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Peace Corps Masters International and Coverdell Fellows Students

Admitted 2020

  1. Alejandra Alvarez Alejandra Alvarez

    Coverdell Fellow Student Admitted 2020

    Alejandra was born and raised in Chicago and graduated from DePaul University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and studied abroad in Argentina, Chile and Peru respectively. After graduation she worked as an ESL instructor for an archaeological field in the Peruvian Andes and also spent time living in Valparaiso, Chile learning about street art activism and collective memory post dictatorship. Alejandra then served in the Peace Corps in Morocco as youth development volunteer working in community centers that provided curriculum and activities to Moroccan youth. Alejandra was able to connect with young women and girls through female empowerment trainings and learn about the indigenous Amazigh communities of Morocco by living alongside them in rural Morocco. As a Coverdell fellow and Community Based Initiative Scholar in Detroit Alejandra is committed to uplifting the voices of the communities in transformation and shine a light on their collective healing practices. Alejandra is excited to gain skills in macro social work and expand her talents so that she can strategize and develop futures that center justice for BIPOC and immigrants.

Admitted 2019

  1. Alyssa Rietveld Alyssa Rietveld

    Coverdell Fellow Student Admitted 2019

    Alyssa grew up in Hudsonville, Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in International Studies and Afroamerican & African Studies. During undergrad she studied in Ghana and Senegal, as well as researched the economic and cultural contribution west African immigrants make in Detroit. Alyssa then served in the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso as a community health educator. In Burkina Faso she co-founded a health club for teenage girls where they gained knowledge in pertinent health issues and leadership skills to become peer educators. She also gained fluency in French and Moore. After Peace Corps, Alyssa worked at a refugee resettlement agency in Grand Rapids, Michigan where her interest in refugee services and policy grew. As a Coverdell Fellow in the School of Social Work’s Community Based Initiative, she hopes to learn about inequity and economic rebound through policy and program evaluation. She is also interested in refugee resettlement and child welfare programs in an international context.

  2. Mary Heinemann Mary Heinemann

    Coverdell Fellow Student Admitted 2019

    Mary is a fierce, passionate, wandering soul who is always learning how to be a more inclusive, anti-oppressive social worker after living abroad for most of the last 7 years in Tanzania where she served as a Peace Corps volunteer. As a Coverdell Fellow & Community- Based Initiative Scholar, Mary is committed to examining her own privilege, social identity, and abilities to empower those who are marginalized through social work and social justice. 

    Mary grew up mostly in Colorado where she studied Communications and Women’s Studies before moving to Seattle, Denver, and finally Tanzania. Working alongside the strong, warm, welcoming women of Tanzania she realized a dream of starting a social enterprise with women’s cooperatives focused on buying and selling crafts from female artisans in an effort to improve income generation, access to education, and healthcare. She has also worked as an experiential educator all over East Africa and Nepal, as well as with the Denver Boys & Girls Club. 

    During her time at the U-M School of Social Work, Mary is hoping to find ways to connect local systems and communities that face oppression to the international communities facing similar challenges. She believes that by uniting, learning from each other, and sharing space we can attempt to heal and dismantle the systems that oppress. She also loves coffee, yoga, and fans, a little too much some might say.

Admitted 2018

  1. Zahra Chevannes Zahra Chevannes

    Coverdell Fellow Student Admitted 2018

    Zahra is a queer Black Caribbean social worker in training from Brooklyn, NY. As a Coverdell Fellow & Community-Based Initiative Scholar, Zahra is committed to serving Black, Brown, immigrant, refugee and queer communities both at the grassroots, community-based and macro policy levels. Specifically, Zahra's interests are centered around community wealth building, collective economics, community resilience and well-being, restorative practices and reparative justice.

    Before moving to Detroit, Zahra was working in fundraising and capacity-building at Green Worker Cooperatives, a South Bronx-based worker co-op incubator engaging communities of color throughout NYC. From 2014-2016, Zahra served as a Peace Corps Education Volunteer in Northwestern China where she taught English and developed community programming at a teacher training college.

    At U-M School of Social Work, Zahra is exploring the power of community and collectivity, taking a holistic and intersectional approach that integrates all aspects of community well-being while also addressing and working to dismantle systems of oppression. Zahra is also working towards becoming a certified Reiki practitioner, and developing modes of practice around providing trauma-informed services.

Admitted 2016

  1. Angela Cluley Angela Cluley

    Peace Corps Masters International Student Admitted 2016

    Angela was born and raised in St. Louis, Michigan. She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a BA in Social Work and a minor in Spanish and currently attending the Master's International Program in Social Work at the University of Michigan. Angela served in Costa Rica in the Youth Development area, worked with refugees and immigrants at different schools and served in the Peace Corps. Angela joined the Global Activities Scholars Program to gain skills working with youth, families, and communities. She is a highly interested in community activism through art and spoken word. Upon completion of her MSW, Angela plans to work with refugees and immigrants in Michigan before applying for her P.hd in Peace, Justice and Conflict Resolution.

  2. Nate Robertson Nate Robertson

    Peace Corps Masters International Student Admitted 2016

    Nate grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and graduated from Williams college. He eventually returned to Ann Arbor and joined the Masters International Program while attending the School of Social Work. He completed two years of service in Zambia as a health volunteer, working in a rural health clinic in the Central Province. While working in the health system in Zambia, Nate developed his personal and clinical interest in the hospice and palliative care movement. In his final year in the MSW program he is bringing his experience abroad into this field in a U.S. context.

  3. Tammy Scully Tammy Scully

    Peace Corps Masters International Student Admitted 2016

    Tammy was born and raised in Michigan then moved to Texas where she graduated with a Bachelor in Business Administration from LeTourneau University.  Her professional background consisted mostly of sales tax accounting for over 14 years. In 2010, she began stepping to a different beat and landed an English teaching position in Hiroshima, Japan where she spent two years teaching English in private schools, public schools and at an Edutainment organization; Kidzania.  Upon her return to the States in 2012 she started a non-profit; Foster the Journey where she worked youth in residential treatment centers in Austin, Texas. Having only a business background and a big heart she then found herself applying and later being accepted to the University of Michigan School of Social Work to gain more knowledge around working with youth who have experienced trauma to better inform her social work efforts going forward.  Tammy served in Peace Corps Swaziland for two years as part of the Master's International program at the University of Michigan and would not trade that experience for anything because it changed her life drastically and redefined her entire heart for the people she serves. Her favorite quote is "Not till we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves." by Henry David Thoreau.

  4. Taylor Thurman Taylor Thurman

    Peace Corps Masters International Student Admitted 2016

    Taylor grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah and graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's in Social Work. During her last semester of study there she completed a global internship through the Hinckley Institute of Politics in Amman, Jordan. She then went on to work in the Housing First movement in the local homeless services community. These experiences inspired her to enroll in the Master's International Peace Corps Program in the School of Social Work. She served for two years in Los Chiles, Costa Rica as a Youth Development Volunteer. In the realm of social work, Taylor is passionate about nonprofit management, innovation and social enterprise as a means of empowerment. Upon completion of her MSW, she will return to the mountains of Salt Lake City where she can work while enjoying climbing and the outdoors.


  1. A'lice Frazier A'lice Frazier

    Coverdell Fellow Student Admitted 2016

    A’lice Frazier is a graduate student studying Community Organizing and Community and Social Systems at the School of Social Work. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and completed her Bachelors of Arts in English Literary Studies and Psychology: Child Maltreatment and Family Practices at Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina. A’lice served in Zambia as a Youth and Community Education volunteer from 2014 – 2016. Along with her primary role as an English teacher, A’lice worked with her community to implement community-wide health projects including HIV Awareness and Prevention Initiatives and a Water and Sanitation Project. A’lice is excited to join as a Coverdell Fellow in the Community Based Initiative, where she plans to continue her work of educating youth in communities on HIV and sexual reproductive health. A’lice’s hobbies include reading, binge watching Netflix, and having a great talent for choosing and consuming delicious Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

  2. Akirah Crawford Akirah Crawford

    Peace Corps Masters International Student Admitted 2014

    Akirah is a proud native of Newark, NJ. She received her Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology from Virginia State University, a Historically Black University in Petersburg, Va. After her first term as an MI student, she accepted a 10 month English Teaching Assistantship with the US Fulbright Program in Malaysia which broadened her mind on the importance of cultural exchange and diplomacy. Upon returning, she left to serve in the Peace Corps as a Youth Development Volunteer in the Kingdom of Eswatini. During her service she worked as co-director of BRO (Boys Reaching Out) male empowerment program and youth facilitator in her community with GLOW (Girls Leading our World) female empowerment program. She has worked extensively with youth in various capacities and settings including youth empowerment clubs, schools, and pre-adjudicated and adjudicated youth. Akirah's desire for seeing more informed and empowered youth of color, strengthened families and healthy communities has led her to Social Work. As a Master's International Student in the School of Social with a focus on Children & Youth in Families, she hopes to gain practical skills to become a more vibrant youth worker, change agent, effective community organizer and citizen of the world.

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