Current Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows


Photo of Raleigh Addington

RALEIGH ADDINGTON - Graduate Program: Latin American Studies and One Health, LAS M.A. & M.P.H.

My name is Raleigh Addington, and I am excited to be part of the 2021 incoming Coverdell Fellows cohort as an MPH and MA LAS dual Masters student. I am originally from Colorado and have lived in many states and countries both with my family and through traveling, foreign exchange and most recently volunteering in Peace Corps Paraguay. Before starting here at the University of Arizona, I was a 3rd-grade teacher in Albuquerque, NM, and a foreign exchange program leader in Costa Rica, Fiji, Thailand, and Laos. I am passionate about learning from and with other cultures, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with friends and family. Aguije peê y pura vida. thank you and "good vibes/pure life.


Katherine Barbaree

KATHERINE GAIA BARBAREE - Graduate Program: Language, Reading & Culture, M.A.

Katherine is a Master’s candidate in the Language, Reading & Culture - Early Childhood Education program at University of Arizona College of Education’s Department of Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies. She is thrilled to be serving as the Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow with United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, supporting their “Connecting Children to Nature” initiative to leverage existing infrastructure and policy change to increase access of families and young children to healthy outdoor time and nature-based play. 

Katherine is committed in work and life to the building of bioculturally diverse and ecosocially just communities. She began her career in community and sustainability education over 20 years ago as an Environment Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. That experience of living and working deep within traditional indigenous Tasheleit communities in the High Atlas Mountains of North Africa inspired a lifelong love and reverence for both place-based sustainable culture and the unique and striking beauty of desert ecology–which she relates to through the lens of her own Greek (Peloponnese) and southern Italian (Sicily) ancestry.
Since that time, Katherine has worked in K-Adult educational settings in Honduras, Slovenia, and the Colorado Plateau. Along the way, she earned a Master of Arts in Sustainable Communities from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, focusing on place-based education and ecological literacy, including a Permaculture Design Certificate from the Sonoran Permaculture Guild. She then left the Southwest for Northern California to delve deeply into regenerative agriculture, working as an urban community farm manager, a school garden teacher, and as the educational program manager for The Ecological Farming Association. She is delighted to now call the magnificent Sonoran Desert home, and is honored to be growing her own family’s roots in the Tucson Basin on the traditional lands of the Tohono O’odham.


Kacy Bartels

KACY BARTELS - Graduate Program: Public Administration, M.P.A.

Kacy was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska and received her B.S in Child, Youth, and Family Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2016. After graduating from university, she spent time in Costa Rica where she became TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certified and taught English. She then served as a Youth Development volunteer with the Peace Corps in Morocco from 2018-2020. In Morocco, her primary work was collaborating with counterparts to facilitate life skills workshops, English classes, and a GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) club for middle school aged youth at a middle school and youth center. After the Peace Corps, Kacy served as an AmeriCorps VISTA working as a Volunteer Coordinator at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona in Tucson from 2020-2021. As a Coverdell Fellow at the University of Arizona, Kacy is pursuing a Master of Public Administration where she is excited to expand on her experience working in nonprofit and governmental organizations and gain skills that will prepare her to work in program/project management and policy advocacy for nonprofits both in the US and internationally.


Aliza Benitez

ALIZA BENITEZ - Graduate Program: Business Administration and Public Health, M.B.A. & M.P.H.

My name is Aliza Benitez, and I was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ. I completed my undergraduate degree at Northern Arizona University in Public Health with a minor in Spanish. I served in Guatemala with the Healthy Schools program from 2017-2019. I worked with elementary-aged students, parents, and teachers in various capacities. Currently, I am in a dual master’s program pursuing degrees in business administration and public health (with a focus in global health). I have had a passion for public health and seeing the positive changes it can make in developing countries. I love to travel, read, hike, and bake. 


Calder Bethke

CALDER BETHKE - Graduate Program: Biosystems Engineering, M.S.

Calder is a second year Master’s student in Biosystems Engineering, studying Controlled Environment Agriculture. Calder is also in the Indigenous Food, Energy, Water, Security and Sovereignty (INDIGE-FEWSS) Traineeship program. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology in 2012, and after his graduation worked on several farms in Oregon, New Mexico, and Texas. He served with Peace Corps Burkina Faso from 2013 to 2017, where he was a Community Economic Development volunteer. He worked on several agriculture and permaculture projects, as well as served a third year as Food Security Regional Leader. He is passionate about helping improve food security and climate change adaptation for arid communities, through Controlled Environment Agriculture, and improved rainwater infiltration and retention in soils. He likes long walks, biking, and badminton. 


Meredith Brewer

MEREDITH BREWER - Graduate Program: Public Health, M.P.H.

Meredith Brewer served as a health volunteer with Peace Corps Guyana from 2018-2020. While there, she collaborated with teachers at the secondary school and midwives at the health center to increase youth-friendly health services and education in their community. Additionally, she organized a regional 3-day workshop for secondary teachers to expand their knowledge and skills to strengthen Guyana's national health education curriculum, Health & Family Life Education (HFLE). Meredith grew up in Illinois and received her Bachelor of Science from Bradley University with minors in International Studies and Health. As a Coverdell Fellow at the University of Arizona, she is pursuing a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Global Health. Her career interests include focusing on adolescents and sexual and reproductive health. 


Blake Caldarera

BLAKE CALDARERA - Graduate Program: Landscape Architecture, M.L.A.

Blake’s introduction to sustainable development began on a ranch in Perryville, Arkansas. Here, he volunteered with the nonprofit Heifer International and practiced the ins and outs of holistic farm management. From 2018 to 2020, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the North-Western Province of Zambia. As part of the Rural Aquaculture Promotion project, he consulted fish farmers on tilapia pond management and led a variety of community education initiatives. Upon returning to the states, he continued fisheries work with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at the Mora National Fish Hatchery.

At the University of Arizona, Blake is pursuing a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture. Blake holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of Arkansas and a professional certificate in Sustainable Aquaponics Systems from the University of Hawaii. He hopes to incorporate his knowledge of biology and aquaculture into landscape design. Aspects of particular interest to Blake include integrated agriculture, water recirculation, and ecological restoration. Ultimately, he seeks to create designs that strike a balance between natural beauty and functional land use.


Stefany Calderon

STEFANY CALDERON - Graduate Program: Public Health, M.P.H.

My name is Stefany Calderon. I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana from 2018-2020 in the health sector, designing programs and projects for youth development. After being evacuated due to the pandemic, I moved to Dallas, Texas where I worked as a contact tracer and an Environmental Health Specialist for the Garland Health Department. In the Health Department I assisted with the first COVID-19 mass vaccination events, as well as, performed compliance inspections. This upcoming fall semester, I will be starting as a Coverdell Fellow in the Master of Public Health program with a concentration in Public Health Policy and Management.


Sarah Clark

SARAH CLARK - Graduate Program: Development Practice, M.D.P.

Sarah Clark is joining the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program at the University of Arizona as a Master of Development Practice student. Her area of focus is on the intersections between the environment and human well-being. Sarah hopes to promote participatory projects that center human dignity and build resilience in populations as they respond to the cascading impacts of climate change on public health, food security, and livelihoods. She is interested in methodologies that bring traditionally excluded groups to the forefront in the development and leadership of projects.

Sarah’s passions and career goals are informed by her past experiences in science and community development. Originally from Illinois, she graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2016 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and an academic concentration in International Development Studies having participated various in research and fieldwork projects from the Grand Kankakee Watershed to Pohnpei, Micronesia. After graduation, Sarah served as an Education Volunteer with Peace Corps Madagascar from 2016-2018. She extended her PC service into 2019 working with Catholic Relief Services as a Regional Youth Development Officer. From 2019-2021, Sarah worked as an Environmental Protection Specialist with the U.S. EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics to better understand and mitigate environmental and human health risks related to chemical exposures.


Chris Destiche

CHRIS DESTICHE - Graduate Program: Development Practice, M.D.P.

Before coming to the University of Arizona, Chris’s early career has been marked by service work devoted to furthering social and environmental causes. Directly after receiving his degree in Anthropology with a focus on Latin American Studies from the University of Georgia, Chris worked on a food security campaign with the Public Interest Network. He then transitioned into conservation work with the National Park Service, working on a native seed initiative in the Grand Canyon and exotic species removal in Yellowstone. He later joined the Peace Corps as an agriculture volunteer, where he worked cooperatively with Indigenous Mayan farmers to promote sustainable agriculture. Seeing first-hand the disastrous effects of climate change on rural Guatemalan communities and their connection to migration inspired him to pursue a degree in Development Practices.

Chris was drawn to the University of Arizona because of its preeminence in climate change research as well as the MDP program’s connection to the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, bringing the potential for an interdisciplinary approach that centers the needs of marginalized communities in climate change mitigation practices. Beyond gaining the practical skills to become a more effective development worker, he is also interested in exploring how indigenous cultural patrimony and agricultural knowledge relate to sustainability and climate resilience. He aims to focus his research on environmental justice and the effects of climate-induced natural disasters on migration. Upon graduation, Chris hopes to work with an international aid organization to promote development practices and policies that have social equity at their heart.


Zoe Fullem

ZOE FULLEM - Graduate Program: Entry to the Profession of Nursing, M.S.

Zoe served as a Sustainable Agriculture Volunteer in Panama from 2013-2016. She lived in a small Indigenous community and worked with subsistence farmers, women's artisan groups, and a local cacao cooperative. She is originally from Albany, NY, and has lived in Minnesota, Denver, Chicago, and Michigan, and is now very happy to have been calling Tucson home for the last few years. She has worked in community development and environmental conservation, but is now enrolled in the MEPN program at the College of Nursing. In her free time she enjoys hiking, camping, and exploring the Sky Island region, as well as spending time at home with her little family.



COLLIN GILLESPIE - Graduate Program: Watershed Management and Ecology SNRE, M.S.

Collin graduated from the University of North Texas in 2010 with a B.S. in Geography. He later served with the Peace Corps from 2013-2015 in Panama as an Environmental Extensionist. There he worked on projects and trainings pertaining to potable water acquisition and treatment. He participated in training community members in maintenance techniques, improving existing aqueduct systems, designing a new system for a previously underserved part of the community, encouraging the use of rainwater catchment systems at the household level, and building a rainwater catchment system at the local school. He also helped community members connect with government agencies that would assist in future trainings and projects related to water and sanitation. After returning from Panama, he worked as an ESL instructor for adults with the Literacy Council of Tyler from 2016-2021.

Collin is currently pursuing a Master’s in Natural Resource Management with a focus on Watershed Management and Eco-hydrology. His research interests include conservation and restoration of watersheds and riparian areas in various ecosystems as well as mitigating effects of climate change through permaculture of native plant and tree species.


Nelisha Gray

NELISHA GRAY - Graduate Program: Language, Reading & Culture, M.A.

Nelisha Gray was born in Hyattsville, Maryland but grew up in Normal, Illinois.  She attended Northern Illinois University where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Community Leadership and Civic Engagement.  She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal from 2019-2020 where she taught English to 135 middle school students.  After Peace Corps, she continued her passion of working with English Language Learners by tutoring adults in her hometown at STAR Adult Literacy.  Nelisha is pursuing a Master’s in Language, Reading, and Culture to expand her knowledge and experience of working with English Language Learners.  In her free time, she enjoys reading, working on craft projects, and going on nature walks.


Stephen Guertler

STEPHEN GUERTLER - Graduate Program: Linguistics-Native American Linguistics and Language, M.A.

Stephen Guertler served as an English Language Co-Teacher/Co-Planner in the Federated States of Micronesia from 2016 to 2018. There he lived on an island of about 100 people in Ulithi Atoll and taught at the elementary school (grades 1-8), working with his host parents and fellow teachers at the school to write lesson plans and curricula. While primarily an English teacher, he also had to adapt and teach all the other subjects due to staffing issues. Outside of the classroom his efforts were spent on acquiring donated books for and organizing the community library, helping plan and run the first ever co-ed summer camp in Ulithi, co-founding a local radio station over VHF that broadcasted news and music to the four inhabited islands in the atoll, and reading over 200 books in his hammock spot on the east side of the island. A year after returning to the US, he went back to Ulithi with a small team to record, transcribe, and translate stories told by elders in the community for the purpose of documenting the language and identifying local marine resource conservation practices and other knowledge contained in the art of oral tradition and storytelling. As a Coverdell Fellow at the University of Arizona, Steve is going for a Master of Linguistics through the Native American Linguistics and Languages (NAMA) program where he will focus on indigenous language and culture maintenance, revitalization, revival, and advocacy.


Racheal Hansen

RACHEL HANSEN - Graduate Program: Linguistics-Human Language Technology, M.S.

Rachel Hansen served as an education volunteer in Benin and briefly in Burkina Faso (Rest In Peace) where she taught middle school students English. She's originally from Michigan where she worked in state government after graduating from the University of Evansville with a degree in French and International Relations with a minor in Russian studies. She's pursuing her master's degree in Human Language Technology at the University of Arizona and hopes to someday make language technology accessible to under-resourced languages globally. In her free time, she likes to drink tea, travel, write, and play co-op games.


Rachael Hinkel

RACHAEL HINKEL - Graduate Program: Epidemiology, M.P.H.

Rachael Hinkel grew up on the island of Kaua’i in Hawai’i and attended Occidental College in Los Angeles where she earned her B.A. in Kinesiology. After volunteering for multiple public health initiatives that targeted underfunded schools in the LA area during her undergraduate chapter, she decided to join the Peace Corps upon graduation. She served in the Fouta Djallon region of Guinea from 2016-2019, working as a Maternal and Child Health Educator focusing on malaria prevention, sexual health, WASH, and business development projects in collaboration with local NGO, Ossez Innover. After the Peace Corps, while living in New York during the COVID-19 pandemic, she earned a Certificate of Graduate Study in Public Health and will be pursuing an MPH in Epidemiology while at the University of Arizona. Her research interests include the epidemiology of sexually transmitted infections, specifically how they impact the health of women and children. In her spare time she loves playing with her two rambunctious dogs, tending to her house plants, hiking, reading, and traveling.


Blake Houghton

BLAKE HOUGHTON - Graduate Program: Landscape Architecture, M.L.A.

Born down the street from the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan, Blake Houghton (they/them) grew up surrounded by history and artifacts which established a love affair with old things early on. Blake moved to Northern Arizona in 2002, where they finished high school and eventually went on to earn a B.A. in Anthropology and Intercultural studies from the University of Arizona. During Blake’s undergraduate career they worked for the University at the Western Archaeology and Conservation Center discovering the magic of preserving historical artifacts from U.S. National Parks from every state west of the Mississippi. Blake served in the Peace Corps as an Agricultural Volunteer in Tanzania from 2019-2020. During Blake’s service, they focused on food literacy programs, including small animal husbandry, and gender equality projects, which gave fuel to a passion for conservation through sustainable gardening and fighting food insecurity issues. Now Blake is pursuing a master’s degree in landscape architecture with a graduate certificate in heritage conservation which they hope to one day put to good use preserving historic American landscapes and educating people about these spaces and sustainable agriculture to address hunger at home and abroad.


Kylie Jansing

KYLIE JANSING - Graduate Program: Public Health-FCH-Global, M.P.H.

Kylie Jansing served as a Youth Development Peace Corps volunteer in the Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland) from 2017 to 2019. She worked with various youth clubs including Grassroot Soccer, GLOW (Girls Leading Our World), and BRO (Boys Reaching Out) to create safe spaces to discuss safer sex, wellness, and self-esteem. Her Peace Corps service and post-service employment with Planned Parenthood inspired her to continue investing in advocacy and health outcomes for those who need it most. She is now pursuing her Master's in Public Health with a Global Health Concentration. She wishes to invest in a career that focuses on community health for women, children, and families – both domestically and abroad. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, hiking, painting, and collecting vintage décor.


Vanessa King

VANESSA KING - Graduate Program: Development Practice, M.D.P.

Vanessa King grew up in Portland, OR and received a B.S. in Elementary Education in 2011. They taught secondary school English in Tanzania before returning to Portland to work for Portland Parks and Recreation in various educational and community programs. From 2015-2017, they served as a Peace Corps Volunteer on the outer island of Vava'u in the Kingdom of Tonga, teaching English to classes 3-6 and running their library program. They hosted life skills classes with children and teens and walking groups with young adults that facilitated conversations about topics like healthy lifestyles, family planning, and women's experiences locally and globally. In 2018, Vanessa moved to the Marshall Islands, where they worked out of the Ministry of Education and had the opportunity to partner on projects related to climate change resiliency. Their time in the Pacific inspired them to continue to work on projects focusing on disaster resilience and preparedness. As a Coverdell Fellow, they are pursuing a Master's in Development Practice. They enjoy endurance athletics, including hiking and long distance running, spending time with their dogs, and being outdoors.


Taylor McCoy

TAYLOR McCOY - Graduate Program: Environmental Science, M.S.

Taylor McCoy is pursuing a Master’s in Environmental Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, at the University of Arizona. She holds a B.S. in Biology/Marine Science from Barry University in Miami Shores, FL. Before moving to Tucson Taylor served in The Peace Corps from 2013 to 2015 in Benin, West Africa. She worked with women’s groups in food security work developing fish farming and drying and canning projects. Thereafter, she served in the Philippines from 2015 to 2016 as a Response Volunteer, and worked with the local government and local fishermen to complete baseline surveys of the coral reefs and fish populations in the local Marine Protected Areas. At the University of Arizona, she will be pursuing a Mater’s degree in Environmental Science and conducting research on sustainable feed alternatives for aquaculture and aquaponics systems after being inspired by her food security work while in the Peace Corps.


David Morales

DAVID MORALES - Graduate Program: Hydrology, M.S.

David Eduardo Morales served in the Peace Corps as a Secondary Education English Instructor in Befandriana Avaratra, a town in Northern Madagascar after graduating from California State University - Fullerton with a B.A. Earth Sciences. From 2016-2018, with the help of his counterpart, David developed communities of practice among regional English instructors to encourage student-centered pedagogy and promote gender-sensitive curricula. Additionally, in response to his students’ broader needs, David expanded his work to introduce nutritional diversity through school gardens to improve food security. This experience showed him that positive, sustainable development cannot be achieved by focusing on proximate issues while larger problems such as environmental change and increasing hazards persisted. In order to address these gaps through applied, transdisciplinary science, David will be pursuing a M.S. Hydrology while working at the Water Resources Research Center (WRRC). His long-term aim is to ensure equal rights and equitable quality of water resources through studying the overlap of hydrologic and economic decision-making, the effects of climate change on water access in developing economies, and the impact of sustainable water-use projects on local and downstream populations.


Taylor Nordgren

TAYLOR NORDGREN - Graduate Program: Teach Arizona, M.Ed.

Taylor Nordgren was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, but he has lived in Duluth, Iowa City, Madagascar, France, and now Tucson. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in English in 2015, served in the Peace Corps Madagascar TEFL program from 2017-19, and he is currently pursuing his masters in the Teach Arizona M.Ed. program. His experiences as a special education associate, wrestling coach, historical interpreter, substitute teacher, and TEFL educator have inspired him to commit to a career in education. Social-emotional learning is the fundamental concept that informs Taylor’s teaching philosophy and every interaction with his students.

Taylor will serve with the Mission Garden for his Coverdell Fellowship and cannot wait to learn more about the ethnobotany and agricultural history of Tucson and the Sonoran Desert. He also works part-time at Silverbell Golf Course and is in desperate need of friends to golf with.

Taylor's other passions include Jiu Jitsu, mountain biking, hiking/camping, yoga, and learning Spanish. For more leisurely activities, he enjoys trying new foods and recipes, comedy shows, theatre, live music, dancing, and just hanging out with friends.


Alisa Petersen

ALISA PETERSEN - Graduate Program: Public Administration, M.P.A.

Alisa (she/her) is originally from Fort Collins, CO and received her BA in Economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In Panama, she was an agribusiness volunteer and collaborated with a variety of different community-based organizations that dealt with commercial coriander farming, reforestation, aqueduct management, construction, and artesanía. She also served in two different communities - one for over a year, and another for four months before being evacuated in March 2020. Back in the US, she started her MPA online at the University of Colorado-Denver and began working as an AmeriCorps Volunteer with the International Rescue Committee in Tucson shortly after. She is excited to continue her masters at UA, and to continue working with the IRC as a Coverdell Fellow.



Taylor Simmons

TAYLOR SIMMONS - Graduate Program: Environmental Health Science, M.S.

Taylor Simmons is originally from Nashville, TN. She received her Bachelors of Science in Biology from Maryville College in Tennessee, and following graduation, she served in Cameroon as a Health and Education volunteer from 2019 - 2020. With the help of her counterparts, she facilitated food demonstrations, taught high school English, started a community garden, and had dreams of implementing grants won in the community when the COVID-19 evacuation took place. She continued her national service as a CAC AmeriCorps member at the largest composting facility in the nation, Sevier Solid Waste Inc. After her term as a Compost, Education, and Outreach Coordinator, she stayed on full time as the Health and Safety Director of the facility. She is pursuing her Masters in Environmental Health Science at the University of Arizona to research water, soil, and air quality and to promote environmental and health literacy in underserved regions. Her hobbies include hiking, running, reading, and spending time with her family and fur babies.


Photo of Aimee Slagle

AIMEE 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.   


Anthony Stiel

ANTHONY STIEL - Graduate Program: Alternative Pathways, M.Ed.

I served as an English Teacher in the Philippines between 2012-2014. I am thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful cohort. I'm looking forward to meeting other fellows and developing a camaraderie. I am currently enrolled in the Alternative Pathways program and have absolutely loved it! I work as a high school special education teacher and love my students. I am excited to advance my education while getting a chance to develop positive relationships in my community.  



Rebecca Sustayta

REBECCA SUSTAYTA - Graduate Program: Public Health, M.P.H.

My name is Becca and I’m originally from the LA area. Shortly after graduating from ASU, I joined the Peace Corps as a Health Volunteer in Botswana (2019-2020). I was dually placed in my village, working with the District Aids Coordinator and a local Non-Governmental Organization. Unfortunately, my service was cut short because of the global COVID-19 pandemic and I returned back to California 10 months into my service.

Back in California, I worked as a Group Home Administrator for a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with co-occurring autism, intellectual and mental health needs. In July 2021, I moved back to Phoenix and started working as a Victim Advocate with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Beginning Fall 2022, I will be an MPH student on the Phoenix campus with a concentration in Public Health Practices. I look forward to the opportunities ahead and to continue exploring the beauty of Arizona!


Allison Swain

ALLISON SWAIN - Graduate Program: Public Health, M.P.H.

Allison Swain served as a Rural Community Health Volunteer with Peace Corps Benin from 2017-2020. In Benin, she worked mostly with women and children covering health topics such as malaria, sanitation and hygiene, and nutrition. Alongside her counterparts she completed the construction of a vaccination center and childhood health training for local mothers, as well as several gender equity projects. She has lived in several states but calls Texas home, and graduated with a Bachelor's in Biology and Evolutionary Anthropology from Duke University in 2017. After the Peace Corps she returned to Texas to work as a substitute teacher in her hometown before moving to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona. She is in her second year of the Masters of Public Health program with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health. She is currently working with the Graham County Health Department to expand a local community health worker program and improve resource access for county residents.  As a Coverdell Fellow she will be working with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Arizona.


Rachel Wesenberg

RACHEL WESENBERG - Graduate Program: Public Health, M.P.H.

Rachel Wesenberg served as a Community Health Volunteer in Peru from 2018-2020. She lived in the rural town of Chicche-Auquicancha at 12,900 feet elevation and worked on projects relating to maternal and child health and adolescent sexual health. In collaboration with the health post, Rachel trained local mothers as Community Health Workers (CHW) and educated families on nutritious diets aimed at treating and preventing anemia. She also taught alongside teachers at the high school to train students on leadership, self-esteem, healthy relationships, and sexual health.

At the University of Arizona, Rachel is pursuing a Master's of Public Health degree with a focus on global populations. She earned a B.S. in Public Health with majors in International Studies and minors in Urban Poverty Studies and Spanish from Saint Louis University in Missouri. Rachel is from Oshkosh, Wisconsin and is hopeful that the diverse and unique landscape, culture, and racial and ethnic makeup of the region will enrich her understanding of public health practice and positive social change.


Craig Zarnosky

CRAIG ZARNOSKY - Graduate Program: Development Practice, M.D.P.

I served with the US Peace Corps in Zambia as a volunteer with the LIFE (Linking Income, Food, and the Environment) Program. As an agroforestry extension agent, I worked with my community members on improved practices to conserve soil and water, crop diversification, beekeeping, and even rice growing. After spending the last four and a half years with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, I am greatly looking forward to being back in a school environment among so many peers who are dedicated to a more just and sustainable future. I will be pursuing a Masters in Development Practice and aim to focus on climate-resilient food systems and community-based resource management.