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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU to celebrate Peace Corps anniversaries

Many of New Mexico State University's faculty, staff and students have served in the U.S. Peace Corps since its creation in 1961. In light of this, the university will celebrate two Peace Corps milestones during its annual Peace Corps Week, March 1-4.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Peace Corps Fellowship/USA Program, while next year is the Peace Corps' 50th anniversary. To honor these occasions, the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Student Organization will have an information table in Corbett Center on March 1, March 3 and March 4. On March 2, they will host a free, informal event featuring a slide slow and discussion panel. This will start at 7 p.m. in the College of Health and Social Services Room 218.

The members of the RPCVSO perform volunteer work that serves local, national and international communities. The students also strive to support the mission of the Peace Corps by offering assistance to students who wish to join Peace Corps and helping promote a better understanding of other people and countries.

The Peace Corps Fellowship/USA Program allows returned volunteers financial support while earning a graduate degree. Presently there are more than 50 fellows programs in universities across the nation.

The program was first established at NMSU in 2003 in the College of Health and Social Services. Students in the college can pursue a master's degree in public health, social work, nursing or joint social work and public health degrees. To date, 24 students have entered the program, and 15 of those students have graduated as of December.

"The fellows program offers students more and different opportunities. Sharing educational opportunities such as class projects, in the presence of other RPCVs, allow them the ability to continue to process some of the experiences they had in country," said Sue Forster-Cox, associate professor and CHSS fellows coordinator.

In 2009, the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences began participating in the fellows program. There are two students currently in the program, which includes all departments in the college.

"The returning Peace Corps volunteers we get are outstanding, very serious graduate students," said John Mexal, interim department head of plant and environmental sciences.

For more information about Peace Corps Week, contact Rose Nava, president of the RPCVSO, at rmn@nmsu.edu.