Education + service = Peace Corps Master’s International. A priceless opportunity

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Ever ask, “What is it that Peace Corps volunteers actually do?” or “What is Peace Corps Master’s International?”

Well, wonder no more. It’s National Peace Corps Week and this is the perfect time to get answers.

The College of Public of Health offers one of two Master’s International programs at the University of South Florida. This unique degree allows students to earn a master’s degree while serving in the Peace Corps. In addition to gaining great hands-on experience while working for an amazing organization, volunteers are immersed in a cross-cultural environment, as they live and work as locals do.

Master’s International alumnus Stephen Cormier, MPH, was assigned as a health volunteer in Cameroon. He spent the majority of his service assisting the Better Family Foundation (BFF), an NGO focused on projects providing desperately needed services that have a lasting impact on the community.

Stephen Cormier at a Cameroon swearing in ceremony in 2011

Some of Stephen’s projects included: sustainable water programs, nutrition classes, and HIV/AIDS workshops.  As a public health student, Stephen combined his classroom knowledge with Peace Corps training and applied it to real life global development projects.

“One of the most rewarding outcomes is I benefitted from the local community members just as much as they benefitted from me,” Stephen said.

During his two-year assignment, Stephen taught BFF members practical skills such as using Microsoft Word and Excel, in addition to helping them learn English. Meanwhile, they welcomed Stephen into their community and shared their beliefs and way of life with him.

Stephen Cormier interviewing a child

Stephen Cormier interviewing a child


“This service opportunity provided me with an invaluable work and cultural experience,” Stephen shared. He graduated in December and hopes to continue working in global development.

USF is ranked 5th in the nation for sending graduate students like Stephen abroad through the Peace Corps Master’s International Program. To learn more about service opportunities and earning a graduate degree in public health, visit the college’s PCMI website.

Stephen Cormier earned a master’s degree in global health practice from the USF College of Public Health.  The Department of Global Health served as his academic home and includes more than 10 concentrations that lead to MPH, MSPH, DrPH, and PhD degrees.  Additionally, the department offers several dual degrees, graduate certificates, and special programs.

Peace Corps Week events are free and open to the public. For additional information on the week visit the USF website.

Story by Victoria Danforth, USF College of Public Health. Photos courtesy of Stephen Cormier.

Related story:
Celebrate Peace Corps Week with the College of Public Health



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