program: Speech-Language Pathology, M.S.








Photo of Chrissy ScarpittiCHRISSY SCARPITTI     Graduate Program: URBAN PLANNING, M.A.

After graduating from the University of Cincinnati School of Planning in 2008, Chrissy Scarpitti joined landscape architecture practice,  Surrounding s in Santa Fe, New Mexico, managing projects of all scales and driving conversations about sustainability. She learned much about high desert native plant species, construction detailing, and green infrastructure techniques, and in 2014 she passed the Landscape Architect Registration Exam. From 2015-2017 she served in the U.S. Peace Corps as a Youth Development Volunteer in rural Guatemala. She returned to Santa Fe and Surroundings in 2018 with a deeper commitment to environmental and social justice. She is pursuing her master's of Urban Planning with a focus in Environment from the University of Arizona in order to address climate change mitigation and resiliency through design, planning, and policy.



Photo of Lea Schram von HauptLEA SCHRAM VON HAUPT     Graduate Program: Natural Resource Studies, M.S.

Lea served as a Rural Education Development Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia from 2013-2015. She taught English and Computer Studies at a local school and led several after school clubs and adult literacy programs on the side. Since returning from Zambia, Lea has focused on informal science education for both students and the general public. She has worked as the Citizen Science Program Coordinator for a National Park Site in New Orleans, Louisiana and as the STEM Programs Coordinator for the National WWII Museum. She is now working towards a Master’s degree in Natural Resource Studies with a focus on NEPA planning, and a certificate in GIS. In her free time, she enjoys biking, climbing, sewing and baking.  



Photo of Hannah ScottHANNAH SCOTT     Graduate Program: Policy and Management, M.P.H.

Hannah Scott graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and minors in Spanish and Global & Regional Studies from the University of Vermont. As a part of her studies she spent a semester abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina studying Spanish and public health. Upon graduation she moved to Patzicia, Guatemala to serve as a Peace Corps Maternal and Children’s Health Volunteer. Her work focused on building capacity within health center personnel to strengthen health education programs both on the city and state level. Additionally she focused on spreading awareness about malnutrition through educational events and mural projects. After Peace Corps, Hannah moved to New York City to work for the West Side Campaign Against Hunger. For two years Hannah navigated the social services system and hunger network of NYC for hundreds of clients. She became involved in local politics by advocating for her clients on the city, state and federal level. This experience has led her to pursue a Master’s in Public Health with a focus on Policy and Management. In her free time Hannah can be found running, listening to podcasts and having political debates with friends and strangers alike.  


Photo of Sarah ShermanSARA SHERMAN     Graduate Program: Public Administration, M.P.A.

Sara Sherman grew up in North Texas, attending a mixture of public and homeschool programs until her high school graduation in 2011. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with a minor in Social Sciences from the University of North Texas. Quickly after her college graduation, Sara served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine from 2017 - 2019 working primarily with college students. During her first year of service, teaming up with her immediate partners she wrote a USAID grant to fund the education for the medical students to enhance their awareness, methods, and technical skills related to people with disabilities and their human rights. Her project team was able to harness the talent, empathy and clinical knowledge of the students and pair them with children with disabilities in their community through active volunteerism. During her second, extended year of service, Sara and her team wrote a federal U.S. Embassy grant funding the education of 45 regional community leaders spearheading the movement towards a more inclusive society in Ukraine. This led to the participants’ creation of grassroots organizations and projects in their own communities, later being regionally recognized and supported by local governments and councils in the push for equality among individuals living with disabilities. Her work with underserved populations in her community led to her interest in the refugee and internally displaced population in eastern Ukraine. She dipped her toes into UNHCR as a volunteer copy editor, resulting in her strong-rooted desire to continue to serve this population of migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees beginning with the refugee community in Tucson. Sara will be studying in the Public Administration program, focusing on innovative resettlement practices and nonprofit advocacy. Sara anticipates a future of unexpected twists and turns, but hopes to find her feet in an international setting advocating for social change towards a more inclusive global society. 


Photo of Zach Sibberson

ZACHARY SIBBERSON     Graduate Program: CALS, Water, Society & Policy, M.S.

Zachary Sibberson is originally from Ding Dong, Texas. He is pursuing a Masters of Science with a concentration in Water, Society and Policy. He completed his undergraduate degree in Environmental Chemistry from Texas A&M - Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas. Zach served in Peace Corps Nicaragua from 2015 to 2017 as a community based environmental specialist. During his service he worked on numerous projects focusing on local environmental issues, the primary and secondary schools in which he was teaching natural science, as well as food stability in four neighborhoods within the community. He ran a tree nursery and community garden in each of the neighborhoods and gave talks on how to make organic compost and organic pesticides. Additionally, he co-directed a regional camp RACCStar (Región Autónoma de la Costa Caribe Sur) where teenage men and women learned about self-esteem and how they can make impacts on their respective communities after the camp.


Photo of Aimee SlagleAIMEE SLAGLE     Graduate Program: Public Health, M.P.H.

Aimee Slagle served as a Community Health Volunteer in rural Paraguay from March 2018 until the global PCV evacuation in March 2020.  Aimee primarily worked in the local elementary schools and the high school facilitating health workshops.  She co-facilitated a year-long sexual and reproductive health course for youth exploring a breadth of themes such as: HIV/AIDS, consent, mental health, family planning, and gender roles.  She also worked with local leaders to form a health commission to help reach the community’s health-access goals.  Fall 2020, Aimee is starting a Master of Public Health program in the concentration of Health Behavior Health Promotion at the University of Arizona.  She hopes to continue exploring effective sexual and reproductive health and mental health programs for marginalized communities.   


Photo of Chandler SmithCHANDLER SMITH     Graduate Program: Development Practice, M.D.P.

Chandler was an Education Volunteer in Thailand from 2017 - 2020. In his primary work, he designed, organized, and implemented a 320-hour teacher development program providing month-long monitored trainings for primary education English teachers throughout five schools. At the request of Thai local and provincial government, Chandler facilitated multiple large-scale teacher trainings for over 250 Thai teachers from all regions of the country to strengthen English teaching abilities and student friendly techniques. In addition, he planned and supervised 20 youth summits that engaged over 2,000 children in English, sexual/reproductive health, leadership, hygiene, and life skills. Before studying at the University of Arizona, Chandler graduated from California Polytechnic School of San Luis Obispo with a B.A. in Political Science and subsequently worked as the Director of Communications for an education NGO in northwestern Uganda. As a student in the Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) program, he is studying climate change’s impacts on vulnerable populations. After completing the MDP program, Chandler hopes to work with agencies developing sustainable solutions to communities disproportionately affected by climate change.



Photo of David Thalenberg, Current FellowDAVID THALENBERG     Graduate Program: SBS, LAS & Public Administration, M.A., M.P.A.

David Thalenberg is a third-year Paul D. Coverdell fellow and is pursuing dual graduate degrees in Latin American Studies and Public Administration at the University of Arizona. Originally from Flagstaff, Arizona, David holds a B.A in International Affairs from Northern Arizona University. An avid culture and travel enthusiast, David's previous professional experience includes working as a university recruiter in China, a Study Abroad advisor for the University of California, and serving as Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Paraguay. Since returning to Arizona in 2018, he has focused on working with local government agencies and non-profit organizations to support underserved communities in the Tucson area. 




Photo of Alexis Wait

ALEXIS WAIT     Graduate Program: Family and Child Health – Global Health, M.P.H.

Originally from Michigan, Alexis Wait earned her B.S. from the University of Michigan in Anthropology and Ecology in 2015. After obtaining her degree, Alexis spent two years working as a volunteer at various organizations as a research assistant and teacher. Alexis joined the U.S. Peace Corps to serve as a science teacher in Mattru Jong, Sierra Leone, from 2017 to 2018. In addition to her role as an educator, Alexis developed four female soccer teams at her school and the other schools in her town. Her passion for athletics, health, and female empowerment motivated her to fight for these young women so they could have the same opportunity as the boys to participate in sports. Alexis will continue her passion to serve minority communities as she pursues a Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Family and Child Global Health. Outside of academia, Alexis enjoys rock climbing, cooking, and traveling.



Photo of Jacy Woodruff

JACY WOODRUFF      Graduate Program: Business Administration, M.B.A.

Always with a flare for the dramatic, Jacy obtained a dual B.A. from Western Washington University in Theater Arts and Spanish and often joked about staring in telenovelas. Realizing that her love of performance was truly a love for making people smile, her transition into service was a natural fit. Jacy served as an environmental health volunteer in Panama 2011-2013. Although her primary focus was latrine coverage and potable water systems; Jacy found much joy in her side projects which included a weekly "love of literature" reading night and hosting a Youth Leadership, Gender, and Development camp.

Upon her return to the states Jacy continued in service joining the public sector at the National Science Foundation and more recently working as a Grants Management Specialist with the U.S. Department of Labor. As the federal liaison to grantees working on various workforce development programs, Jacy discovered her passion for project management, compliance, and creating sustainable solutions that address the needs of job seekers and businesses. This passion led her to apply for and be accepted into the Eller College of Management where she will be pursuing her MBA.

Last updated 13 Sep 2020