University of Maryland School of Nursing Renewed to Offer Peace Corps Coverdell Fellowship

September 6, 2022

UMSON is the only University of Maryland, Baltimore school to offer the scholarship.

Peace Corps logo

Baltimore, Md. – The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) has renewed its partnership with the U.S. Peace Corps to participate in the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) for an additional five years, after its launch of the program in 2017. It is the only school at the University of Maryland, Baltimore to offer the program. After serving in countries around the world, RPCVs can apply to UMSON and for the Coverdell Fellowship, which offers a scholarship equal to approximately 25% of the student’s tuition and fees.

Each year, UMSON accepts one or two RPCVs as Fellows. These students bring their global expertise to communities and neighborhoods in Baltimore while studying at UMSON, which offers them an opportunity to apply their global expertise and unique perspectives to enter or advance in a career in nursing. Through service-learning experiences, they work to improve people’s lives in underserved communities, build upon the skills and expertise they developed during their Peace Corps service, and advance the Peace Corps’ third goal: bringing the world back home.

“This program brings students with global experience to the School of Nursing and into or upward in the profession of nursing,” says UMSON Coverdell Fellows Program coordinator Lori A. Edwards, DrPH, BSN ’80, RN, CNS-PCH, BC, assistant professor and interim associate dean for the MSN program. “With a social justice perspective and skills in community partnerships, they work in collaboration with community agencies to address social determinants of health in Baltimore. All of this helps us, helps the students, and helps Baltimore.”

At UMSON, fellows can earn an entry Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree or a Master of Science in Nursing degree in either the entry-into-nursing Clinical Nurse Leader option or the Community/Public Health Nursing specialty. Fellows can take advantage of specialized career mentoring from Edwards and other UMSON faculty who served in the Peace Corps.

As part of their studies, Coverdell Fellows may enroll in elective courses offered through the University of Maryland, Baltimore Graduate School that focus on service learning and population health in Baltimore. To apply their Peace Corps experience locally, Fellows volunteer in a community agency in Baltimore during their nursing program.

“Growing the career paths for nurses with Peace Corps service who have applied their expertise in Baltimore and into nursing makes the future of nursing very exciting,” Edwards adds.

UMSON has supported five Coverdell Fellows since 2017.

More than 5,000 RPCVs have participated in the Coverdell Fellows program since its inception in 1985 at the Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City. Today there are more than 120 university partners across the country. This renewed partnership makes UMSON one of only about a dozen nursing programs nationally that participate.

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The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools in the nation and is ranked among the top nursing schools nationwide. Enrolling nearly 2,100 students in its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment.