Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows Program

The Graduate Program within the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment furthers the department's vision of "Building Solutions, Developing Leaders." We have earned a reputation for innovative research and sustainable development in the areas of building science, renewable energy, and other sustainable technologies. Our mission is to foster a strong and vibrant culture of inquiry, discovery, and innovation that integrates theory with application, problem seeking with problem-solving, local issues with global perspectives, and technological progress with environmental stewardship. Cross-disciplinary study is encouraged.

Our program has served many returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs) and we truly value their unique attributes and commitment to service. The Coverdell Fellows in the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment are able to be part of an active community of RPCVs on campus and within the broader community. We have committed to providing scholarships and graduate assistantships to Coverdell Fellows who qualify for these benefits. Please contact the graduate program director for more information (ramsdellje@appstate.edu). 

RPCV-Alex-Ghana

Alex Arnold's RPCV Story (Appropriate Technology, 2016)

I started my Peace Corps application my senior year of college for the usual reasons: I wanted to experience life from within a culture that was foreign to my own, to lend a hand to people in need, and to clarify some of my own professional goals along the way. Spending a year after college unexcited behind a desk in a process-oriented job was enough for me to finally submit the application. In 2009, I was sent to Ghana and was trained for my new job as a middle school science teacher in a rural community in Ghana's western rainforests. 

 The two years I spent there were full of challenges and triumphs, both big and small. I made friends. I worked with local partners to establish new programs at the school and an agricultural learning cooperative in the community. The work was difficult and not always fruitful, but the experiences always challenged me to think more creatively and see "the big picture" always a bit more fully. I shared new ideas and was introduced to many more. Above all, I learned how utterly unprepared a 23-year-old American college grad can be for "solving" the "problems" faced by working families in Ghana. "Humbling" and "transformative" often come to mind when thinking back on my service. I value the experiences I had and the relationships I made in Ghana tremendously. My time there was so different from, and so much more than, my expectations of it.