Graduate College celebrates Peace Corps Week and honors Coverdell Fellows

On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps, an agency that is committed to “celebrating diversity around the world, building relationships and opportunity, and fostering equity and inclusion.”

Peace Corps Week commemorates the establishment of this agency and celebrates all the ways that its volunteers make a difference at home and abroad. 

This year, Peace Corps week falls between February 28 - March 6, 202. To join in on the celebrations, the Graduate College is honoring returned Peace Corps volunteers who are attending graduate school here at ASU with funding from our Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program

Coverdell Fellows receive tuition assistance, provide professional development guidance to underserved communities and participate as members of the ASU Peace Corps Community to promote the values of the Peace Corps here at home.     

The Coverdell Fellows are a shining part of the ASU graduate community and this week, we honor them and their service to our community and the world. 

Rachel Bechdolt - TEFL Volunteer, Benin

Rachel Bechdolt served in Benin, West Africa, from 2013-2015 as an English teacher in a rural middle school. During her service, she led summer camps for girls, raised $12,000 to build five new classrooms at the middle school and implemented the first ever parent-teacher conferences. Following her service, she served as the AmeriCorps VISTA Leader for the Arizona Refugee Resettlement Program. She is now pursuing a Master of Arts in Learning Sciences as well as a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management at ASU. Rachel is passionate about making education for all possible and she hopes to continue working with refugee communities and women throughout her career.

Sheril Steinberg– TEFL Volunteer, Mongolia

Sheril Steinberg served as an English instructor alongside two Mongolian English teachers in the remote village of Khuvsgul, Mongolia. She is currently in the Global Technology and Development Masters Program as a Coverdell Fellow. Sheril plans to continue living in different cultures around the world. Her mission is to aid in knowledge exchange and empowerment between diverse communities around the globe.

Layne Benton- Youth, Families, and Community Development Volunteer, Dominican Republic

Layne Benton served in the Dominican Republic and is currently enrolled in the Justice Studies MS program at ASU. Working in the Youth, Families, and Community Development sector in the Bahoruco province of the Dominican Republic, Layne taught sexual health education, created a men’s basketball team and a women’s softball team, which traveled around the southern region of the Dominican Republic to participate in tournaments, and aided other volunteers in the southern region in a regional art camp called #ARTEnriquillo. 

Colby Howell- Agricultural/Forestry Extension Volunteer, Zambia

Colby Howell served in Zambia, Africa from 2017-2018 as a rural Agricultural/Forestry Extension Agent. He was  part of the Linking Income, Food, and Environment (LIFE) project and his service focused on increasing household access to nutrition, income generation, and soil conservation/management techniques. Colby taught a broad range of topics such as growing orange sweet potatoes, conservation farming and beekeeping. He is now pursuing an MS in Environmental and Resource Management.