Mar 042009
Authors: Ryan Sheine

As Monday marked the start of national Peace Corps Week at CSU, all this week recruiters encouraged students to serve in the organization after graduation and consider pursuing a Master’s degree in one of four academic areas while overseas.

The week is designed to give details on how to join the Peace Corps and the benefits students receive from the organization.

Tami Wolff, CSU’s Peace Corps representative, said the benefits Peace Corps offers students, including a monthly stipend, medical and dental insurance and deferred student loans.

“Something I think is important is that the Peace Corps provides an immediate way to use the tools you learned in college,” Wolff said.

Wolff added that placing the Peace Corps on a resume could be “huge,” saying, “No one dismisses Peace Corps experience.”

“If you like exactly how your life is and you don’t want it to change, then don’t join the Peace Corps,” she said. “The Peace Corps will change your life.”

Karen Gardenier, coordinator for international education at CSU and former Peace Corps volunteer, originally joined the Peace Corps to allow herself a more globalized career.

“I was looking for a career change into something more international,” Gardenier said.

“In many ways it gave me a sense of direction. It gave me the experience for the job I have now,” she added.

Ian Maycumber, a civil engineering graduate student, volunteered for the Peace Corps after earning his undergraduate degree.

“I just wanted to do something different,” said Maycumber, “and living in a separate culture interested me.”

“And I didn’t immediately want to get a job,” he said.

Maycumber served in the Philippines from 2007 to 2009 as a Peace Corps Master’s International volunteer, a program that Peace Corps representatives said blends the “life-changing” service aspect of the Peace Corps with the opportunity to study agriculture, natural resources, education and public health at the graduate level.

In a forum Tuesday, Gardenier told students how PCMI directly aids volunteers through “combining theoretical skills from the classroom into the real world,” adding the program helps to “prepare (students for their) career with real experience.”

Gardenier, who taught computer skills to people for two years in Kyrgyzstan, currently helps CSU students join the Peace Corps and supports the benefits of PCMI.

“It was a fulfilling experience,” she said. “I have a much different outlook on things now compared to before. I’m more optimistic, much more patient and I’m more open-minded.”

Staff writer Ryan Sheine can be reached at

Peace Corps Master’s International Program

– Colorado State University and the United States Peace Corps have offered four cooperative master’s degree programs since 1988.

– While serving as a volunteer in the Peace Corps, students can pursue a degree in English, food science and human nutrition, natural resources and agriculture.

CSU and Peace Corps PCMIP Requirements

CSU Requirements

Applicants must meet the requirements of the CSU Graduate School and the selected college or department. Students must have

-A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. In some cases background in a program related discipline may be necessary for admission.

-An undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (A=4.0)

-A completed Graduate Record Exam (GRE), if required by the chosen department

-A completed Colorado State University application packet.

(For more information visit

Peace Corps Requirements

– Must be at least 18 years of age

– Must be a United States citizen

– Must be in good health

(For more information visit

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