Coverdell Fellows Program


A Program For Returning Peace Corps Volunteers

Returning Peace Corps volunteers who enter a graduate program at Seton Hill through the Coverdell Fellows Program can earn a master's degree with a 50% discount in tuition cost.

Graduate Tuition Discount & Participating Graduate Programs

Coverdell Fellows are eligible for 50% off graduate tuition if accepted into one of Seton Hill's participating graduate programs: 

  • Art Therapy
  • Elementary/Middle Level Education
  • Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Special Education
  • Business Administration (M.B.A.)
  • Writing Popular Fiction

In order to qualify for the program, applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Seton Hill University graduate program of choice and must have completed service with the Peace Corps.

Fellows Program Internships

Through internships, Coverdell Fellows will be able to use the humanitarian skills that they have learned overseas to address issues in the regions that surround Seton Hill University. At Seton Hill, Fellows work toward a graduate degree while providing humane assistance to public and nonprofit organizations in Greensburg and the surrounding Westmoreland County areas. Satisfactory completion of Peace Corps service entitles volunteers to lifetime eligibility for the Coverdell Fellows Program. 

Depending on the degree the Fellow is pursuing, Fellows will be required to serve a community partner supporting a similar humanitarian service area. Fellows' internship experiences will be individualized, with the location and nature of the internship decided between student, advisor and community partner.

Depending on the program of study, the internship may meet both Seton Hill and Fellows Program requirements. Internships may be paid or unpaid. 

To Apply

Just visit setonhill.edu/apply, fill out the graduate application form, and check the Coverdell Fellows Program checkbox.

More information can be found on the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program section of www.peacecorps.gov.

Coverdell Fellows at Seton Hill

Valerie Hoffer

Seton Hill Fellow: May 2003- May 2007

Program of Study: Marriage and Family Therapy

Service Experience

Peace Corp Volunteer, Slovak Republic: Environmentalist, Grant-Writer and TEFL Teacher 

Undergraduate Degree 

Bachelor of Arts in Honors at Seton Hill University: Sociology Social Work

Service Experience/Location

I was sent to Peace Corps Slovakia in 1997-1999. I was trained for three months in language and cultural skills together with my other Peace Corps colleagues and then sent to Banska Stiavnica, located in central Slovakia to live for two years. 

I was in charge of an environmental kindergarten (Tree of Life: Strom Zivota), in which I designed a preschool/kindergarten curriculum focusing on protecting the environment and leading a vegetarian lifestyle. I also became a high school teacher at a boarding school, teaching humanities, economics and literature. 

For Earth Day, I wrote an interactive children's book for over 500 elementary students throughout Slovakia to use in science class and during their Earth Day field trip to my town. During my service, I worked with architects writing restoration grants for UNESCO World Heritage Sites (12-15th century buildings). I taught TEFL to adult students throughout my town. 

For my secondary project, I, along with my Slovak partner, developed, designed and initiated the New Life Program (Program pre Novy Zivot) in the maternity department of the hospital in my town. I utilized community involvement, fundraising both in Europe and the United States to develop a sitting room for pregnant and nursing mothers from Slovakia and surrounding countries. This program became the First Baby Friendly Hospital in Eastern Europe under the auspices of UNICEF. I worked hard and I played hard. I visited many other countries including Croatia, Hungary and Poland. I had the best Peace Corps experience that one could imagine.

Coverdell Fellowship Experience

I returned to Seton Hill because it was my Alma Mater. I loved the campus, location and staff. Upon my acceptance to the Marriage and Family Therapy Program, I initiated the process of starting the Peace Corps Fellowship Program at Seton Hill University. My program had many transitions in the beginning of my master's study; however, in time it developed into a very ethical, challenging and stimulating program that pushed my thinking beyond the textbook theory. I have made contacts with people throughout the area during my school programming, which has led to my own personal development and a clearer understanding of my self as a therapist. 

Currently and since I have returned from the Peace Corps, I continue to advocate for children in my daily work including my focus on children and families diagnosed: autistic. I empower families to use their rights and freedom to gain access to resources that will benefit their family's growth and citizenship. I enjoy my work as a marriage and family therapist and I encourage families to get involved in their communities to transfer the skills they have acquired in therapy to others in need. I plan to continue to work towards my licensure in marriage and family therapy and go on for my doctorate degree. I would like to conduct research and develop programming based on the effects of autism on the marriage and sibling relationships within the family unit.

Rebecca Golden-Trist 

Seton Hill Fellow: August 2007-August 2009

Program of Study: Marriage and Family Therapy

Service Experience

HIV/AIDS Educator, Belize

Undergraduate Degree

B.A. in psychology from Earlham College

Service Experience/Location

I was a HIV/AIDS educator in Punta Gorda, Belize. I educated over 400 adults and school children on HIV prevention. I did presentations for educators, members of the Belize Defense Force, local Myan and Garifuna villages, high school and grade school children and local citizens. I also planned and administered group and individual education sessions involving sexuality, teen pregnancy, hygiene, family planning and healthy living. I assisted in the local Belize Family Life Association (BFLA) in providing birth control and counseling to over 900 local women. I was responsible for the monthly paperwork for BFLA including inventory, daily statistics and income reports. 

Coverdell Fellowship Experience

I chose Seton Hill because they seemed to have the program that best fit my needs. I had always intended to work with children but as I spent time outside of school I began to realize that if we help children but continue to send the children back into their unhealthy environments then we are not really helping the children. The next logical step was to involve the whole family in therapy. Seton Hill's program puts a focus on helping the family instead of focusing too much on research and publications.

I feel I truly made the correct decision in choosing Seton Hill's Marriage and Family Therapy program. It is an intimate program where students are encouraged to get to know one another and work together. Education and making the students into effective therapists are the primary goals of the program. I feel as if I matter as an individual and that the educators are here to help me become the best therapist I can be. 

Right now I am working as a TSS for two autistic children. The state of PA has a wonderful wrap-around program that not only helps special needs children but their families as well. I go into the homes of the children I work with and not only assist the children with programming but their families as well. It is wonderful to see the progress the children and their families make through the work that I do.

When I finish with the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Seton Hill I intend to begin working as a family therapist in the state of PA. I would like to be able to get more special education information so that one day I can focus on helping families with special needs children. Having a special needs child can put an enormous strain on any family and I would like to be able to help those families learn to manage the added responsibilities without becoming overwhelmed.