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Former Peace Corps Volunteer Commends Tulane Scholarship Initiative

April 27, 2020 2:45 PM

Tulane is making graduate study more accessible to U.S. Peace Corps volunteers and Fulbright student grantees called back from international placements because of concerns over the spread of COVID-19.  Peace Corps volunteers and Fulbright grantees who are admitted to and enter Tulane graduate programs starting in summer 2020, fall 2020 and spring 2021 will be offered tuition scholarships of up to 50 percent for some programs.

It’s an initiative that Penny Jessop (PTHM *78) applauds. “Offering Peace Corps volunteers scholarships is a dynamite way to bring into the classroom these really articulate individuals who have the idea of public service already in their minds. Bringing in someone who may have nearly two years of experience in the field is an incredible enrichment to the classroom itself.”

Jessop is equally passionate about Tulane and the Peace Corps. She earned her MPH at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine after Peace Corps service in Niger and work in Puerto Rico and then spent more than 33 years at Tulane, rising to the rank of clinical assistant professor.

“We know they are good kids — the U.S. government has looked at every aspect of their lives. And right now these kids are floating, just adrift. The life plan they had has just been cut completely,” says Jessop.  

In her mind, the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine provides a ready fit for the talents and inclinations of Peace Corps volunteers. “In New Orleans you’ll see examples of underserved and undereducated populations. If you want to go to a living laboratory where you can see public health in action, where public health is really needed, what better place to come to?”

Tulane President Michael A. Fitts said of the program, “We want to ensure that these students have the opportunity to engage in multidiscipline education and research that will prepare them to have an even greater impact when international travel and exchange is possible again. International education is a critical part of Tulane’s goal of crossing boundaries between fields of knowledge and bringing the best minds and expertise together to solve societal problems.”

The initiative is garnering significant attention. The Institute of International Education (IIE) has awarded the Centennial Medal to Tulane University to recognize its leadership in international education and its support for the Fulbright Program through the Tulane University 2020 Peace Corps and Fulbright Initiative.

Click here to support scholarships at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine