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Peace Corps Masters International and Coverdell Fellows Students

Admitted 2023

  1. Ashley Behnke Ashley Behnke

    Coverdell Fellow Student Admitted 2023

    Ashley (she/her) grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, right on the border of Washington, DC. She obtained her BA in Sociology and Theatre from Davidson College in North Carolina. She served in the Peace Corps as an English Literacy Volunteer in Saint Lucia as a part of the Eastern Caribbean Cohort from 2019-2020 until being evacuated due to COVID. For the past two years she worked as a Healthcare Advocate for a tech start up, Included Health, aiming to increase accessibility and improve health literacy for people of all backgrounds. As a Coverdell fellow, she hopes to help others heal from their core wounds and navigate complex trauma in an outpatient therapy setting. Ashley enjoys traveling, hiking, yoga, camping, dancing, and all things adventure.

  2. Jen Denzin Jen Denzin

    Coverdell Fellow Student Admitted 2023

    Jen (she/her/hers) graduated from the University of Michigan in 1996 with a BA in English Literature. After completing her teaching certification at UM, she married her best friend and they served as secondary educators in Kenya from 1998-2000. Upon their return, Jen completed her MA in English and Education at UM while working for the Ginsberg Center’s Lives of Urban Children and Youth program. Jen returned to classroom teaching at Northville High School and has spent the last 20 years at Saline High School where she teaches English, psychology, and a service-learning course. She is the head of the English department, the co-founder and director of the school’s writing center, and a co-founder of the service-learning program. As a Coverdell Fellow, Jen aims to complete her MSW to combine her passion for direct service to others with research, practice, and policy change. As a mother of two fabulous young adults, and teacher of many adolescents, she works to make the world better for their generation and those who follow.

  3. Jerrard Wheeler Jerrard Wheeler

    Coverdell Fellow Student Admitted 2023

    Jerrard Wheeler (he/him) served in Peace Corps Zambia from 2016 - 2018. In Zambia, Jerrard served as a Linking Income Food & the Environment (LiFE'r) volunteer completing fish and rice farming projects as well as engaging youth in art and empowerment clubs. Prior to serving in the Peace Corps, Jerrard worked to elucidate the Black American experience as a Public Ally AmeriCorp Intern at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Currently, Jerrard works at UM-Dearborn as an Intercultural Program Manager. In this role, he supports students from historically marginalized backgrounds to navigate the collegiate experience at a primarily white institution. As a Coverdell Fellow, Jerrard is interested in crafting a mezzo-level social work experience, valuing the ability of social work to zoom in and focus on individuals and small groups, and then to be able to zoom out and address problems facing communities and society at large. Jerrard is interested in exploring art-based therapies, qualitative assessments, and group work through the lens of social work. He aspires to support black and queer and migrant communities through his social work practice. Jerrard is obsessed with techno music. He is also a New Leader in African Centered Social Work Fellow.

  4. Matt Conahan

    Coverdell Fellow Student Admitted 2023

    Matt (he/him/his) was born and raised in Michigan. His journeys and work have taken him around the country and the world. Working mostly in technology after graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism (specializing in photojournalism) Matt has lived and worked in Maryland, Chicago, Virginia, Belize, and the Bay area of California, where he spent the bulk of his post-degree years after serving in Belize as a Peace Corps information technology and then as an HIV/AIDs education volunteer. Returning to Michigan after nearly 14 years in California, Matt was far into the process of managing his own farm when illness stopped him from realizing his goal of making the farm a residential therapeutic treatment farm. Determined to continue his lifelong desire to serve others, Matt entered the MSW program with the intention of helping others who face life-altering illnesses. Matt enjoys spending time with his family as well as hiking (he has hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail), running, reading, and fishing. As a Coverdell Fellow, Matt hopes to learn how to best help patients facing undiagnosed diseases.

  5. Renee Alves Renee Alves

    Coverdell Fellow Student Admitted 2023

    Renee Alves (she/her/hers) is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in the Philippines from 2019-2020 in the Children, Youth, and Family sector. While in the Philippines, she worked at a shelter for impoverished youth, assisting the organization's social worker and developing musical, agricultural, and athletic programming for the residents. Renee was raised in Fresno, California, and holds a BA in Sociology and minors in Public Affairs and Civic Engagement from UCLA. After being evacuated from the Philippines due to the pandemic, Renee began working as the Communications and Development Manager at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, a public policy research and advocacy nonprofit located in Charleston, WV. As a Coverdell Fellow in the MSW program and Interpersonal Practice pathway, Renee hopes to develop the clinical skillset and foundational knowledge necessary to provide person-centered, culturally appropriate therapeutic care to people who have survived extreme trauma. She aspires to eventually become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker practicing therapy with people impacted by incarceration. In her free time, Renee enjoys hiking, kayaking, reading, playing soccer and ultimate frisbee, and trying new ice cream spots.

Admitted 2022

  1. Emilia Martinez Emilia Martinez

    Coverdell Fellow Student Admitted 2022

    Emilia (she/her) is a Returned Peace Corps volunteer who served in Uganda from 2016-2018 as a community health volunteer. Her interest to serve in Uganda stemmed from her BSW-practicum site placement in Uganda working in maternal/child health. After serving in Uganda, Emilia moved to Bolivia for a year to work with a family as their au pair and English teacher. Since returning to the United States, Emilia is now working as a children's advocate at a nonprofit agency serving survivors of domestic and sexual violence.  As a Coverdell Fellow in the MSW program, Emilia would like to grow as a professional to find ways to support individuals and communities in healing from systems of oppression.

  2. Hannah Collins Hannah Collins

    Coverdell Fellow Student Admitted 2022

    Hannah (she/her/hers) grew up near Flint, Michigan. She attained a degree in Comparative Cultures & Politics and Social Relations & Policy with a minor in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Michigan State University. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia as a Secondary Education English Teacher Trainer. There she taught English with Colombian Co-Teachers from grades 6-11 while working on secondary projects with Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) Colombia, a girls empowerment organization, and on the Gender Equity Committee for Peace Corps Colombia. Following evacuation from the Peace Corps, she started serving as a College Adviser at Kearsley High School in Flint, Michigan through Michigan State University College Advising Corps and AmeriCorps, helping high school students plan for life after high school. As a Coverdell Fellow, Hannah hopes to expand her social work knowledge in order to serve refugees, immigrants, and migrants in a culturally competent and trauma-informed way. In her free time Hannah loves reading, reading over 50 books a year, and hiking, mostly day hikes.

  3. Megan McComb

    Coverdell Fellow Student Admitted 2022

    Megan (she/her/hers) discovered her passion for education after teaching in Thailand from 2017-2018. This inspired her to become a TEFL volunteer in Benin, West Africa from 2018-2022, where she taught English, ran youth and adult English clubs, worked on grant projects to increase access to clean water, hosted presentations about malaria prevention, facilitated girls' soccer clubs to promote gender equity, organized a regional spelling bee, and conducted workshops for local teachers. Afterward, she received a Fulbright grant to teach English in the Czech Republic. Megan is currently working as a Training and Volunteer Coordinator at a suicide prevention center. As a Coverdell fellow, she hopes to make mental health care accessible for diverse communities. In her spare time, Megan enjoys traveling, yoga, salsa dancing, and spending time in nature.

  4. Priscilla Flores Priscilla Flores

    Coverdell Fellow Student Admitted 2022

    Priscilla (she/her/hers) was born in Nicaragua and immigrated to the United States to reunite with her family when she was six years old. Priscilla grew up in Queens, New York, and attended Barnard College where she graduated in 2014 with her Bachelor in Psychology. Priscilla has experience working with global communities in governmental and international development settings. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi, from 2019 to 2020, where she served as an English teacher at a secondary school and implemented youth programming on HIV prevention. Priscilla is passionate about implementing anti-racist and cultural-informed interventions as well as centering communities in social justice initiatives. As a Coverdell Fellow student, she hopes to learn about how to empower global communities - including refugee and immigrant communities - and how to apply mezzo and macro skills to effectively reduce power imbalances in the global context. During her free time, Priscilla spends time in nature, going to a local ethnic restaurant, or listening to her favorite LantinX and Afrobeats playlists.

  5. Shannon Carter Shannon Carter

    Coverdell Fellow Student Admitted 2022

    Shannon's values as a Coverdell Fellow echo a desire for a continuation of Peace Corps service, as well as a myriad of activities she continues to be involved with. She served an extended service in Zolotonosha, Ukraine from 2017 until she was a part of the COVID-19 global evacuation in March 2020. Since the start of the Russo-Ukrainian War, Shannon continues to support her friends in Ukraine through various avenues of humanitarian relief efforts, communications via nonprofits such as Partnering for Peace and the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Alliance for Ukraine. She recently finished her first master's degree in Project Management and Development at the University of Bradford International Peace and Development Center in England as a Rotary Peace Fellow. Shannon currently holds various roles including as a Peace Corps Advisor at the U-M International Center, a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the School of Nursing, and a part-time clinical intern for the U-M Counseling and Psychological Services, all while pursuing her MasterTrack MSW focused on Interpersonal Practice.

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