TSU Partners with Peace Corps and Masters International

Join the Peace Corps, see the world, and get an advanced degree from Tennessee State University while you’re at it.

A new partnership with TSU’s school of agriculture will allow Peace Corps volunteers to train at the university before they head overseas, and to apply the work they do during their two years of service to earn credits toward a master’s degree in agricultural sciences.

“We hope we will bring in potential students who have an interest in serving internationally,” said Chandra Reddy, dean of the School of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences.

The partnership is brand new, but several potential volunteers have contacted Sam Comer, director of international agriculture at TSU, about the program, everyone from students to retired couples interested in serving overseas together.

“They do try to match people with (the right) jobs,” Comer said, noting that a retired couple has the perfect profile for the modern Peace Corps. One has a background in agricultural education, and the other worked in finance, perfect for helping small businesses or micro-lending programs.

“You do not just grab a body and send them overseas. They match you up with a particular job,” Comer said.

Likewise, the Peace Corps looks for schools that would make good partners for its effort to train volunteers before they deploy overseas to help developing countries with agriculture projects.

“The Peace Corps is proud to welcome Tennessee State University to the Master’s International program,” Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams said in a statement. “With this new partnership, our volunteers, who will also be Tennessee State University students, will be able to meet the demand for a diverse pool of highly skilled professionals.”

Links to Africa, India

TSU is a land-grant university with a thriving international agriculture program. The university has research partnerships and training programs in Africa and India and is in the process of training agricultural extension agents in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Peace Corps, which partners with 60 other universities on its Master’s International degree program, would seem to be a natural fit.

Participants in the Peace Corps Master’s International program typically spend one year of graduate studies in the United States before serving two years overseas, then returning to apply the experience, and the credits earned through the program, toward their degrees. Years in the field will give students a chance to research and gather data.

Peace Corps volunteers may qualify for scholarships and reduced tuition. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov/masters.